We are picky about rides and usually don’t post out and backs. Sure, a lollipop with a stick sneaks through …. but we pride ourselves on five star routes. So how did this one make it???
This road is so friggen cool, you won’t mind a bit that you go up and back. The route includes: miles along a beautiful river, hot springs that all the locals use as a free day spa, awesome gravel, a good climb that stays between 5-7 %, and a pass that has an awesome view. And if you think the route is too short or too long, just turn around when you think you had enough. (Duh!)
Details: the best place to start the ride is at the boundary between Ketchum and the Sawtooth National Forest. It’s ~ 3 miles down Warm Springs Road outside of Ketchum. You can shorten the ride by starting at the hot springs.
The first part of the ride has the most traffic as you weave among lovely cabins that are really second homes for the rich and famous who live part time in Ketchum. You hug the river and enjoy a 1 – 3 % grade for a long time.
As the houses fade out you will run across the hot springs, random single space camp areas, and more views of the river. You are deep in a canyon that winds through low foothills. There are several burn areas with blackened trees and new growth.
As you wind up toward Dollarhide Summit the views of the surrounding mountains unfold. Aspen mixed with pine … along with open fields. Eventually you cross over the river and then your climb kicks up to 5-7 %.
The top of the pass is obvious, with a sign that encourages you to ride the extra 19 miles to Smoky Bar and Store. We were smart enough to turn around … but don’t let us stop your adventure. No promises that the place will be open or that they serve anything beyond PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). You will be out of range from all the hoopla of Ketchum to demand your triple macchiato, apple martini or grapefruit kumbucha.
Enjoy the pass … along with the view, there’s a small graveyard up to the left and steep road to the top of Dollarhide mountain.
The return takes no time at all, you have 34 feet of climbing left… if it’s chilly out, you will love the hot springs.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Out & Back : 43 miles / 3200 ft gain
– Style: Gravel (mostly)
– Location: Sun Valley, ID
– Best ridden: late Spring through Fall
– Route Author: Rebecca Rush of Rebecca’s Private Idaho
– Date Posted: September 2018
Moderate. Due to the 6 mile climb with 1800+ feet of gain, ~ 5.5% on average.
Dirt parking lot, ~ 3 miles outside of Ketchum, on the right hand side of road. Marked by the Sawtooth National Forest sign.
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road