Idaho’s Hot Springs and Cold Creeks, Day 1: Ketchum to Galena

Route of Day 1, 30.5 miles.

Route of Day 1, 30.5 miles.

Elevation profile of Day 1. 2700 ft. el. gain.

Elevation profile of Day 1. 2700 ft. el. gain.

We drove Friday morning from Idaho Falls to Ketchum. The highway goes through a nuclear reservation, with the town of Arco at its western end. This town has the fame of being the first city to be provided electricity from nuclear reactors. Craters of the Moon national monument is also on the way: what a tremendous amount of recent lava flows! It surely would be worthy to stop and hike on those lava formations.

Lava formations near Craters of the Moon. This, and all pictures containing the label "img" are by Lee Blackwell.

Lava formations near Craters of the Moon. This, and all pictures containing the label “img” are by Lee Blackwell.

The weather was holding, and we still needed to quickly stop to pick up groceries and such. A quick stop at a bike shop in Hailey revealed that the nearest place carrying freeze-dried food would be the Backwoods Mountain Sports store in Ketchum. On we go.

In front of the Sturtos bike shop in Hailey.

In front of the Sturtos bike shop in Hailey.

We arrived in Ketchum, ID, in the early afternoon. It is an interesting town. Driving there from the Utah/Oregon, one would hardly expect that 1) there would be mountains and forests, and 2) that there would be that much money. But, there is. And lots of both. After getting groceries at a fancy whole foods-sort of place, it started to rain. And rain. Ok, that gives us time to look for a parking place and freeze-dried food. At the Backwoods outdoors store, Lee eyed a new water filter, and upgraded to an inline filter along with new Platypus bags. Good thing, too, as his old water bag was leaking. The rain let off as we parked at the River Run ski resort long-term parking lot. Time to get going! Bikes were loaded and air was added to various orifices.
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Finally, ready to roll at 3:05 pm! A woman mountain-bike coach was just starting her ride and agreed to take our picture.
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We started off on the fancy Wood River bike path, riding past the fanciest YMCA and fancy fenced-in communities.
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Look at the details on these gates!

Look at the details on these gates!

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Then, a bit of road riding brought us to the Harriman trail which goes to Galena.

The Harriman trail story and map.

The Harriman trail story and map.

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The Harriman trail is a great multi-purpose trail. Easy to pedal along and great views. I was pretty anxious to get some miles in; my unspoken goal was to still go over the Galena Pass if possible this evening, but we hadn’t really talked about it.
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"Always keep the blue side up." Captain Chuck Wright, NWA

“Always keep the blue side up.” Captain Chuck Wright, NWA

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And we were starting to see big mountains. 11,000 ft tall ones. Wheew! Would we be riding things like this soon?
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The scenery blew me away.
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"The twinkle in your eye, the smile on your face, are what we use to set our pace." Your Thursday Pals

“The twinkle in your eye, the smile on your face, are what we use to set our pace.” Your Thursday Pals

At one of the fancy rock benches, a sign post was advertizing the Russian John Guard Station and hot springs. Lee was interested in checking it out more, so we headed down to the highway.
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Russian John sign post.

Russian John sign post.

The Russian John hot springs were sort-of inaccessible as far as we could tell. Looks like non-public forest service property.
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Onwards we rode, passing a few more benches.

"Timing, balance, and luck." Susan Reinstein and  Brian Ross.

“Timing, balance, and luck.” Susan Reinstein and Brian Ross.

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Galena hitching station.

Galena hitching station.

Arriving at the Galena Lodge it looked like a private party was going on – but they were friendly and invited us to join and find some food in the kitchen. It was a fly-in of Glasair aircraft owners. Yummy food was soon delivered (leftovers) for $8/each. What a bargain. Yummy apple pie sealed the meal.
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At the Galena Lodge.

At the Galena Lodge.

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Bellies full, we started to ride up the old toll road up to the Galena Pass. Only a mile or so in, Lee declares that he wants to set up camp. I was a bit disappointed that we weren’t making it over the pass, but I agreed and it was a good place to camp with morning sun hopefully going to dry and warm us. We could get an early start tomorrow and make up some time.
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Check out the other days and gpx track of route on the main page.

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2 Responses to Idaho’s Hot Springs and Cold Creeks, Day 1: Ketchum to Galena

  1. Pingback: Bikepacking Idaho’s Hot Spring and Cold Creeks | 2wheeltrails

  2. Yea, I didn’t know you were so set on topping the pass that day. I was glad to get tent set before dark though.

    LB

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