Fisher Creek Loop (almost)
The first time I had heard about the Fisher Creek Loop was when one of my Strava buddies (Jeff) posted the ride more than a year ago. Reading Jeff’s posts made me want to visit Idaho as soon as possible. We had planned on going to Idaho last summer, but due to the poor health of Cindy’s mother we had to postpone our trip. The Fisher Creek Loop was certainly worth the wait.
The fact that Cindy was going to ride part of the loop with me was exciting. I do so many rides on my own I am almost always glad to have company join me.
Most people start the Fisher Creek Loop by parking their car at the Williams Creek Trailhead. Then they ride three miles south (down Highway 75) to enter the Fisher Creek Road. Brian, at Backcountry Country Mountain Sports, had suggested this plan. But since we knew Cindy was not going to be able to ride the entire ride (she has just started mountain biking) she could return to the truck, and then drive to the Williams Creek Trailhead. We could see no point in risking our lives on a road with no bike lanes, with only a dozen of inches between the white line and the edge of the pavement. Ride on the dirt shoulder? Nope! If a rider veered off the pavement he would find himself dropping into a drainage area.
Note** If you find these photos distorted or the map below does not show up, please click Fisher Creek Loop to view the actual page rather than the email version.
- Below you will find a map for Fisher Creek Loop.
- Click the green or red balloons for driving directions to the trailheads.
- Click Tracks or Icons for Specific Info
Since we had been driving that section of highway for the better part of a week we knew few drivers chose to abide by the 65 mph speed limit, even the people with huge fifth-wheel trailers!
Therefore, we decided to start right where the Fisher Creek Road intersected Highway 75.
There are only a couple of parking spots at the end of Fisher Creek Road. We managed to fit between a corral fence and a speedboat parked with a For Sale sign on it.
We took it real slow as we started up a well-traveled and dusty Fisher Creek Road. Wood fences lined pastures to our left and right and Fisher Creek was nowhere in sight.
At the half mile mark we spun by the Idaho version of a housing tract on our right, then a special corral for loading livestock onto a truck.
The farther rode the closer the road came to the creek. About a mile up the road we noticed several houses tucked away behind the trees and brush along Fisher Creek.
Just as we were pedaling by these residences we were passed by a red Toyota Pickup truck. About a half mile later we noticed the red truck parked in a small clearing off to the left. Two guys and a young girl were getting bikes ready and an Alaskan Husky dog was running about. As we passed the girl looked up, smiled, and said hello. When the guys looked up I noticed one was quite young and the other middle aged.
We kept up a slow steady rhythm until I had to stop to read an unusual sign. The brown, rectangular placard warned of the dangers from a burned forest. But the cardboard addition at the bottom was hilarious! We laughed and said the cardboard would certainly be needed in California, the lawsuit-happy state!
As usual, I had to stop and relieve myself after a short stint on my bike. I told Cindy to keep going and I would catch up with her.
After getting well off the trail I did my business and was just walking to the side of the road for my bike when men, girl, and dog rode by. I felt I needed to explain and told them Mother Nature had called and I had to answer. They laughed and continued up Fisher Creek Road.
I followed this group for another half mile or so when they passed Cindy, who was most likely worried I hadn’t survived. The temperature, which had been real cool when we started had quickly spiked and Cindy was sweating (she has to be completely covered up due to her light skin and a history of melanoma).
Once we were back under way we quickly came upon the riders standing astride their bikes on the side of the trail. The Husky must have also felt the heat, for we found him standing in the middle of Fisher Creek, the water not quite reaching up to his belly.
We cruised on past the riders and were laughing about how the dog wouldn’t get out of the water when we were suddenly placed in a temporary vacuum. Five riders blew by us causing a whirlwind like a semi. Shortly thereafter we were approached from the rear by the young girl and the older of the two men. The younger man was not with them and neither was the dog. As they passed the man said, “We will probably keep doing this leap frog thing for the rest of the ride.”
Road to Creek
At about the four mile distance Fisher Creek and Fisher Creek Road merged into one entity. Cindy, being cautious, did not want to ride her bike through the water. I tried to convince her riding through shallow water was safe as long as she was not making any sharp turns. As the water persisted she did get better at relaxing and trusting her tires.
Around the six mile mark I looked up ahead and noticed the road was going to climb very quickly. The hills had drawn in tighter and were completely covered with black trees. We stopped and discussed whether Cindy should try to climb the road, which initially ran through a smooth dip and was followed by a short climb through a rock garden. Cindy said she was ready to turn around and head back, but as I looked up ahead I thought I spotted a sign on the hill and convinced her to ride a little farther.
If A Tree Falls …
Just as we were getting ready to get mobile we were startled by a cracking sound followed by an ear-splitting “boom!” Quickly I looked around to see if I had failed to observe a shooter in front of us. I spotted no one. I checked the sky for possible lightning and thunder … not a cloud! After we glanced all around we finally came to the conclusion the sound had been caused by the toppling of one of a hundred burned out trees. We both began to wonder how safe we were riding under the charred remains of the flora.
I told her to watch as I pedaled down into the dip and kept my speed up through the rock garden. I tried to convince her she could ride the rocks if she kept enough momentum. So I rode the dip, then stopped and turned around just in time to see her clean the rock garden. I congratulated her on trusting herself to keep up the speed.
Upon further inspection I decided the sigh I had been looking at was really just a broken off stump. I also noticed the steep climb was covered with loose shale, so I suggested she do turn around. Even if she did manage to hike-a-bike up the hill she would not be able to negotiate the tread on the way down … and would also be hiking down.
I told her I would take some photos from the top and share them with her when I got to the Williams Creek Trailhead. We said goodbye and went opposite ways.
There were actually two hills. I tried riding up the first one but found myself spinning my rear tire about two thirds the way up and had to do a little hiking. The second trail was a little steeper but the tread was firm and I managed to stay on the bike the whole way … which brought me to the junction.
As I approached the sign I noticed the girl and man just heading out in the direction I would be going … north on Trail #332 … the connector trail.
I signed in at the Wilderness booth and later wondered why I would be allowed to ride if I was entering a wilderness area (I later learned the wilderness area did not start right away, but farther down Trail #332 … past where I would turn west onto the Williams Creek Trail).
Trail #332 was an eight inch wide ribbon undulating around on some smooth hills covered only with dead trees. This trail reminded of the slides of a water park.
Kristie and Garry
As I rounded one of the turns I could see the girl and the man had abandoned their bikes and were standing on a rocky hill above the trail, looking to the northeast. When I came to a stop I too jumped off my bike and climbed to join them.
I quickly learned their names were Kristie and Garry. Kristie lived locally and was taking her father (Garry) on a ride. Garry lived in New York City, and told me about the lack of biking areas around his home. Despite the lack of mountains Garry said they had an association called Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists or CLIMB. He also recommended some trails in Oregon.
I asked Kristie about the other rider and the dog. She said her husband had taken the dog back and was going to meet them at the Williams Creek Trailhead. She said the dog would overheat if they had tried to have him do the entire loop. I told them Cindy should also be waiting Williams Creek Trailhead.
Kristie pointed up the adjacent drainage and said, “Do you see that meadow up there? If you stop in the middle and turn around, you will get a great view of the White Cloud Mountains. If you don’t look there, you will not get a chance to see them again.”
Before I left Kristie pointed to a rock down below us and said, “Did you get a picture of that rock over there?” I looked to where she was signaling only to see a most unusual rock. “It looks like a foot,” she shared.
I left Kristie and Garry standing on that rocky hill, and zoomed down to the trail junction. To the right … Warm Springs Creek and the White Cloud Wilderness. To the left … Williams Creek Trail and the remainder of the Fisher Creek Loop.
Kristie’s Photo Spot
I took the left and soon found myself in the middle of that meadow Kristie had told me about. I turned, and sure enough, the While Cloud Mountains were standing right there to the east … looking like the cutting edge of a saw.
When I reached the summit I gained a nice view of the Sawtooth Mountains to the west. However, I wanted to see if I could get a view of the White Cloud Mountains from summit. So I hiked up onto the hill beside the trail to escape the foliage to gain views of the White Cloud Mountains.
Williams Creek Trail
From the summit the Williams Creek Trail proved to be one nice piece of singletrack. Following the creek I found the trail slightly downhill, mostly straight, and smooth … perfect conditions for some high speeds! I had to remove my sunglasses as most of the trail was either in complete shade or dappled with shade and sun.
At one point I came to an odd situation involving a cattle guard on the trail. Now cattle guards are quite common on mountain bike trails. What I found unusual was a trail running parallel to the trail passing over the cattle guard, just a few feet to the north. I know domesticated cattle are not supposed to be real smart, but all they would have to do is walk on the other trails just a few feet to the north!
After hurtling down over three miles of superb, shaded singletrack I felt bummed when I found I needed to climb over a mountain, fully exposed to the hot sun!
Once I had ground to the top the trail took me around the north side of the mountain, gradually losing elevation.
While I was rounding the last part of the hill I could see my truck off to the south, one of many vehicles parked in the Williams Creek Trailhead. The red pickup truck belonging to Kristie’s husband sat right next to my vehicle.
The Williams Creek Trail emptied out behind some rustic, wood-clad cabins, part of a micro community called Obsidian.
As we drove back to our campsite at Redfish Lake Cindy told me about her trek back down Fisher Creek Road. She said she rode through many of the water features on the road and actually got up to thirteen miles per hour! I told her the Williams Creek area was much better than Fisher Creek as the trail was singletrack and did not pass through areas of burned out forest.
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured … 75 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery Site.
The following link can give you all the stats for this ride … just click on the box below.
Would you like to try this ride? You can copy my GPX file from the Strava Link below.