Sun Valley, Day 4 - Elk Mountain

After four days of riding we were getting worn down so we wanted a light ride before heading home. Elk Mountain was was the perfect last ride.

We drove to Stanley Lake and leisurely climbed the 450 feet of dirt road up to the trail head. From here it was a gentle down slope through trees and glades with enough rocks and roots to keep it interesting.

Then we emerged into a large and lovely meadow sprinkled with wildflowers and bounded by tree-covered hills and mountains.

We turned right and followed the edge of the meadow and then followed a picturesque stream for a ways.

Then the trail rolled along the forested north skirt of Elk Mountain until we crossed another fairly-large meadow. The trail here was downhill and fast as we flew across the meadow.

With a fantastic view of McGown Peak.

The last few miles of double-track were anti-climatic, but worth it for all the good single-track that preceded it. Back at the car we changed and headed for home.

Sun Valley Summary

I read lots of good reports about Sun Valley. It seemed like a sure bet, but you never know for sure. I'm happy to say that we really enjoyed the trails we rode in Sun Valley / Stanley.

Redfish Lake was our least favorite because we had to push our bikes uphill a lot. But the settings is amazing. Alex rode it and reported that if we had gone the other direction the climb was fine for bikes. So my bad for not going the direction the guidebook suggested.

Andy told me he was disappointed that many of the trails were loose and chewed up from motorcycles. We did see two motos in Greenhorn Gulch - they were courteous. And of all the trails Greenhorn seemed the most chewed up by motos. It was kinda loose and had some trenches and whoops from the motos, but it wasn't bad and I still enjoyed riding there. There was some impact from motos on Potato Mountain, but it didn't degrade the ride much. The other rides were fine.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn't do the big ride I had planned: from 4th of July Lake, down Warm Springs, up Pigtail and down Williams. There was too much snow on the high ridge the trail crosses and Warm Springs Creek was so swollen with runoff that 8 big guys had to lock arms to cross it. Perhaps I can squeeze this ride in later this Summer. Because every trail we rode was good my slight disappointment vanished.

There is good riding in the Sun Valley area, but I feel the best trails are up north 60 miles in the Stanley area. The Sawtooth mountains add a dramatic backdrop to almost every ride. The rides feel bigger and more "out there". And the trails tend to be more rugged and varied. I'm glad we spent more time riding in Stanley, although the trails near Sun Valley are good.

I'm very happy with our Sun Valley / Stanley trip and would go back again.


Ski Bike Junkie said...

Thanks for the ride reports and glad you had fun. The motos up that way are a Catch 22. Without them, most of the trails would not exist, as they were moto trails first and only later ridden by MTB.

KanyonKris said...

SBJ - Agreed.

BigFlipBoy said...

Awesome Rides man. The pictures you have on your blog are breathtaking, not just you gasping for breath. My goal next year is to travel around and experience great trails. Take care.