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Mountain Biking in the Idaho Sawtooths

April, 2004

One of the best mountain biking trails in Idaho, Fischer Creek, is within biking distance (if just barely) of a classic Idaho grass landing strip, Smiley Creek.  Fortunately, it is an easy strip to get into and out of, and at 4,900 feet long it is certainly one of the longer backcountry airstrips.  Then again, its located at an elevation of 7,190 feet, so some planes need that length to get off the ground.

My friend Graeme and I started out late one afternoon from California, landing in Mountain Home Idaho in the dark to camp so we could do the mountain flying piece in the early morning.    The winds were calm the next morning and we set off for Smiley Creek.  Sometimes I wish I had a more capable backcountry plane because these Idaho strips are so much fun and are located in stunning places.  My Cessna 210 can only handle the larger strips, and I can only handle the largest of those.  So there really are not that many I can get into, but there are a few and I thoroughly enjoy using them.

The Fisher Creek trailhead could be closer, as you have to bike about 14 miles on pavement to reach it.  Basically, you ride up highway 75 toward Stanley and turn right just before the Rocky Mountain Ranch.  There are plenty of web resources that will describe the ride, which is a pretty big climb, then a fun and long downhill.

It was all good except for that last ride on pavement back to the plane.  I was tired!

Smiley Creek

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