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  1. #1
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    Idaho/Wyoming Routes

    Hi All -- I'm looking for good bike routes across southern Idaho and central Wyoming; that is, roads with decent shoulders and not too much traffic. Anyone know what 20 and 26 in Idaho are like? In Wyoming, what about 26 to 18? Thanks, Erik

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    Howdy -

    There's a very nice route across central Idaho from Payette to Lowman to Stanley to Challis to Rexburg. Hot springs along route between Banks and Lowman - Sawtooth Rec Area is really beautiful - east of Stanley the road follows the Salmon River for miles, simply gorgeous - then US 93 cuts between two mountain ranges.

    You can cross Teton Pass to get into Wyoming - hit Grand Teton N.P. - then follow US 26 across the state with a few variations. Casper has a bike trail along the Platte River and there are back roads that keep you off I-25 all the way to Wheatland. US 20 is nicer for cycling in eastern Wyo than US 26 - far less traffic.

    In Nebraska, Hwy 2 is a beautiful ride thru the Sandhills with fairly light traffic - Hwy 92 east of Arthur is simply fantastic if you are willing to cut down on Hwy 61. I'd get off Hwy 2 at Broken Bow or just east of there. Hwys 91 or 22 make better eastern connectors.

    Included pics of the Salmon River in Idaho and the Tetons in Wyoming.

    Best - J

    PS - Wouldn't do this route any time after October 15 - October 1 if you're from back east.

  3. #3
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Yes, 20 and 26 would be the way to go across Idaho. These are good roads with shoulder and services along the way. Try to find the hot spring right on the north side of the road, inside the Craters of the Moon National Monument, just a few miles west of the visitors center. I'll try to find the mile post for you.
    Highway 26 east of Idaho Falls is a good road, but gets kind of tedious. An alternative route to Jackson is to turn off 26 on 31 to Victor, ID, then 33 over Teton Pass into Jackson. Beware, 31 and 33 are over the mountains, and Teton Pass is a real lung burner.

    26 in Wyoming to Lander is good, and beautiful, and a lot of climbing.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    I've done both routes from the Oregon border to Arco
    1) US 20 is a little shorter, much less scenic, and has a stretch between Boise and Mountain Home where you have to ride the shoulder of I-84. ( you can avoid I-84 by taking a much longer way thru Murphy on Route 78) Plus there's very little shade.
    2) The route I mentioned thru Lowman and Stanley has more climbing, but is far more scenic. Plus there are lots of places to soak and to camp.
    If the weather is already cold I'd take US 20, if it's warm go thru Stanley, if it's in between then do either -- but the Stanley section is simply gorgeous.

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    Thanks for the reply. That's all Really helpful.

    Yeah, I was thinking that the northern route through Stanley would be nicer, but I'm a bit worried about weather, and to a lesser extent, having enough time to get through most of Nebraska by mid-October. I'll probably leave eastern Oregon or near Boise some time between September 18 and 25th. I know that's getting close to bad weather, but I'm still game. Camping along 20 west of Craters of the Moon has me a bit worried.... are there good sites for even stealth camping?

    Thanks again, Erik

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    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by esj4
    Thanks for the reply. That's all Really helpful.

    Yeah, I was thinking that the northern route through Stanley would be nicer, but I'm a bit worried about weather, and to a lesser extent, having enough time to get through most of Nebraska by mid-October. I'll probably leave eastern Oregon or near Boise some time between September 18 and 25th. I know that's getting close to bad weather, but I'm still game. Camping along 20 west of Craters of the Moon has me a bit worried.... are there good sites for even stealth camping?

    Thanks again, Erik
    Jamawani is the man! That route he recommends is amazing! You will be a bit late for that one, I think. I rode between Boise and Mt. Home on a series of frontage roads, old highway 30, and country roads. If you get good information you can bypass Mt Home completely. You need to find a great map of Idaho to find this route, it's worth the effort to stay off I-84.
    I don't think you'll have trouble camping off 20 in that area, with all the lava flows you should be able to get out of sight, you can also camp at Craters of the Moon, ask the ranger for instructions, they are really helpful to bikers. Water is always the problem in this area, NEVER pass an opportunity to fill up, and carry alot before camping.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    Also, there's the tiny community of Howe 25 or so miles east of Arco. It's a great place for cyclists. The lady at the cafe feeds you well and the folks who have the campground give cyclists super cheap rates which include a nice hot shower. Yes, every now and then I take a shower while on the road. It helps reduce the stampede out of the grocery store when I go in. Highway 33 to Rexburg makes a nicer connection to Wyoming with less traffic than does US 26. About the same mileage - plus there's a store and H2O at Mud Lake whereas US 26 has a lot of empty.

    As for the I-84 stretch, there's a paved service road from exit 71 into Mountain Home, but if you don't have any need to be in Boise, I'd cut down to Homedale in western Idaho, then take Highway 78 to Grandview and Highway 67 into Mountain Home. Best - J

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    Hey esj4, we are in Boise. Let us know if you need a place to stay: racpat_rtw@yahoo.com. We cycled around the world, but I have not yet done the southern Idaho route. Following the snake river would be one suggestion, there are also lots of forest roads if you don't mind dust.

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    Thanks again ya'll. Since some of you seem to know this area pretty well, does anyone know if you have to ride the interstate from Baker City, OR to the Idaho line? I see a few alternate options on my map, but it looks like you have to get on and off the interstate a bit. Esj4

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    Hwy 30 follows I84 for quite a ways, but it is interupted in some places. An option would be to go on 245 to Bridgeport, then 27 miles of gravel to Brogan and there pick up US26 to Vale and into Ontario. I have not done this route, but a collegue tells me the first part is pretty, the second part is high desert with lots of rattlesnakes.
    I once rode from Baker to Halfway, Hells Canyon to Cambridge. Very nice. From Cambrige you can go to Wieser and Ontario, or stay north to McCall...... Plenty of options. There are also many dirt roads criss crossing Idaho, get a good map and check them out. One of my favourites is the McGruder Corridor in Central Idaho, one hundred miles of dirt through wilderness country!

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    Hey Eric -
    I got a few questions for you. Where are you from? The West or back East? Any reason you are starting in Baker City? How are you planning on getting there? The last week in September is still pretty doable for the middle of Idaho route and extremely beautiful. The aspens will be in all their glory. That would put you into Wyoming the first week in October - a little trickier - but if you allow yourself a day or two leeway in case of an early snow, the sun will come back out and melt it all away.
    Here's a website for climate averages.
    http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/climsum.html
    Best J

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    Hey Jamawani,

    I'm from Oregon, the southwestern part in the Siskiyou Mountains -- south of Grants Pass and east of Ashland. I've traveled quite a bit in the Rockies (by car, not bike) and I've been having the same concerns about the weather. Over the past few days I've been scouring weather data (e.g., http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Wyoming/Lander/) and have decided to leave earlier. I've also decided that I can't leave from Baker City. (Originally, I was going to start there simply because my girlfriend's family lives there and it seemed like a natural spot to get dropped off). In any case, I then thought that Mountain Home sounded good, but even that has me worried, since the parts of my trip I'm really Most Interested in are from eastern Idaho to central Nebraska. So, my latest idea is to start riding on September 21st from Idaho Falls. I think I can easily get to Jackson on day 2. The big issues will be crossing that pass west of Jackson and then the big pass east of Jackson on 26. I'm thinking I'll just have to watch the weather forcast and go when the going is good. Once I'm down east of the Rockies I should have warmer weather at lower elevations. How's that sound to you? And hey, it's awesome to get so much out of this forum. It's totally helped me piece this all together.

    Erik

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