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Old 09-08-2013, 06:37 AM   #1
Mud894 OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 13
Big Elk Mountain trails


Been doing some exploring the last couple weekends based on this post:

I have a gas gas 280 pro and the previous op mentioned how difficult trail 44 was. The trials bike can only do about 20 miles on a tank of gas so have to be careful.

I decided I wanted to explore this and see. So 2 weekends ago, I went to the top of Big Elk Mountain via road and hooked up to trail 130. The plan was to ride down trail 44. Well, the trails are not marked very well up there and I missed it and road 147 to 148 down to bear creek at the bottom trail #48. On the way out, on trail #48, beavers have dammed the creek in places and I found a water hole to drown the motor. After some help from horse men, I was back on the trail again. Made it out.

The OP mentioned that they could not find 157, so Friday, I went out and started up 157 and it is there, but at the top of the mountain where it connects the trail is nonexistent and unmarked. I connected up with trail 41 to make a loop back to the truck. Trail 41 was also difficult to find with connection to trail 130.

Yesterday I rode up muddy creek trail #44 to see how hard it was. Well, interestingly enough the previous day seemed to have a cloud burst in the area, and I was riding in the rain. Needless to say, a muddy trail and rock faces are certainly a challenge. The first rock face was probably 15' long, with a sharp grade, I almost made it before the slippery surface stopped me. As it goes, I had to do a little push and lift the back end on each switch back . There are some benefits to a trials bike only weighing in at 137 pounds. I fell down once and dropped my bike. Was so slippery you could not stand on it. I did see some elk tracks on the trail and the elk were sliding on the trail surface also.

I did not follow 130 yet to determine if trail 42 junction 130 to 157 is difficult to find yet. I was going to do that yesterday, but I did not like being exposed on top of the mountain in the rain. Be a real bad place in a lightning storm.

I do not believe an enduro would have made it up yesterday. The trial competition tires did a wonderful job with the mud and rock. Anyway, I have a Yam WR450 I ride about 200 miles a week. I don't think I would take that bike up that trail. Kudos for the OP riding those enduro bikes up that trail.

Yours truly,


Mud894 screwed with this post 09-15-2013 at 03:58 PM Reason: Adjust title to reflect post better
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #2
Mud894 OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 13
Trail 130

Loading up to follow trail 130, looks like the weather may hold. I will start at trail 157 and work my way to trail 42. See if it exists.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:58 PM   #3
Mud894 OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 13
Trail 130 Is there sorta

Well, the trail is there, then again maybe not. I spent the day following the trail and losing the trail. After traveling there and back I can say, I know where the trail is now. But a person who is first time to the area certainly will not fair that well. For the most part, the very top of the finger ridge does have a slight trail. In most instances, the trail is on the northwest side of the ridge top, the exception to that rule is from the top of Big Elk Mountain to the saddle, and south of trail 42.

Although not on the map, it appears riders have been traveling around the ridge on the west side rather than following the top of the ridgeline from the saddle just south of Big Elk Mountain to trail 42. I think they are shorting 130 to 42 or vise versa. This trail is a bit of a goat trail (Some spooky sidehill and deadfall, but if it were cleaned up a little, it would be much better than traveling the ridgeline. In fact, I would suggest cleaning it up and abandon the ridgeline between Little Elk and Big Elk Mountains.

Mud894 screwed with this post 09-15-2013 at 09:45 PM Reason: Take Map out, got a better one below
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
Mud894 OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 13
Big Elk Mountain Climb

Today, I road to the top of Big Elk Mountain via road, then connected into Trail 130 and went down in a south east direction. The goal was to see if this part of the trail was climbable since the previous OP wondered if it was even possible.

Let me say, Friday I looked up at this stretch but did not try do to the possibility of not enough fuel to get back to the truck. (3 liters don't go far in a trails bike). This morning I placed some gas down on Bear Creek in case I would have to take trail 42 out.

I started down the mountain side, and this trail pretty well went straight down. There was one point of interest, a series of rocks of about 4-5 feet in height that I walked the bike down. The rock formation was certainly something that one could go over the handle bars if you were not careful. A person could have rode, but I was on a solo mission, and the reward to risk ratio was in favor of walking it down. The trail was about 6 inches wide in most places, and past and recent rain created a small v slit in the mountain, if you want to call that a trail. Overall the trail was about 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Pretty hard to negotiate.

The whole time I was going down this slope, I was thinking I may not get back up this, at least following this trail. You could see where other motorcycles had tried to go around the boulder face I spoke previously about. It looks like they did alot of pushing and lifting. Overall, my impression was the rock face would be easier than what those fellows did.

When I reached the bottom. I could see why the original OP stated that hill would be a challenge to climb. I was a bit shaken when I came off that mountain. I sat at the bottom for about a half hour resting as going down hill on a trials bike is very exhausting as much of your weight is on your hands. I pondered if I should attempt that climb. It was so hard to negotiate that rut down. Then I thought, well, its usually easier to go up then down. Give it a try that is why your here.

I traveled up the first steep pitch. The gas gas 280 pro, did not have much of a problem. I got hung up on one rock, which caused me to put my foot down and so I put the clutch and front brake on, leaned forward which kicked the rear tire to the right a little on top the rock. I was thinking that may be it, but I let loose the clutch and stood on my left foot hard. The trials bike did not even slip on that mountain, just started up the hill again.

I got to the top of the first pitch, and turned the bike off and rested a couple minutes. (I am getting old) I measured up the next pitch. This one had sort of an s curve with alot of rock outcropping. The trail in this section had a number of different lines in it. I started up the section, and rode thru it, picking my line as I went. The tire pressure in my tires at 3 psi, rode thru the section without wheel slip. The motor was being taxed though, it was trying to bog out, and I had to keep feathering the clutch. Which tells you how steep this was since my third gear is probably equivalent to an enduro first gear. Bogging out first gear lol. That section went so well, I continued up the hill with out a rest.

Now we are traversing across the mountain at a moderate slope, much nicer than going straight up the mountain. After about 100-150 yards, I come to that rock outcropping that I spoke about above. I decided it was a good time to rest before I man handle this rodeo. I decided to follow the plan I thought on the way down, go up this 4-5 face, and forget about the hellhole those other guys tried. I was confident I could ride that rock, but since I was alone, I decided the prudent thing to do was walk the bike up. I got off on the uphill side, let out the clutch and the bike walked up that section like a staircase. I hopped on the bike and continued up the hill.

The third steep incline had an s-curve with about 15 inch deep rut. there were a couple of kicker rocks on the corner just to make it interesting. The rocks, thru my balance and I think my feet come off the pegs, I jumped back on and didn't lose a stroke. At this point, I climbed to the ridgeline, and turned off my motor to go very slowly down a cliff face to side hill around the mountain to the saddle.

the fourth and final pitch was cake walk after climbing the rest of that hill. At that point, I was determined to get out of that canyon. I got to the top and rested.

The previous OP wondered if it was climbable, and if you have a trials bike yes, other ????. Don't know. Don't think I will be taking the Yamaha there.

If you are planning to traverse these trails as a part of a "greater adventure"; ie, I would suggest you look more west at trail 263. Much better trail for traveling.

Excellent trail for the most adventurous. Bring some bean and weanies just in case you cant get out.


Mud894 screwed with this post 06-22-2014 at 06:11 PM
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:41 PM   #5
Mud894 OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 13
Final Map

I have created a map from google earth of where this trail really is. The published map quite frankly is incorrect. If you look at the published map, you will not be on the trail for many of the technical parts of the ride. The hill dropping down from the top of Big Elk is on an entire separate finger ridge. The ridge they suggest would put you into cliffs.

Anyway, here is a map with the best of my ability, its not perfect, but I am sure its better than the Idaho Parks & Rec.

On the left side I have ended at the trail 157. I have the google earth kml file, but not sure how to make it available at this point.

Happy Trails,


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Old 01-17-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Teton Valley Idaho
Oddometer: 7
Cool2 Thanks for the info.

Great info. I've found all the trails over by Big and Little Elk. They are tricky and technical, but some of the greatest around. Bear Creek Hot Spring is also a favorite.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:40 PM   #7
Mud894 OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 13

Its a new year, and I have been reviewing places I have been vs. not. Read this post again. I mention trail numbers that are on the ground, however, these are not the numbers on the map. So I thought I would build a table real quick.

Forest folks getting way lazy here. changing names on maps, not on the ground. Trails 130, 147, 148, and 157 are marked correctly on the ground as in the maps. The following differ:

Route - Ground Trail Marker - Map trail number

South Fork Bear Creek - 047/048 - 273/274
Muddy Creek - 044 - 272
Rd 083 TailHead to Little Elk Mountain - 041 - 270

Couple of Pictures from last summer.

Big Elk Mountain, trail 147, looking south; Caribou mountain in far background

Little Elk Mountain looking northeast to Big Elk. Sitting at Trail 157 and Trail 130 Intersection

In South Fork of Bear Creek Trail 274, looking northeast

Happy Trails,


Mud894 screwed with this post 06-22-2014 at 07:15 PM
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