Mountain Biking Osberg Ridge, Adam’s Rib, and Harper’s Trail
Osberg Ridge was the third ride recommended by Brian at Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum. “Do you like to hike-a-bike?” He asked. I told him I was not sure I “liked” hike-a-biking but I seem to do my fair share!
“Good,” He continued. “You will probably have to do some to get up onto Osberg Ridge, but once you’re on the ridge … ha, ha, it is the ‘chez.’ You can see for miles!”
Note** If these photos are distorted or the map below does not show up, please click Osberg Ridge to view the actual page rather than the email version.
Brian then went on to describe more details of the ride, using a pen to point to items on a large, laminated map of the area.
“So you will drive to the Baker Creek Trailhead … right here, where the Osberg Ridge Trail starts. Then you will ride the ridge until you get to the Trail junction. By taking Fox Creek Connector you can circle around and hit the Baker Creek Road. Then just ride back to your vehicle.” He stopped talking, looked at Cindy, hesitated, and said, “Unless you can shuttle the ride.”
Cindy responded with, “I was planning on dropping him off and then going closer to town to ride those easier trails you showed us earlier.”
Brian then said, “Perfect! That makes the end of the ride a whole lot different, makes it a much better ride. Instead of taking Fox Creek you will take this here trail, called Adam’s Ridge.” As he pointed his pen at the map he bent down and looked a little closer, then said, “Hm, here they call it Adam’s Rib! I have been doing that ride for years and never knew the proper name!”
“After Adam’s …, he again hesitated, then mumbled, ‘Rib,’ you can take Harper’s which will dump you in almost the same location as her,” he finished by looking at Cindy.
“Sounds good to me,” I concluded. But Brian was not quite finished with his advice. “You will be riding the ridge, so you’re going to be doing a lot of work. You know, anytime you ride a ridge you have a lot of ups and downs.”
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I set the alarm for 7:30 the next morning, which may not sound real early to you. But with our position so far north the sun sets at 9:30 this time of the year. We have been eating our dinners around 10:00 and going to bed at midnight!
We arrived at the trailhead around 9:30 after a long, bumpy ride on the Baker Creek Road. I felt like we were in the middle of nowhere … not a sole or vehicle in sight. Like normal, I had to use the bathroom before a ride so I was pleased to see the pit toilet. I immediately went for the head and took my sweet time.
When I returned to the truck Cindy pointed to a truck and said, “That truck pulled up and has just been sitting there. I haven’t seen anyone get out. I wonder what they are doing.” Just then the door popped open and a middle aged woman eased herself out.
We quickly acted busy (as if we were not staring) and we’re surprised when she came over to our truck and asked, “Are you guys all done using that bathroom?”
Cindy told her we were all done and the lady promptly walked to the toilet, was inside for less than a minute, walked back to her truck, and left.
A short time later I gave Cindy our usual goodbye kiss and headed out.
The most obvious features on the Osborne Ridge Trail were the burned trees. Everywhere I looked I saw hundreds of them. I had to search hard to find anything alive but flowers.
Less than a mile into the ride I crossed two new bridges. Both spanned gullies which appeared to be formed by recent flash floods. The second bridge didn’t look to be real safe, as the dirt had been washed away from the foundation on the far side. Someone had wrapped caution tape around a post and a sign read, use caution while crossing.”
As Brian had warned the trail quickly began to climb up the side of a mountain. The majority of the time I could see Osberg Ridge above me, so I had a good idea how much climbing I had in store before I would begin to run the ridge.
I had to hike-a-bike just a few times during this entire ride (unlike my ride the next day on the Hyndman Trail).
The first 1.51 miles brought me to an elevation of 8,548 feet, where I reached the edge of Osberg Ridge.
Several times the trail passed right over the top of a mountain while other times I was just skirting a summit. Most of the time riding on the ridge or skirting the summit involved skimming along a narrow singletrack with a crumbled rock tread. The rating on the Osberg Trail was listed as a single black diamond. The trail did not seem to have any real difficult sections but did have a lot of vertical exposure.
I ate an apple and Dipps Bar at 12:15 while sitting on the highest point of the trail (9,605 feet in elevation) while I sat looking toward the east. As Brian promised, the views were just incredible.
I sent Cindy a text telling her I had only biked 8.5 miles, feeling a little worried because I still had 16+ miles to go!
However, I had a feeling the miles would fly by from the spot I ate my lunch … and they did.
Uris and Sinikka
About two miles down from my lunch location I came across two bikers (a man and woman) eating sandwiches. They immediately said something about seeing me in a bike shop and buying a map the previous day.
I figured they had seen me buying my two maps in Back County Mountain Sports. As I quickly thought back I remembered a tall employee had asked me if I needed help while Brian had stepped away to sell a bike. Could this tall guy on the trail be him?
“So you work at Backwoods Mountain Sports?” I asked. The tall fellow (Uris) then said, “No, we bought a map from you!”
I followed with, “But I don’t work in a bike shop!”
The woman (Sinikka) exclaimed, “It had to be you who sold us the map, or someone who looks just like you!”
Once we had established neither of us had sold a map to each other we talked about their bikes … Cubes. I told them I had been on a Cube once (while biking in Jamaica) and loved it. Uris told me I could get the best price by importing a Cube through Chain Reaction Cycles out of New York.
Just as we were talking about the Cube a rider came down the trail.
The rider told us he was shocked by all the burned trees. When Uris asked him when he had last been on the trail he said he used to ride motorcycles on the ridge before a trail existed. I guess he must have seen the shocked looks on our faces so he explained further,”Yup, you needed at least two guys since you had to help each other lift the bikes up over the bad spots.”
I was scratching my head trying to visualize two guys lifting motorcycles over some of those cliffs when Uris asked him when the fire had occurred.
“Well, there has been two major fires here … this one happened in 2013,” he informed us.
He then excused himself and headed down the trail.
Before I left I found out a few more things about Uris and Sinikka. He was born in Switzerland and she in Finland, but they now lived in Florida. Sinikka had not been mountain biking a long time but had gained a lot of confidence when she got her new (fully suspended) bike.
I used my Trailforks app to determine exactly where we were. Uris looked and decided they had missed the Alden Gulch Trail, their return route back to Baker Creek Road. They said they were going to keep riding up the Osberg Trail a bit longer. They wanted to know the trail conditions the way I had come. I told them they would have a lot of climbing. I turned to look at the way I had come and was surprised to see exactly where I had eaten lunch. “That point right there?” I said pointing to the pointed mountain in the distance. “That is the highest point on the Osberg Trail?”
After we said our goodbyes, I sped off down the trail feeling lucky to have met such nice people.
Adam’s Rib and Harper’s
Adam’s Rib was clearly marked. The trail was similar to the Osberg Ridge, but with a lot more downhills than ups. I found skirting the side of a mountain in a gradual downhill direction much easier than in the uphill parts on Osberg Ridge.
Brian had told me to make sure I went left when I got to the wood post with the rock he had placed on top. I instantly recognized the post an added another rock on top of his rock. At the base of the post I noticed a crude drawing of a mountain biker.
I texted Cindy at the top of Harper’s and told her I would be done in about an hour. My GPS said I had traveled 22.1 miles and for some reason I thought the entire ride was supposed to be 26 miles (it actually turned out to be 25.1 miles including the part where I biked through the Hulen Meadows neighborhood).
Anyway, I got down to the highway twenty five minutes later, for I had forgotten Harper’s was a much easier trail than the one’s I had been on. When I called Cindy to come get me she was at the public library, thinking she had more time based on my text from the top of Harper’s. But she showed up quick enough.
Osberg Ridge? Wow! Just incredible!
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured … 107 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.