Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: SW Washington, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In 2001 my wife and I did a loop, Portland -> Yellowstone -> Portland, cycling back through this region of Idaho. We headed up Hwy 28 (Terreton to Salmon) after passing through Rexburg. I'd recommend taking Hwy 28 -- the first 50 miles is long and lonely with desolate desert landscape. But once you cross over the hills into Lemhi County, it's spectacular -- scenic, historic, and downhill. Fascinating small ranch and mining towns... Lone Pine has terrific burgers, and Leodore might have the best ice cream in the Rockies.
There was little traffic on this route back then, and I'd suspect that hasn't changed much. We didn't continue north of Salmon on Hwy 93, in fact we turned south on 93, west at Challis and then into the Sawtooth region. This is fantastic touring country.... The worst traffic we saw was on Hwy 95, which is notorious for trucks and no shoulders. Hwy 93 wasn't bad, but still more traffic than the backroads.
On the way out to Yellowstone, we rode Hwy 93 from Missoula to Lost Trail Pass (border of MT/ID). This is very heavy traffic, especially as you get closer to the cities, but an excellent shoulder (and a screaming downhill heading north from ID). The only stretches of Hwy 93 that I can't comment on are between Salmon and Lost Trail Pass, and north of Missoula. The ACA route from Missoula goes north on Hwy 83, which is an excellent choice.
On Hwy 28 in ID, the portion in Clark County is desolate, as I said above. There's a BLM campground about 40 miles north of Terreton -- otherwise not much else (and little water) within 100 miles.
Hwy 95 is the worst route in Idaho, but hard to avoid in the west part of the state. Hwy 93 is better, still lots of traffic but generally good shoulders. But some of the back roads are much better choices.