First off, let’s give credit to Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel bike race in the early fall, for introducing us to Copper Basin.
We’ve seen few places with such an impressive valley …. surrounded by mountains, following a river, and looping around miles of cattle ranching. You can watch real cowboys herd cows with cattle dogs.
This is a gorgeous 5 star route that we would ride again, but we have just a bit of warning. There is some traffic on the route, which can make conditions very dusty. To give you the best of the route (big scenery and less traffic) we have modified Rebecca’s “Big Potato” route by taking off ~25 miles of the stick of the lollipop. The stick of the the route documented here will still have some traffic, but the loop of Copper Basin is relatively traffic free.
The first 10 miles of the route, the stick of the lollipop, is a subtle climb … 1 to 2% … that has you believing you aren’t really climbing but are having a slower day. You hug the river and wind by impressive Sun Valley style cabins (which means they are far from anything with an outhouse).
At approximately mile 11 you turn in the Copper Basin proper, where he “Cabins” evolve into large cattle ranches …and the road continues to hug the side of the valley … circling it in a counter clockwise direction. The road is more undulating now, with a general upward trend.
At about the half way point, you cross a small stream and do a sweeping U-turn and come back the opposite side of the valley. The road continues to climb until the there-quarter point of the loop, but then “giddyup” the big downhill …. it’s a long straight road that wonderfully showcases the valley.
Turn left and your back on the stick of the lollipop, where the ride rolls with a downward trend and big views.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Out & Back : 44 miles / 1800 ft gain
– Style: Gravel
– Location: ~ Sun Valley, ID
– Best ridden: late Spring to Fall
– Route Author: Rebecca Rush of Rebecca’s Private Idaho
– Date Posted: September 2018
Easier. Most of the climbing is very moderate.
Dirt parking area adjacent to Wild Horse creek on East Fork road, just past the intersection of Wild Horse Creek Road and East Fork road.
Food / Water
Water at mile 23.5 at Lake Creek Campground.
Brown = gravel / dirt road