Tour of Idaho (T1)
So we created the standards that define The Tour of Idaho to allow you to experience the Tour in a manner similar to that experienced by those who went before you. If you follow our standards you are, for all intents and purposes, experiencing all of the adventure that the pioneers of the route experienced many years ago.
The Tour of Idaho is more involved and difficult than just riding the trails from one end to another. In 17 seasons, there have been less than 100 riders finish the Tour (though more have ridden the route). Failure is far more common than success. The Tour is an undertaking that requires a relatively uncommon set of skills - riding a motorcycle being only one among many.
Tour of Idaho participants are expected to attempt the route in small groups (no more than three) without any support - no friends, family members, significant others or erstwhile Tour riding partners anywhere close to the route, no help with navigation, maintenance or anything else except what you find along the way. Tour riders have 13 trail days to finish, but are scheduled for half days off in Pocatello and Salmon. No other off days are allowed. All teams must adhere to the preset intervals.
No support is a core principle of the Tour. You are not permitted to ship anything to a location along the route, prearrange fuel or supply drops, or have someone bring you something that you need. You must either carry everything you intend to use with you or purchase it along the way. No help and no supply drops.
Tour participants are expected to ride all of the trails along the current route using only our 2022 waypoints and maps, to provide beacon links for live tracking and to submit a gps track file within three days of finishing the ride (for more on routes and tracks see below). Each day contains a minimum of two challenge points. All challenge points must be verified with a selfie posted to our Facebook group with the hashtag #tourofIdaho2022 (use this same hashtag on your personal social media as well).
This should be done as soon as possible (many CPs are in places where you may upload your photo immediately) but definitely no later than the evening after they were taken unless a data connection is not possible (which can happen in a few places).
Most days have an optional challenge section (not the same as challenge points, which are not optional). Groups must complete a number of challenge sections equal to the number of riders in the group (up to three - the largest group size allowed). Some of the challenge sections are long, some are technically challenging, some are difficult to navigate and some are all of the above. Once you choose to begin a challenge section you must either complete it or turn around and back track to the original route then continue as if you'd not attempted the challenge section. No bailing out in the middle of a challenge section unless along a route designated for that purpose.
The trails that compose the Tour are technically open from July through most of September. The Tour itself runs July 15 through Sept. 24. Most years those planning an early Tour (end of July or earlier) will spend a lot of time sawing trails or log hopping. Soloists are advised to start out no earlier than early August.
Under no circumstances should any Tour rider use a trail that is marked closed. If a trail is closed (for fire, erosion or any other reason) it is not required to complete the Tour. The only expectation is that you rejoin the Tour route as soon as possible and do not use a detour to gain an advantage that would not be possible on the normal route. We grant exceptions to the "ride 'em all" rule for fires. In some seasons large sections of the Tour are unfortunately closed due to fire. In that event it's just not possible to finish. Riding a closed trail, for any reason, is a very likely DNF. Not being able to find a trail, or not being able to properly interpret a trail sign, is not the same as a closed trail.
Any significant deviation from the published Tour route or the practices outlined above is considered a DNF (soloists have a bit more leeway than teams, but not much). Tour participants must join the Facebook group, the Facebook Riders group, consent to beacon tracking (the Garmin/DeLorme InReach SE is highly recommended) and must submit their complete track log for inspection within three days of finishing the route.
As you can see the Tour of Idaho is a whole lot of work for little more than a bunch of folks monitoring your progress on their laptops and smart phones cheering you on. The effort to reward ratio is almost completely upside down. You will suffer greatly for almost no glory and very little tangible reward. Many will fail to finish. Many have ridden what they considered to be "95%" of the route but did not qualify as finishers. The details count. The Tour is as much a journey through one's own soul as anything else and is less a motorcycle ride than a bodacious outdoor adventure that happens to take place on a motorcycle. If you are just looking to check off another motorcycle ride you'd be way better off riding the route on your own terms or doing a BDR - where the odds of success are much higher and Interwebs bragging rights far easier to obtain (no slight intended, both options rock).
But, if after pondering all of this, doing something much bigger than you just for the hell of it still seems like a good idea, read on.
You'll need to check out the Tour of Idaho Facebook group for up to date information about the Tour. The group is open (except during Tour season) so anyone may explore the content without being a member. You should request to become a member only if you are serious about attempting the Tour (you must read the group description before asking to be admitted and there is some additional light screening). You'll also need to join the MotorcycleJazz.com forum before you set off. You must indicate your interest in the 2022 Tour by joining the Tour of Idaho Facebook group and forum no later than June 1st, 2022 in order to be considered for the 2022 Tour. You will also find our FAQ and home page to be useful resources. We'll post a calendar of all teams in early June.
Now down to brass tacks. There are three things that you'll need in order to maximize your educational experience here. 1) The patience and perseverance to read for comprehension (years of bitter experience have taught us that many Tour aspirants have minimal aptitude for this). 2) The capacity to fully grasp navigation and all of its nuance. 2a) The skill to read a map and route book. 3) The wherewithal to understand that you have never done anything a whole lot like this before. The route files (links below) contain waypoints, no routes or tracks, and you are to navigate from one waypoint to the next. Map study in advance of arriving at the start of the Tour is highy advised. The route changes every year and you will need to use this year's data in order to obtain the requisite number of challenge points to succeed. Every year at least one party shows up with a track they got from somewhere other than this site (a previous year's track is typical). If you do that we'll almost certainly figure it out and the odds are high you'll earn a DNF.
The ability to use a map, along with your route book and gps to navigate between points, is a large part of completing the Tour. This is deliberate and Tour vets almost uniformly describe navigation as not only one of the biggest challenges of completing the Tour (easily rivaling the riding skill required), but an estimable part of the fun. Our approach allows you to engage the route months before you are physically riding it and provides a rewarding (we are told) navigational challenge above and beyond following a line on a GPS. Call it old school if you like. Weeks of map study and navigational preparation are advised and our methods are designed to encourage you to do just that. The payoff is that you will have little trouble finding your way while actually riding the Tour if you prepare in advance as we suggest. Take it to the bank.
The best way to prepare for Tour navigation in advance is to reconcile our route waypoints with our maps (or your own) and any notes that you make from observing our waypoints on Google Earth, or any other surface imaging product. You may add waypoints to supplement ours, but no more than 10% above what we've provided for a day. If there are 100 waypoints in the file for a given day, for instance, you can add up to 10 more. You'll then upload our files, along with your added waypoints (if any), into your GPS(s) and use your GPS to navigate from waypoint to waypoint - with maps as a backup. The reason for this is that every trail map we've used for the Tour is wrong in some places. It's inevitable. Trails change all of the time, and keeping up is a problem for any map maker. Our waypoints are where then need to be, and are accurate. If our waypoint looks like it's a quarter of a mile off of the trail on the map you are looking at, I can all but guarantee that our waypoint is right and the map is wrong.
Though this may seem excessive for those weaned on the ADVRider practice of following tracks created by others, it will pay off on the Tour. Again, if you take the time to do this I can almost guarantee that you will have little difficulty navigating the actual route when you get here. Inaccurate routes/tracks have hosed more teams that I can easily count. Navigating from waypoint to waypoint increases your odds of not getting lost.
Daily maps at 100K resolution: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9, D10, D11, D12 (n/a), D13. The color code is as follows: red = normal (two person) route, green = solo route variation, blue = three member route, yellow = challenge section, black = bonus section, purple = circumstantial alternative (generally, in case of fire).
Finally, here are the 2022 Challenge Points. If your browser cannot download these JPEGs, try Firefox or IE.
For all GPS units, here are the 2022 gpx files (note: different browsers handle the .gpx extension differently. If the normal left click and save doesn't work try right click and save. If that doesn't work get Firefox or IE): D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9, D10, D11, D12 (n/a), D13. If you have further questions please read this before you email us about GPS files. The waypoints in the files are descriptively named, e.g., 1D = day 1, 1C = day one challenge section, x = one person route, y = two person route, z = 3 person route. Bonus or alternative sections are denoted with small letters, e.g. "a." So waypoint 3Dxy22 would be the twenty-second waypoint on day three on the route taken by one and two member teams. Waypoint 1Db3 would be the third waypoint on the second bonus section of day 1. A bit of map study will clear up any confusion.
A bit about GPS units. We recommend using three for the Tour: A Trail Tech Voyager Pro as a primary, a backpacking style GPS (Garmin makes several that are excellent) as a backup and a cell phone running Rever, Stava or something similar as a second backup.
The Voyager Pro, in addition to being an excellent and very accurate GPS every without the external antenna, also provides reams of useful information about your motorcycle. For teams the buddy feature is indispensable. I use a Garmin GPSMAP 64ST, which I find to be excellent, as my first backup - but there are many similar GPS units that will work just fine. I use a smartphone running Earthmate paired with my Garmin/DeLorme InReach SE personal locater beacon as my second backup. Whatever you do, please do not use your cellphone (or worse, some sort of automobile GPS) for your primary navigation. None of this works very well for the Tour and the number of things that can go wrong is more than I can count on my fingers and toes. Get dedicated GPS units and keep your cellphone safely stashed away. You'll be happy that you did. If you feel the need to argue about this the Tour may not be right for you.
Every rider in each team should carry three GPS units. The number of teams that have shown up at the flagpole with one or two GPS units between three people is a subject of much legend. And for the teams involved, much subsequent unhappiness. GPS issues hose as many teams as bike failures and personal fatigue. It's crazy to do as much work as you are going to do on the Tour only to be let down by something as easy to correct as the right GPS for the job.
Make sure that at least one of the GPS units that you use is dedicated to creating a track of your Tour (as opposed to being used primarily for navigation). A GPS "track" file is not the same as a "route" file. A route file consists of a series of discrete, named waypoints that are created in order to plan a route. A track file consists of a a series of unnamed waypoints (typically a few seconds apart) created by a GPS as one travels. Our daily route files typically contain up to a hundred or so waypoints. Your daily track files will contain thousands. Creating a track is something that you should practice in advance and that you should check daily while on the Tour. We might accept a low-resolution beacon track for one day in event of some GPS calamity, but not for 10 days. Most GPS units create tracks almost by default. All you generally have to do is name them.
The longest distance between fuel stops for 2022 will be about 250 miles, and you'll have to manage this twice - very workable on most large desert tanks along with a Giant Loop fuel bladder or two.
Finally, some miscellaneous helpful bits. We have an extensive collection of Tour of Idaho videos on our YouTube page. The SNOTEL page provides valuable information about the nature of snow levels on many passes along the Tour. The Idaho Parks and Recreation OHV website have interactive maps with very high resolution views of the trails for the entire Tour. These maps are an invaluable resource for road/trail numbers, opening and closing dates - there's even an Inciweb layer available. For fire information check out the Idaho Inciweb page. The Idaho Digital Atlas contains a wealth of useful information about the Tour route. We also highly recommend the Roadside Geology of Idaho, an indispensable pre-ride winter read.
A trail is much more than a line on a map - it's the sum of of the efforts of all who worked to make it a reality. We owe a great debt of gratitude to several individuals who helped us wrestle this epic off of our laptops and into the great outdoors.
Members of the Elk City Dust Devils ATV club are among the most helpful and gracious off-roaders it's been our pleasure to meet. They provided invaluable assistance in helping us with the area from the Magruder Road to Lowell.
Many thanks to Donn Dennis, Jim Spooner and Andrew Hixson, who provided information on northern Idaho.
Thanks to our friends at Pocatello Power Sports for keeping us in bikes, tires and accessories.
Note: Nearly all of the small towns along the Tour route have at least one establishment with free WiFi. A WiFi enabled cell phone will generally be the only inexpensive way of checking in with family and friends at the end of each day and uploading challenge point photographs. A really good reason for not using one's cellphone as a primary GPS is that uploading Challenge Point photos becomes problematic if one's phone gets damaged or lost because it's exposed and vulnerable (it's happened many times).
The following description breaks the Tour into thirteen segments. These are the intervals to which Tour participants must adhere. The advantages of the suggested schedule are that accommodations are not generally a problem and the riding difficulties are distributed so that one day is not radically more difficult than the next. The intervals are as follows: D1 - Malad to Pocatello, D2 (half day) - Pocatello to Pocatello, D3 - Pocatello to Mysteryville, D4 - Mysteryville to Mackay, D5 - Mackay to Smoky Bar Store, D6 - Smoky Bar Store to Challis, D7 - Challis to Salmon, D8 (half day) - Salmon to North Fork, D9 - North Fork to North Fork, D10 - North Fork to Elk City or Lowell, D11 - Elk City or Lowell to Superior or St. Regis, MT. D12 - Superior or St Regis to Wallace, D13 - Wallace to Sundance Mountain. The average day on the Tour is around 200 miles.
A half day off in Pocatello (the biggest town along the route), right after the first day on the trail, is scheduled. Pocatello is the largest city along the route and the best place to sort out bike or equipment issues that you may have discovered on D1. You can change oil, tires, repack and take care of any maintenance in the biggest (and most well-equipped) town along the route. Another half day off is scheduled in Salmon. D5 is short enough that you have time to take a few hours off in Ketchum.
Please bear in mind that though we have covered every inch of the recommended route and believe our descriptions to be accurate, conditions can change, in some instances very rapidly, due to weather, fire, human activities, closures, etc. A group once got lost and abandoned the Tour because of a new trailhead parking lot. It's very common for people to miss trails or challenge points because they get tracks to follow from sources other than here. But as thorough as we've tried to be, the route description and GPS files provided here are no substitute for the ability to pull out a map and figure things out when you discover that you're not in Kansas any more. Those attempting to substitute a GPS unit for route finding and the ability to read a map will doubtless spend a lot of time lost. Again, navigation is a deliberately important part of the adventure.
The Tour of Idaho is not a casual undertaking. Completing the Tour requires reasonably high degrees of riding skill, outdoor acumen, physical conditioning, navigational ability, mechanical skill, knowledge of emergency first aid and a healthy dollop of good luck. The information on this website is not meant as a substitute for any of the above. A trail that we describe as flat and fast, for instance, may change overnight as the result of a storm. You ride the Tour at your own risk. Any attempt to replace "eyes on the spot" judgment with something you read here (or elsewhere) may well result in calamity. You may want to check out the FAQ for answers to specific questions we've gotten (or wish we had).
Please note that all estimates for time on the trail do not factor in the additional time required for extensive sawing or completing the more difficult challenge sections.
In order to assist in assessing what you are riding into from day to day, we have produced a series of trail ratings for the ATV and single track trails on the Tour. Please note that these are based on nominal conditions, and that all it takes is one storm to change things. All ratings assume an unaccompanied rider with no support, on a loaded Tour bike, riding the trail for the first time. Remoteness, fatigue and technicality are all taken into account. The scale is from 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) and the ratings are normalized to Tour of Idaho trails. So a rating of "5" does not mean the most difficult trail in the Universe, just one of the most difficult along the Tour.
The technical ratings are augmented with a scale borrowed from the MPAA we've pressed into use here to indicate mental stressors such as exposure, creek crossings and anything else that could ruin a Tour for the unlucky or unwary. No suffix indicates a trail that should be no problem for any competent solo rider of intermediate ability on a loaded Tour bike. A suffix of "PG" indicates slightly elevated risk. A suffix of "R" means that one should make doubly sure that their beacon is working. A suffix of "X" means to radio the tower and have them foam a runway.
Finally we have attempted to quantify the quality of each trail. This, of course, is highly subjective and it is what it is. An asterisk (*) indicates a trail of above average quality. Two asterisks (**) indicates a trail of that is virtually overflowing with redeeming social value. Three asterisks indicates a veritable cornucopia of the most noble characteristics to which any trail may aspire.
The Malad City Chamber of Commerce has arranged free parking in Malad, just a few miles north of the Utah border, for Tour of Idaho riders. Here is a kmz file that you may open in Google Earth that shows where the parking is, and here is what it looks like from the street. Just leave a note in the windshield of your rig that you are riding the Tour of Idaho (it might not hurt to check in with the local police either). The recommended accommodation in Malad City is the Hotel Malad, which is just a short jog from the parking area. Hess Lumber and Evans Co-op can take care of your last minute hardware and sporting goods needs.
D1 - Utah to Pocatello (190 - 220 miles)
The Tour starts near I-15 Idaho exit #3 (Woodruff Road). This is a quick and easy ride from Malad. From Malad, take Old Highway 191 south some 10 miles to Woodruff Road. Turn left and head east over the freeway, then right (south) another mile to the trail head at the mouth of Burnett Canyon. Head three miles east up Burnett Canyon to a ridge.
Turn right (south) and head downhill a mile or so to the Idaho-Utah border (pictured left). This is the official start of the Tour. You should be there by 6 am, latest.
From 1Dxyz43, where the routes merge, it's just a few miles along some ATV trails (371, 325, 374) to Fenceline Trail (384, 331). Fenceline will test your navigational skills. It's incredibly easy to get led astray in the maze of criss-crossing game trails.
After Fenceline Trail, the solo route follows FS044 east to Marsh Valley road, then south and east along a series of farm roads toward Downey. There is a truck stop where the road crosses over I-15, just before Downey.
Two and three-member teams will turn left (west) from the end of Fenceline and take a series of jeep trails south toward Farmers Canyon. The Wakely Peak trail loops back over the Elkhorn crest and down to the Summit Guard Station at the east end of Mill Canyon. From there follow farm roads to 1Dxyz71, where all routes converge.
From 1Dxyz71, take Back Downata Road a few miles past Downata Hot Springs to US 91. Though it shouldn't be an issue at this point, gas is available a few miles north on Highway 91 in Downey or south at Swan Lake. Downata Hot Springs is a nice place to stop for a few minutes to cool off with a drink and a snack.
After crossing US 91, the Tour jogs south about a mile to Calvin Road (Red Rocks Back) on the east (left), then east along Pratt Road to Cottonwood Valley. The route then follows a series of logging roads and ATV trails (video) that ascend to the summit of Sedgwick Peak (9167'). A series of roads follows the crest of the Portneuf Range northwest from Sedgwick Peak some 10 miles, eventually descending to Lava Hot Springs.
D2 - Pocatello loop (60 - 70 miles)
Day two contains some of the world's mellowest motorcycle single track trail. It's a half day, and you should be back in Pocatello about three to four hours after you depart - depending upon which route you take. The total distance is between 60 and 80 miles. You may leave much of your gear at your room in Pocatello.
Begin by heading west out of Pocatello to Gibson Jack Road (70008) and follow it to its end. At the west end of the parking lot find the ATV trail that crosses a creek and heads uphill (7015) for less than half a mile to an intersection. Go left (downhill) a short distance to trail (7018) which narrows to single track and heads southwest up Dry Creek. Follow this trail some 6 miles as it contours the eastern slopes of Gibson and Slate Mountains (video). Aside from some brief side hill moments of concern this trail is one of the best anywhere.
Slate Mountain Trail
You'll eventually descend to Mink Creek Road. Turn left there and proceed northeast for about a mile to a well-marked intersection with East Fork (Scout Mountain) road on the right. Follow this east for a few miles to a road on the left, just before a switchback. Follow this road a short distance to a picnic area/campground.
D3 - Pocatello to Mysteryville (270 miles)
Day three is a long one - and fraught with adventure! It starts out with an easy transfer section from Pocatello to American Falls, then gets very real out in the desert of the Snake River Plain. D2 contains two special sections: the navigation test in the basalt desert south of Big Southern Butte (no waypoints - navigation by compass bearing and distance), and the mystery section north of Pass Creek Road (navigation by trail name and directions). You'll receive instructions for the navigation test, via email, when you reach American Falls. You'll receive directions to the mystery section, and your ultimate destination for the day, when you reach Arco. The total distance for D2 is around 250 miles.
Begin by heading west out of Pocatello via Trail Creek Road (the same road you returned to town on at the end of D2) and follow up over Trail Creek pass down to Michaud Creek road. Take this north a few miles to East County Road, a low-traffic road which parallels interstate 86 west toward American Falls.
Once in American Falls, find your way to the Bingham Co-op (3DxyzAF), the best place for fuel and supplies in AF. The sandwiches there are awesome.
The route out of American Falls proceeds west along ID 39 across the American Falls Dam. Just across the dam turn left (west) onto Lamb Weston Road. Jog around a few corners and turn south (left) on Borah Road a short distance later. Follow Borah Road south and west about a mile to a railroad crossing. From here follow Lake Channel Road 4 miles southwest and begin looking for a sandy bowl on the right.
The normally fine, extremely dry basaltic sand in this area is the most difficult that some have ever ridden. Where the trails are whooped it's difficult to keep up the speeds required to stay on top of the sand. It is incredibly important that you scout the rock chute entrance to Lake Channel, to make sure that you are in the right spot, before taking the plunge - as the surrounding cliffs reach heights of nearly 100'. Most attempts to do this after dark count as failed suicides rather than heroic deeds.
Please note that it can be very hot in the desert most afternoons during Tour season. Do not go out into the desert without proper hydration and ventilation. On a hot afternoon, the 140 or so mile ride from American Falls to Arco can be very serious (110+ temps). Once you get out of the sand and into the basalt rock (after the first 30 miles) you'll be able to ride fast enough to cool down - except for numerous gates that need to be opened and closed. The only real respite from the heat will be the summit of Big Southern Butte many miles to the north. Plan accordingly. This year you should be in the desert early enough that the heat is mostly a non-issue - but not entirely.
To enter the sand, bear right off Lake Channel Road near waypoint 3Dxyz15 onto a sandy road. Follow it about 1/4 of a mile to a wash that leads slightly downhill to the west. Follow this to a well-defined trail that leads north down a canyon. After another 1/4 of a mile this trail climbs the steep left bank of the narrowing canyon then heads west along a fence line. Climb a sandy hill, head west a few yards, then head back downhill to a sand trail that goes west back to Lake Channel Road.
Once in the bowl, follow the waypoints a half a mile to a climb out of the bowl on the right. Proceed along through a mixture of dunes, rocky roads, sandy roads and sandy trail about 5 miles to an intersection with a trail that heads north. Turn right after a bit (east), and head back to Lake Channel Road. Once there turn left (north), cross the RR tracks, and immediately turn right, following Quigley road as it parallels the RR tracks. After about a half mile the road takes a sharp left and heads north from the RR tracks.
From here the route skirts the east edge of the Wapi Lava Flow some 35 miles to the Great Rift - an area of lava tubes and deep chasms in the Basalt. Proceed north along Quigley Road some 10 miles north to North Pleasant Valley then along Roth, Winters and Crystal Ice Cave Roads to a sign that indicates that you are entering public land..
At this point, high tech navigation ends and you'll have to do it the old fashioned way: with a map, a compass and a way of accurately determining distance traveled. The compass in your gps unit or cellphone will probably be adequate, but an inexpensive handheld wll be much easier to use. I am doing nothing to make your route difficult to find or overly tricky, but I am going to make sure that you feel good about actual navigation by the time you get to BSB. I think that once you get there you'll actually have enjoyed the experience. You must disable tracking on your PLB once you begin this section. You'll enable tracking once you reach the summit of Big Southern Butte.
Here's how it works. When you reach American Falls, I'll provide you with a set of directions (compass bearings, distances and landmarks) through the desert to Big Southern Butte (where waypoint navigation commences once again). If you look at any reasonably high-resolution map of the area you will notice that there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to cross that stretch of desert. Each team will have a custom route; it's length and difficulty will be tailored to team size. Soloists get the shortest and easiest routes.The approximate length of route you'll have to navigate without waypoints should be somewhere in the 40 - 70 mile range. All of these routes will put you out somewhere along BSB-Springfield Road.
From BSB-Springfield Road proceed west to Frenchman's Cabin. The 6-mile trek to the top of the Butte begins here. On a clear day the view from the top (7560') includes a dozen mountain ranges, 1/3 of the Tour, most of T2 and parts of Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho's Snake River Valley from the Tetons all the way to Boise (video). Your sixth and last D2 challenge point is on top of the butte.
The route out of Arco may be found off US 20/26 near the southeast edge of town. Look for the submarine parked on the east side of the highway (I kid you not). Turn east (left) at the sub onto HiWay Drive which parallels US 20/26 southeast for a 0.3 miles to a fork in the road. Take the east (left) fork 1 mile to an intersection with Arco Pass Road on the north (left). After about 7 miles the Arco Pass Road intersects Sheep Camp Road near the base of King Mountain. Head east (right) then north along a series of jeep roads that skirt the eastern flanks of King Mountain, up and over Arco Pass, down to Little Lost River Valley.
From here you'll head north about 10 miles to the entrance to Sands Canyon ATV Trail (4210). At this point (3Dxyz93) the route divides briefly into x, y and z options.
Soloists will head north along 12101 and 12111 several miles to Bird Canyon (40214), then west (left) and uphill to Mike's Trail (4308). Follow Mike's Trail north for a few miles to an intersection with 40431, Van Dorn Canyon Road.
Two and three person teams will turn west (left) and proceed up Sand Canyon several miles to a divide between Bird Canyon (west) and Van Dorn Canyon (east). From the top of the divide, two member teams will head north on Sand Canyon trail to Mike's Trail (4308) and an intersection with the solo route. Three member teams will head west down Van Dorn Canyon (4217). All three variants intersect at 3Dxyz94 on Van Dorn Canyon Road.
Please note that Sands and Van Dorn Canyon trails are seasonal and close before the Tour closes (September 9). After these trails close all teams will follow the solo route through this area. Two and three member teams will be required to do a bonus loop to make up for the trails lost due to closure.
Shortly after the routes merge turn north (left) at Van Dorn Cutoff Trail (432) and after a brief jog north turn west (left) at Deer Creek Trail (277). After just a bit, turn right (north) and proceed north to the Hawley Mountain ATV trail, then northwest to Pass Creek Road.
From Pass Creek Road, it's about 65 miles to your eventual destination for the day, a.k.a., Mysteryville. Once you hit single track, I think that you'll find it to be among the best you've ever ridden. It's never too difficult on a Tour bike, but it's continuously entertaining. Just don't get to it after dark. That would be very unfortunte. You must disable tracking on your PLB in this (and every other) mystery section.
Mysteryville to Mackay (185 - 240 miles)
Day four may be long or short - depending upon choice of route. The nominal route is around 200 miles. There are three bonus sections and a challenge section. The second bonus is long - about 40 miles. The CS is one of the toughest. There is no gas available anywhere along the route, until you get to Mackay.
Most of D4 is a mystery route. The last 40 miles of the day are not, and those are described below. You should enable tracking, once again, at waypoint 4Dxyz0.
From 4Dxyz0, a series of farm roads will lead you from the Little Lost River Road to to Deer Creek Road (FS277). At 4Dxyz3, turn north (right) at Van Dorn Cutoff Trail (432) and after a brief jog turn west (left) at Deer Creek Trail (277). Head generally west, along FS277 and then FS4094 to an 8000' pass between Basin Creek and Mud Lake, then downhill several miles to an intersection with Pass Creek Road (122). This area is sometimes closed until late in the season due to a huge, active avalanche chute (you'll see it) and an alternative route is available if a detour is necessary.
At Pass Creek Road, a third bonus trail is available. To reach it, proceed north a few miles to Pass Creek Summit. From there turn west (left) and head up FS539 a mile or so to an intersection with trail 4092 on the south (left). This single track wanders around Warren Mountain some four miles to road 832 which intersects Pass Creek Road after a short distance.
Others head south down Pass Creek road a few miles to an intersection with Bench Road. Turn west (right) and proceed several miles to the town of Mackay. Mackay has gas, grub and a hardware store. There are three motels: The Bear Bottom Inn, The Wagon Wheel and The White Knob. Arco isn't too far down the road if these places are full.
D5 - Mackay to Smoky Bar (115 miles)
After the descent from Wildhorse LO, turn west (right) and jog down East Fork Road a short distance to Wildhorse Creek on the left. Head south along Wildhorse Creek Road (40136), past the Guard Station to Burnt Aspen Trail (4055) on the west (left). This trail is among the best of the entire Tour. You will enjoy the increasingly spectacular views as you wind your way up to the divide between Burnt Aspen Creek and Little Kane Creek - and they get even better as you wander down the Kane Creek drainage.
At the bottom of Little Kane Creek you'll encounter a road (40134) that winds its way west around Phi Kappa Mountain to Trail Creek Road (NFS 208). From here the route heads west over Trail Creek Summit. From Trail Creek Summit you'll head southwest some 12 miles to Ketchum/Sun Valley Idaho - a.k.a. "Glitter Gulch." Bruce Willis lives here. So do Peter Cetera, Steve Miller, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Zuckerberg, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Tony Robbins. Hemingway had a home here as well, and that might've had something to do with why he volunteered for an early ride on the great wheel in the sky, on July 2, 1961.
I suggest taking the time to park your fanny on a bench in the vicinity of Whiskey Jacques and just take it all in (you are, after all, on a Tour of Idaho). The immortal words of Sophocles, "Oh, God, here comes the dreadful truth," will never ring more true. More than a few hours here and you will want to jab yourself in the knee with a piece of rebar.
Do not let the laid back demeanor of the locals wearing $300 sandals fool you either. Almost everyone staring at you and your bike dislikes you and hates your bike. Shall I fan you gently so you don't go into shock?
Fortunately, there is a full-service motorcycle shop in the area. Details to follow.
The pass between Stewart Canyon and Corral Creek. Photo was taken from the Challenge Point.
From Ketchum head west along Warm Springs Road (NFS 227) about 11 miles or so to Warfield-South Fork Trail (7151). Head southwest for a few miles until the trail climbs steeply through a series of switchbacks to an intersection with Red Warrior Trail (7120) on the left. Continue south, then west, then north to Middle Fork-South Fork Trail (7199). Here, just beyond waypoint 5Dxyz33, a short cut is available to soloists. All others will take Middle Fork Warm Springs Trail (7150) to Dollarhide Summit Trail (7995), then a few miles west toward Dollarhide Summit. The exit from the trail is a bit difficult to find but is very close to waypoint 5Dxyz35 off to the right in the middle of a steep uphill sectionl. Someone usually piles up some logs here to block the trail, but you'll most likely wheelie over them as the trail appears to continue ahead. It does, but only for another 1/4 of a mile or so.
The D5 challenge section begins near waypoint 5Dxyz33 and continues along trail 7151 (part of the solo route) to Meadow Creek ATV trail (7302) back to Warm Springs Road. A right turn here leads you to the challenging part of the D3 challenge: Placer Creek/East Fork Big Peak Creek (7076). Why you should ride it. It's challenging and scenic. Why you should not. It's a long way to the intersection with Lick Creek (7080) and you'll need your big-person jammies some of the way. In nominal conditions it's an adventure. Besidesa, getting to visit Smoky Bar Store is a Tour highlight. Why arrive later than you need to? Please note that the first part of this closes very early each year (end of August).
D6 - Smoky Bar to Challis (170 - 185 miles)