Dry Creek Canyon Epic MTBR

Contributor: Cody Feuz
Activity Type: Mountain Biking     GPS Data Type: Up and back, with loops on both ends     Level of Difficulty: Blue, Black and some Double Black
Mountain Range or Region: Boise Front     State: ID     Country: USA
The Adventure:
Why do I love living in Boise, Idaho?  The reasons are many, and a lot of them have to do with the quality of outdoor activities that are so readily accessible.  The mountain bike ride that I went on this past Saturday illustrates just how nice it is.  There aren’t very many places where you can ride directly from the city and do a 31 mile mountain bike ride almost entirely on single track.  It gets even better when you consider that I rode through desert canyons, and forested canyons all on the same ride.  And to top it off, for about half the ride I saw less than a dozen other people on the trails.
Here is the featured DH section of this ride – Dry Creek Canyon:

My initial objective when I started out the day was to do this same ride, but actually climb all the way to the top of Bogus Basin.  (This would add another 3.5 miles to the Forest Service road portion of the ride).  However, I didn’t get away in time and this is basically a day ride for me due to the length and total extended climbing required.  With that in mind, I settled on “Plan B”, which was a Dry Creek ride.  There are two basic ways to ride Dry Creek – get a shuttle ride to Ridge Road and do it as a primarily DH ride, or ride up Hard Guy and connect in on a 2 mile ride along the Ridge Road.  I chose the latter, and made it even more challenging by starting and finishing in Camelback Park.
Ride directions:
From Camelback, head up Hulls Gulch to Trail 4.  Take Trail 4 up to the 8th street parking area and cross over to Trail 1.  This merges into Corrals, (from Trail 4 to this point you are basically riding north).  Ride up over the top of Corrals and down to the access gate for Hard Guy.  Ride Hard Guy all the way to Ridge Road and then up the road to the Dry Creek trailhead.  Take Dry Creek all the way down to a unmarked trail that I call the Dry Creek – Hard Guy connector, (This will be one last crossing of Dry Creek and then an immediate climb out of the canyon).  The GPS data contains a waypoint for this junction.  This climbs out of Dry Creek Canyon and intersects with the lower section of Hard Guy.  From there I backtracked until I hit Hulls Gulch.  At this point, I crossed the creek and rode Crestline to Red Cliffs and took a sharp left onto Kestral towards the bottom of Red Cliffs.  Head back to Camelback from Kestral.
Interesting trivia:

  • There are 25 stream crossings on the Dry Creek DH.  Most of these occur in a 2 mile section of the canyon that drops 1,000 feet in elevation.
  • The Dry Creek canyon portion of the ride is just about 6 miles long and drops almost 2,000 feet.
  • There are three extend climbs on this trip on the way to the Dry Creek trailhead; Hulls/Trail 4, Corrals and Hard Guy.  Each one is progressively more challenging in terms of extended climbs and steeper grades.
  • The Hard Guy climb when ridden from this route is 4.5 miles of almost constant uphill, (just less than 2,000 vertical gain).

Final thoughts:
For me, this was a great ride.  It had big climbs, some fast DH sections, and plenty of technical.  The one thing that I would, make that SHOULD, do differently is ride with a couple of partners.  I tend to like to ride in smaller, rather than larger groups, but there are a lot of places to find trouble on this ride and especially the Dry Creek section.  I was cautious and stayed off of most of the technical features and log crossings, but having said that I would say that a riding partner is a better way to go on this type of ride.

Who shouldn’t attempt this ride? If you aren’t in decent shape, or don’t feel comfortable around a lot of objects such as narrow trails, trees, rocks, and other obstacles, then this ride is NOT for you.

So, was this ride “Epic”?  It’s all relative, what is one person’s epic is ho-hum for another guy, and absolutely unthinkable for someone else.  If you are a good solid rider, in decent shape, like a real challenge, then I would say that you would probably put this ride in the “Epic” category.  If you are on the upper end of the technical scale it may not be epic, but it will still be fun and worth the effort.

Want to see all 25 stream crossings?  Check out this video.

Here is the downloadable GPS data for the “Dry Creek Epic Ride”.  (You can also find other Boise area foothills rides here).

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