North of Ketchum in Idaho is a small mountain biking trail system, but it packs some great riding and offers something for all skill levels.
Chris & Mac
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Length: 6 Trails with 19 Miles of Trail in the System
Trailhead(s): Wood River Trail Trailhead
Elevation Gain: 4,875’
Trail Type: Trail System
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
Permit Required? No
Considerations: Popular area for hiking as well as mountain biking; a lot of trail usage; must park at trailhead, then ride through neighborhood for start of trail.
Season: Spring to Fall
North of Ketchum is a relatively small mountain biking trail system, but it packs some great riding. Located, well, north of Ketchum, Idaho, this trail system offers something to all levels of mountain bikers.
What Makes the North of Ketchum Mountain Biking Trails so Fun?
That’s easy – buff, flowy trails with opportunities for easy spins, moderate climbing and fast descents, or hefty climbing and rugged descents. Wrapped around all this fun is also some awesome views. As an added bonus, the variety of trail conditions at North of Ketchum makes this an excellent choice for groups that have varying skill levels.
Riding the North of Ketchum Mountain Biking Trails
Although there are a couple of ways to access the trail system, the main way is to park at the Wood River Trail Trailhead or proceed just past it on West Sage Road to another parking area down the road, then ride through the neighborhood to an entry gate on Hulen Road. The ride isn’t far and accessing the system here allows a great warm-up for the upper elevations of the system.
A very popular, but short ride, is to take Fox Creek (Lower) to the Fox Creek Loop and back to the trailhead for a 6.1 mile ride with 731′ of climbing. The riding is easy and flowy, and this route is great for beginners.
If you want to up the ante further, instead of going left to continue the Fox Creek Loop, continue straight on to the North Fork Trail to Chocolate Gulch and follow it around back to the Fox Creek Loop then to Fox Creek (Lower). This ride gives some great climbing, nice flow, excellent views, and a ripping downhill from the top of Chocolate Gulch to the Fox Creek Loop, followed by a little climbing and a 3.9 mile downhill back to the entry gate. This is a solid intermediate ride of 12.4 total miles with 1,976′ of climbing and 1,976′ of descent. It’s a ton of fun for both intermediate and advanced riders.
If you want to up the game even further, a popular advanced ride is to pick up the lower Oregon Gulch and Oregon Fox Connector. Because this is about a 21 mile ride with substantial climbing if you start at the entry gate, most people start the ride at a parking area near the intersection of the Fox Creek Loop and the North Fork Loop. (The road leading to this parking area is dirt and unnamed, so use these GPS coordinates: 43.75809645030898, -114.39695774943286.
From the unnamed parking area, get on Fox Creek Loop, then take an immediate right on to the North Fork Loop. Stay straight when North Fork intersects Chocolate Gulch and take this to the Saddle Trail. When you reach lower Oregon Gulch, take a left and ride to a left on the Oregon-Fox Connector. On this advanced trail, expect hefty climbs, a number of hike-a-bikes, a ripping downhill, and some solid chunk. When you get to the bottom, take a left on the Fox Creek Loop and follow it back to where you started. This baby is going to give you 12.4 miles of riding with 2,625′ of climbing and descent. Oh, and a big smile!
Final Thoughts about the North of Ketchum Mountain Biking Trail System
There are, of course, numerous other routes you can put together at North of Ketchum. (Heck, if you want to, you can even connect to another great system – Adams Gulch!) Above I shared with you what I believe to be great loops for beginners, intermediates, and advanced riders to get you started, but go explore the system. You’ll have a blast!
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North of Ketchum Slideshow
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