Backcountry Hot Springs
Yes, it is true, this supported mountain biking trip has a clear natural hot spring at every camp!
We begin in Ketchum, Idaho and travel to the edge of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area. Imagine riding over a mountain pass surrounded by wildflowers and then cruising into the valley below to spend the evening in a clear steaming hot spring. Just when you think it can't get any better, we arrive at the tiny town of Atlanta, Idaho below the dramatic shadow of Mount Greylock. On our layover day in Atlanta, you can choose to hike into the Sawtooth Wilderness, ride the singletrack to Grouse Lakes, or simply soak in one of the three hot springs for the whole day. You will return from this camping and biking tour relaxed and cleaner than you would have been at home.
The riding on this mountain bike tour is primarily on dirt roads. Climbing to the top of each pass is a good workout, but the descents on the other side make it all worthwhile. The Backcountry Hot Springs tour is an intermediate mountain bike trip in Idaho. This trip is just fantastic. Call us at 800-845-2453: we will give you the inside scoop!
We begin our tour in lovely Ketchum, Idaho. Our first morning’s ride will take us past the ski resort up Warm Springs Road to our first hot springs of the tour. The road has a broad, smooth surfaced grade that climbs gradually through a pretty canyon alongside Warm Springs Creek for 21 miles before a steeper five mile climb brings us to Dollarhide Summit. The views from the summit are outstanding and in the distance one can see the peaks of the Pioneer Mountains, the Boulder Mountains and the Smoky Range. In early summer, yellow and purple lupines carpet the area and the sweet smell of flowers fills the air. A fun nine mile downhill ride takes us to Worswick Hot Springs, our first night’s camp. The springs are a delight to soak in and bathers have a choice between several nice pools. TOTAL MILEAGE: 35 miles
Today we will pass three hot springs while riding along the banks of the Boise River. We will be following the course of Little Smoky Creek to the confluence with the South Fork of the Boise River. Our afternoon ride is a fun cruise down the South Fork of the Boise and tonight we will camp at Baumgartner Hot Springs. These springs were civilized by the CCC in the Roosevelt days and are beautifully maintained by the forest service. A concrete pool 10 x 20 x 3 feet deep has been built to contain the crystal clear hot water. A deep swimming hole at the end of the campground makes for a great plunge. The surrounding granite boulders, sculpted smooth by the river, are a warm, comfortable place to relax before a dinner under the pines. TOTAL MILEAGE: 24 miles
This morning we will continue our downhill cruise beside the river for another 11 miles to the small town of Featherville. Here we turn up the Feather River and begin a series of climbs as we head to James Creek Summit. This steep, 3,000 foot climb has great views of the Sawtooth Range. We will pass Rocky Bar, an old mining town now abandoned. Atop the summit, we immediately plunge down along James Creek to the Middle Fork of the Boise River. From here a two mile ride brings us into the town of Atlanta. Situated at the end of the road from Boise, this isolated settlement boasts about 25 full time residents. The town has a small museum full of interesting artifacts from the mining days. Near our camp are three hot springs from which to choose. The Atlanta Hot Springs are nestled underneath a giant stand of old growth Ponderosa Pines. Further down the road are the Chattanooga Hot Springs. Here, a hot waterfall cascades into a sizable pool on the banks of the river. Finally, just below camp on the river bank is an unnamed spring containing several great pools. Here, you can lay on your back in hot water and enjoy a marvelous view of the mountains. TOTAL MILEAGE: 36 miles
Today we will have a layover day in Atlanta. There are numerous rides in the area that range from technical singletrack to easy dirt roads. One of our favorites goes up the Middle Fork of the Boise drainage to the Sawtooth Wilderness Area boundary. This is a great singletrack on which to practice technique as it contains a variety of easy challenges. This trail parallels the river and leads to some trophy swimming holes. For those wishing for an easy day, the hot springs by camp offer a refreshing and relaxing bypass from strenuous activity. There is also some great hiking nearby in the Sawtooth Wilderness Area. TOTAL MILEAGE: 15-35 miles
Today hiking and soaking in Atlanta are on the agenda. At some point we will head over to the airstrip in Atlanta and fly by charter plane to the Hailey Airport. On our flight, we will be able to look down and see most of the week’s route. From Hailey, we’ll ride 12 miles on the bike path back into Ketchum. This is a nice way to end a great journey. TOTAL MILEAGE: 12 miles
Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Graded main dirt roads, some singletrack trail options.
Overall Rating: Intermediate
Technical Difficulty: Moderate
Physical Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous with long climbs.
Altitude: 6,000 - 9,000 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.