Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route

If you’ve ever wanted to ride endless twisty mountain roads, the Idaho BDR will throw corners at you for days on end. You also won’t get many digital interruptions because your cell phone won’t have reception on much of this route. It’s a true off- the-grid ride that is long enough, at 1,250 miles, that you might just use up an entire rear knobby tire.

Starting in the historic town of Jarbidge, NV the route crosses range lands and then heads into the Boise National Forest and treats riders with views of Andersen reservoir and epic alpine camping at Trinity lakes. Tiny towns and treasures like Burgdorf Hot Springs make this a bucket list ride for sure. You’ll travel where Lewis and Clark made history and experience the legendary Magruder Corridor and Lolo Motorway which skirt the roadless Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness. You will reach modest hints of civilization as you pass through Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry on your way to the Canadian Border.

Best time of year: July though October are ideal. Late June can be nice if the snow has melted from the high passes. Watch out for early snow and hunters if you are going in the fall.


The IDBDR project is presented by the Idaho Department of Commerce – Tourism Development, and Big Twin Motorcycles, Idaho’s premiere motorcycle dealership, and the official dealer of the IDBDR.

PURCHASE THE MAP

The latest version of the IDBDR map is the Third Edition, dated: May 2024

SECTION-BY-SECTION

JARBIDGE, NV TO GLENNS FERRY – 111 miles

The IDBDR begins just south of the Idaho border in the historic mining town of Jarbidge, Nevada, which is considered one of the most remote towns in America. Jarbidge is tiny population-wise, but it has a gas pump, a restaurant, a motel, and campgrounds north and south of town. Plan on staying the night in Jarbidge and hanging out with the locals.

Outdoor Inn, Jarbidge, NV (Section 1)
Food/Camping/Hotel/Showers/Laundry.

  • Address: Main St, Jarbidge, NV 89826
  • Phone: (775) 488-2311
  • Visit Website

Outdoor Inn, Jarbidge, NV (Section 1)
Food/Camping/Hotel/Showers/Laundry/Gas

  • Address: Main St, Jarbidge, NV 89826
  • Phone: (775) 488-2311
  • Visit Website

Outdoor Inn, Jarbidge, NV (Section 1)
Food/Camping/Hotel/Showers/Laundry/Gas

  • Address: Main St, Jarbidge, NV 89826
  • Phone: (775) 488-2311
  • Visit Website

Jarbidge Nevada – Food, Gas
As the official southern end and starting point of the Idaho BDR, Jarbidge kicks off the beginning of a backcountry adventure. This old gold rush town sits at the bottom of Jarbidge River Canyon, surrounding riders with a taste of the rugged wilderness ahead. A popular stopping point for visitors headed to Jarbidge Wilderness Area, the tiny town is a good spot to fuel up, or to head to the Trading Post to stock up on food, drinks and supplies for the long journey ahead. If you have time park the bike and explore the town’s historic buildings including the Jarbidge Jail. Locals in town are helpful tour guides and can answer questions. Despite its small population, Jarbidge is also a popular spot for anglers, and one of Nevada’s only places to snag Bull Trout.


Three Island Crossing State Park
Take a ride back in history with a short side trip to Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry. A quick detour is all it takes to explore the Oregon Trail, discovering original wagon ruts or taking in views of the spot where pioneers bravely crossed the Snake River. Take a guided tour of the History and Education Center, then stroll through the gift shop to pick up some souvenirs and travel brochures. The park also offers camping and cabins, facilities and picnic shelters, plus miles of outdoor adventures. It’s a small fee to enter the park or pay in advance with an Idaho State Parks Passport. The park address is 1083 S. Three Island Park Dr. Glenns Ferry, ID 83623.

GLENNS FERRY TO LOWMAN – 156 miles

From Glenns Ferry, the route crosses over a shoulder of Bennett Mountain, and then heads west on Hwy 20 to a turnoff signed “Anderson Dam Prairie”. After meandering along the shore of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, the route reaches the tiny town of Pine which features gas, a convenience store, and lodging opportunities, and is the only place to fill up until Lowman.

Just north of Pine the route begins a dramatic climb into the Boise National Forest and a much different Idaho begins to take shape. From there, the ride is scenic, but slightly grueling with relentlessly twisty gravel roads passing by jagged mountains and alpine lakes. The Trinity Lakes are a must stop with opportunities to rest or grab a campsite for the night. A road continues past the lakes to a gate below Trinity Mountain Lookout.

Twisty forest roads continue northward before descending to the South Fork Payette River valley and the town of Lowman with several options for food, gas, and lodging.

Hayhurst Bed & Breakfast, Pine, ID (Section 1)
Two Cabins, and a seven room Bed & Breakfast with separate Cottage. Owners: Gary and Denise Freeman.

  • Address: 810 S Twin Pine Dr, Pine, ID 83647
  • Phone: (208) 653-2135
  • Visit Website

Sourdough Lodge, Lowman, ID (Section 2)
Hotel, store, food, fuel.

  • Address: 8406 ID-21, Lowman, ID 83637
  • Phone: (208) 259-3326
  • Visit Website

Haven Hot Springs, Lowman, ID (Section 2)
Haven Hot Springs is a small resort with hotel rooms, a cafe, and gas pumps. More lodging options can be found down the canyon at Lowman

Sourdough Lodge, Lowman, ID (Section 2)
Sourdough is just off the main track but they have a comfortable hotel with a restaurant and gas station.


Haven Hot Springs, Lowman, ID (Section 2)
Haven Hot Springs is a small resort with hotel rooms, a cafe, and gas pumps. More lodging options can be found down the canyon at Lowman.

Haven Hot Springs, Lowman, ID (Section 2)
Haven Hot Springs is a small resort with hotel rooms, a cafe, and gas pumps. More lodging options can be found down the canyon at Lowman.


Sourdough Lodge, Lowman, ID (Section 2)
Sourdough is just off the main track but they have a comfortable hotel with a restaurant and gas station.

Glenns Ferry – Food, Gas, Lodging
As the first official BDR stop after crossing into southern Idaho, Glenns Ferry is a good place to take a break and relax in a full-service town. Originally founded as the site of an important ferry crossing during the times of the Oregon Trail, the old railroad town now offers up the chance to sit down and grab a bite to eat to eat, a cold drink, fuel up or purchase supplies. For those who have time to stop for the night, Glenns Ferry provides several options in lodging, plus the chance to so some fishing, boating or tubing on the Snake River. Nearby is Three Island Crossing State Park on the shore of the Snake River.


Anderson Ranch Reservoir Dam
The next Discovery Point on the Idaho BDR is right on the route. Ride over the Anderson Ranch Reservoir Dam when the route reaches Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Constructed around the mid-century as an earth rockfill dam, the dam was once the tallest dam of its kind in the world. These days it’s used for irrigation, power and flood control. While the water is usually quite low by the end of the summer, it’s still a good spot to stop and take in some views of the valley. Be sure to keep an eye out for a reservoir overlook on the road running south of the dam.


Anderson Ranch Reservoir Access
Take a ride down to Anderson Ranch Reservoir from one of the many different access points leading from the road on the north side. This is a good way to reach a few campgrounds on the shore of the lake too, including Little Wilson, Evans Creek, Fall Creek and Castle Creek. It’s also a popular spot for fishing, boating and waterskiing out on the water. The reservoir not only offers a cool spot to swim and relax, but it also has some limited facilities. If there’s extra time, take a break from the route by exploring one of the reservoir’s hiking trails.


Pine – Food, Gas, Lodging
Stay right on the route as it leads to the town of Pine at the north end of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. This tiny town isn’t large, but it’s big enough to give riders a chance to fuel up, grab a bite to eat or find some lodging for the night at the Pine Resort & Motel. Use this stop to stock up on necessities at Pine’s small store or grab a burger and a cold drink while meeting up with fellow riders, hikers, anglers and boaters at the town café. Pine also offers the convenience of a gas station, plus a small motel and nearby campground for getting in some rest for the night. Be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot if you plan to stay overnight.


Featherville – Food & Lodging
If you didn’t make the stop in Pine, the Town of Featherville offers another chance to take a break for food and lodging along the route. The former mining camp is now a common stop for Idaho BDR riders and outdoor enthusiasts coming and going from Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The town supplies a small hotel and a restaurant, so use this stop to grab a bite to eat or even to book a stay for the night. Once you’re well fed and rested, it’s time to gear up for another full day of exploring the backcountry roads of southern Idaho.


Trinity Lakes Campground
Surrounded by mountain peaks, Big Trinity Lake is a scenic spot for camping, fishing and outdoor recreation that’s right on the route. While nearly impossible to reach by car or motorcycle until the snow melts in mid-July, riders, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the lake for its scenery and its recreation. There are several campgrounds on the Trinity Lakes, but Big Trinity Lake alone boasts 17 campsites and plenty to do. A popular gathering spot for off-road enthusiasts, anglers, kayakers and more, Big Trinity Lake is also a favorite for spotting deer, elk and the occasional bear. Bring a little cash for camping, but no reservations are required. If the camp spots at Big Trinity Lake are taken, you’ll find a few more options at Big Roaring River Lake Campground (12 spots) and Little Roaring River Lake Campground (4 spots). Little Trinity Lake has no camp spots, but it does have a day-use picnic area.


Trinity Mountain Fire Lookout
The final stretch leading up to Trinity Mountain Fire Lookout is loose, rocky and exposed, but well worth it for those comfortable enough to make the entire trip to the top. Novice riders and others who are uncomfortable with exposure should park their bikes down at the gate and consider walking up to the summit. As the highest peak in the Boise Mountains with its own lookout tower, the steep north side delivers some impressive alpine views. Take a moment to snap some pictures or just take in the scenery. While the road’s not usually clear of snow until July, the lookout tower is still used during fire season. For most visitors, though, a trip to the top is simply a way to take in some big views while riding the Idaho BDR.


Sourdough Lodge – Food, Gas, Lodging
It’s a little off the main route, but Sourdough Lodge is a good place for food, gas and lodging while traveling the Idaho BDR. From the main track it’s all pavement up Highway 21 along the Payette River to check out Sourdough. Stay for the night or visit long enough to sit down and grab a bite to eat. Sourdough offers a comfortable motel, lodge and cabins for riders, but even those who don’t stay for the night can try out the restaurant for a hot meal or head to the store to stock up on basic supplies. There’s even a gas station to fuel up before heading back to the route and on to the next adventure of the IDBDR.


Haven Hot Springs – Food, Gas, Lodging
Simply stay on the main route to make the next stop at Haven Hot Springs. This small Idaho resort offers the option of motel rooms with private soaking pools or tent camping for a fee. It’s also a good spot to stop for a meal at the café, grab a cold drink or fuel up with ethanol-free gas. Perhaps the biggest draw of all, though, is the site’s natural hot spring pool. Relax away the long journey on either the pool’s hot or “cool” side. For more lodging options in the area, make the ride down the canyon to Lowman.

LOWMAN TO YELLOW PINE – 93 miles

Leaving Lowman, the scenery is spectacular and you’ll ride seemingly endless forest roads with abundant camping opportunities. The twisting descent to Deadwood Reservoir is a riot to ride and the lake is a desirable spot for camping as it has several campgrounds, sandy beaches and an opportunity to go swimming. Farther north, a side trip to Warm Lake offers more camping and rustic log cabins.

Almost any time of year you’ll be among friendly outdoorsy folks who use Yellow Pine as a jumping off point for exploring this remote area of Idaho. The small village of Yellow Pine is a true highlight of the trip. If you happen to be here the first week of August you’ll get to experience the Yellow Pine Harmonica Festival. The town has just about everything you need to stock up on food and provisions at the general store in the heart of town.

Yellow Pine Lodge, Yellow Pine, ID (Section 3)
Food/ Gas/ Store/ Rooms/ and lodge.  Proprietor: Steve Holloway.

  • Address: 360 Yellowpine Ave, Yellow Pine, ID 83677
  • Phone: (208) 697-7343
  • Visit Website

Warm Lake North Shore Lodge, Cascade, ID (Section 3)
A short side trip leads to North Shore Lodge where you’ll find a lakeside resort with cabins and a restaurant. The national forest provides a campground and a day-use sandy beach too.

The Corner, Yellow Pine, ID (Section 3)
Food and beer throughout the summer. Also have high octane fuel, supplies and wi-fi. Can be contacted for conditions. Proprietors: Matt, Heather and Skadi Huber.

  • Address: 390 Yellowpine Ave. Yellow Pine, ID 83677
  • Phone: (208) 633-3325
  • Visit Website

Warm Lake North Shore Lodge, Cascade, ID (Section 3)
A short side trip leads to North Shore Lodge where you’ll find a lakeside resort with cabins and a restaurant. The national forest provides a campground and a day-use sandy beach too.

The Corner, Yellow Pine, ID (Section 3)
Food and beer throughout the summer. Also have high octane fuel, supplies and wi-fi. Can be contacted for conditions. Proprietors: Matt, Heather and Skadi Huber.

  • Address: 390 Yellowpine Ave. Yellow Pine, ID 83677
  • Phone: (208) 633-3325
  • Visit Website

Warm Lake North Shore Lodge, Cascade, ID (Section 3)
A short side trip leads to North Shore Lodge where you’ll find a lakeside resort with cabins and a restaurant. The national forest provides a campground and a day-use sandy beach too.

Whitehawk Mountain Fire Lookout
One of the longer side trips on the Idaho BDR leads to a summit with a lookout tower and distant views. It’s a rough road to the summit, but the ride to Whitehawk Mountain Fire Lookout is worth it to take in sweeping views of Boise National Forest, the Sawtooth Range and Salmon River. It’s also a good spot to see what’s coming up next on the route, including the approaching Deadwood Reservoir and Deadwood Ridge. Built in the early 1930s, a trip up to the lookout takes a little extra time but pays off in terms of its views.


Deadwood Reservoir & Campground
Found high up in the mountains, Deadwood Reservoir isn’t as busy as some other recreational sites, but still offers a good spot to cool off and relax with other outdoor enthusiasts. Right on the main route, the mountain lake provides several shaded campgrounds for visitors to choose from with shoreline access and water views. It’s common to find other riders, anglers and boaters out enjoying the water, plus hikers and off-road vehicles having some fun off the beaten track. It’s also a good spot to stop for lunch or take a swim, especially during the warmer temperatures of late July and early August.


Warm Lake Resort & Campground
Make a slight side trip to the next stop on the route with a journey to Warm Lake where you’ll find a campground and two private lodges, Warm Lake Lodge and North Shore Lodge & Resort. Both resorts offer cabins for rent and have restaurants for inside dining. Warm Lake Lodge has a few camp spots in addition to the lodging. Boise National Forest operates Warm Lake Campground near the eastern shore of the lake too. Use this stop at Warm Lake to cool off at the sandy beach (Billy Rice Swim Beach) or to simply relax. The area is also a popular spot for off-road riding and hiking, with miles of trails said to appeal to all levels. Before heading out, be sure to stock up on supplies at the lodge’s small store. Call ahead for reservations if you know the evenings you plan to stay at the lake.

YELLOW PINE TO ELK CITY – 205 miles

You are now in the heart of Idaho’s backcountry along the edge of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The roads are much like what you experienced further south but there are a few incredibly interesting places that make this section of the BDR extremely unique.

After crossing Elk Summit at 8670’ and then crossing the South Fork Salmon River, the route passes through the old mining town of Warren that has been around since the mid 1800’s and has plenty of historic relics to remind you of how life was over 150 years ago. Keep an eye out for the abandoned school bus before you wind down the incredible switchbacks of French Creek Grade to the Salmon River.

After crossing the historic Manning Bridge, detour into Riggins for fuel, a meal, or lodging if needed. North of the Salmon River, look for the ghost town buildings and cemetery where Florence once flourished. Beyond there the riding is a mix of meandering dirt roads and pavement leading to the town of Elk CIty, the western portal to the Magruder Corridor.

Secesh Stage Stop, McCall, ID (Section 4)
Secesh Stage Stop is open Summer, Fall, & Winter. Offering a restaurant and bar, cabins for rent, gas, and ice.

  • Address: 24728 Warren Wagon Rd. McCall, ID 83638
  • Phone: (208) 636-4498
  • Visit Website

Burgdorf Hot Springs, McCall, ID (Section 4)
Cabins, hot springs, and small store. No gas available at this time. Lodging by prior reservation only. Book online ahead of time. Forest Service Camping 1/4 mile away.

  • Address: 404 French Creek (USFS #246), McCall, ID 83638
  • Phone: (208) 636-3036
  • Visit Website

Red River Hot Springs, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
Lodge rooms, cabins, camping, natural hot springs, food service.

  • Address: 3827 Red River Road, Elk City ID 83525
  • Phone: (208) 842-2587
  • Visit Website

The Baum Shelter, Warren, ID (Section 4)
The Baum Shelter (formerly know as the Winter Inn) has a restaurant, full bar, lodging and gas in the beautiful Idaho back country.

  • Address: 131 Bemos Gulch St, Warren, ID 83671
  • Phone: (208) 636-4393
  • Visit Website

Riders Rest, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
Privately fenced campground right next to the general store with a restaurant across the street. There are four campsites, each with water, power, sewer, a lean-to shelter, fire pit, and picnic table. Four and six-person tents are available for rent. There is also an office with two bathrooms with showers for campground use.

  • Address: 302 Main Street, Elk City, Idaho 83525
  • Phone: (208) 790-8107
  • Visit Website

South Fork Junction, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
South Fork Junction RV park, Café, and lounge. Located in scenic central Idaho offering modern RV hookups, lodging, and food.

  • Address: 7176 HWY 14 Elk City, ID 83525
  • Phone: (208) 842-2802
  • Visit Website

Elk City Hotel, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
Motel and gift shop.

  • Address: 289 Main Street, Elk City, Idaho 83525
  • Phone: (208) 842-2452
  • Visit Website

Secesh Stage Stop, McCall, ID (Section 4)
Secesh Stage Stop is open Summer, Fall, & Winter. Offering a restaurant and bar, cabins for rent, gas, and ice.

  • Address: 24728 Warren Wagon Rd. McCall, ID 83638
  • Phone: (208) 636-4498
  • Visit Website

South Fork Junction Lodge, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
Located on the South Fork of the Clearwater River, just seven miles from Elk City. Check out the newly renovated Restaurant, Lounge, and Lodging Accommodations. This year-round Restaurant is open from 8 am-8 pm, Wednesday-Sunday serving Idaho County’s best Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.


Red River Hot Springs, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
Lodge rooms, cabins, camping, natural hot springs, food service.

  • Address: 3827 Red River Road, Elk City ID 83525
  • Phone: (208) 842-2587
  • Visit Website

The Baum Shelter, Warren, ID (Section 4)
The Baum Shelter (formerly know as the Winter Inn) has a restaurant, full bar, lodging and gas in the beautiful Idaho back country.

  • Address: 131 Bemos Gulch St, Warren, ID 83671
  • Phone: (208) 636-4393
  • Visit Website

Riders Rest, Elk City, ID (Section 4)
Privately fenced campground right next to the general store with a restaurant across the street. There are four campsites, each with water, power, sewer, a lean-to shelter, fire pit, and picnic table. Four and six-person tents are available for rent. There is also an office with two bathrooms with showers for campground use.

  • Address: 302 Main Street, Elk City, Idaho 83525
  • Phone: (208) 790-8107
  • Visit Website

Secesh Stage Stop, McCall, ID (Section 4)
Secesh Stage Stop is open Summer, Fall, & Winter. Offering a restaurant and bar, cabins for rent, gas, and ice.

  • Address: 24728 Warren Wagon Rd. McCall, ID 83638
  • Phone: (208) 636-4498
  • Visit Website

Burgdorf Hot Springs, McCall, ID (Section 4)
Cabins, hot springs, and small store. No gas available at this time. Lodging by prior reservation only. Book online ahead of time. Forest Service Camping 1/4 mile away.

  • Address: 404 French Creek (USFS #246), McCall, ID 83638
  • Phone: (208) 636-3036
  • Visit Website

The Baum Shelter, Warren, ID (Section 4)
The Baum Shelter (formerly know as the Winter Inn) has a restaurant, full bar, lodging and gas in the beautiful Idaho back country.

  • Address: 131 Bemos Gulch St, Warren, ID 83671
  • Phone: (208) 636-4393
  • Visit Website

Yellow Pine – Food, Gas, Lodging
Be sure to fill up with fuel and grab a bite to eat as the Idaho BDR makes its way through Yellow Pine. This tiny community isn’t large or population, but it offers a good local restaurant, deep in the central Idaho mountains. Bordered by Boise National Forest to the south and Payette National Forest to the north, Yellow Pine also offers a rustic lodge to get some rest during the cool mountain nights. One of the busiest times of the year is late July, with free camping and fun at the annual Yellow Pine Music & Harmonica Festival.


Elk Summit Pass
Keep an eye out for some big views ahead as the Idaho BDR leads high across Elk Summit Pass, between Yellow Pine and Warren. Come prepared fully stocked up and ready for all kinds of weather on this part of the route, for the surrounding area is largely primitive. Take some time to enjoy the views and the crisp mountain air. While there may be other riders on the pass, it’s mostly a vast wilderness as far as the eye can see.


Pilot Peak Fire Lookout
Top off the next section of the ride through Idaho with massive views from a short side trip to Pilot Peak Fire Lookout. It’s a five-mile climb to the lookout tower on Pilot Peak and another five-mile ride back down, but definitely worth the extra time. Take a few moments at the top to snap some pictures and soak in the mountainous scenery of Payette National Forest. Pilot Peak is a popular, yet peaceful spot for off-roading in the summer, hiking, or just taking in some great views, all just a few miles off the main route of the Idaho BDR. The fire lookout is no longer in service but the structure is still there.


Old Cemetery
Follow the Idaho BDR as it winds along Elk Creek on the road to Warren. This next stop may not be one of the most scenic of the journey, but it is full of local history. Keep your eyes open for a small old cemetery just to the south of Elk Summit Road. While the historic cemetery isn’t largely marked off, there are some signs that help tell the stories of some of the people who are buried here. This peaceful stop is a good place to gain some history and take a quick break before continuing the ride on the BDR.


Warren Mining Town
It may be tiny and only home to a dozen or so full-time residents, but don’t call Warren a ghost town. The remote gold mining town still offers up picturesque old buildings and colorful residents too. As one of Idaho’s oldest mining camps, Warren is full of history and makes an interesting stop, even if it just means walking around town for a bit. If there is time and it’s open, make plans to head to Baum Shelter. It’s the town’s only restaurant, and a good place for riders to grab a cold drink or a bite to eat before heading back on the route.


Secesh Stage Stop


Burgdorf Hot Springs – Lodging & Camping
Don’t ride by Burgdorf without stopping to enjoy its hot springs. If they have space, we highly recommend staying overnight at Burgdorf Hot Springs, a unique year-round resort that’s popular with adventure motorcyclists in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter. Book a charming cabin, walk the historic grounds, then grab a bite to eat in the resort’s restaurant. Of course, most folks enjoy Burgdorf for its natural hot springs. Relax away the time in the resort’s pool while taking in the surrounding scenery. As a bonus for history buffs, the small community of Burgdorf sits on the National Register of Historic Places. Before heading out, be sure to fuel up for the next adventure on the Idaho BDR.


The Old Bus
Keep an eye out for the Old Bus as the route heads north from Burgdorf. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that is true enough with this aging roadside attraction. It’s said the old school bus has been rusting away in the same spot above French Grade for years, and many riders have made their way past this bus. While there’s not much else to see in this stop, it’s worth it to pull off for a quick a photo. If nothing else, it’s another unique memento to bring back home of time spent traveling Idaho’s BDR.


French Creek Grade
Continuing on the route past the Old Bus, prepare for five tight switchbacks easing the grade of French Creek Road as it makes its descent through a remote, yet scenic stretch of the Idaho BDR. Keep your eyes on the road as this is a steep hillside and the view is quite distracting. You’ll probably want to stop at least once to take photos of the mountains and the Salmon River valley below. New adventures await as riders continue northbound on the IDBDR. Along the way gain a small taste of what’s to come next on the rest of this backcountry journey through central Idaho, en route to the Canadian border.


Manning Bridge
Enjoy the scenery as the route continues over the Salmon River. The new Manning Bridge went up in recent years as a safer solution to the old 1934 suspension bridge that spanned the river for generations. Keep an eye out for river rafters below and views of the surrounding terrain as the bridge links up the route to the other side. Although it’s made to look rustic, the bridge is new and an architectural marvel. The single-tower, asymmetrical suspension bridge is one of the only bridges of its kind in the world, and likely the first in North America.


Spring Bar Campground


Riggins – Food, Gas, Lodging
It may be one of the longest side trips on the BDR, but a detour to Riggins is a good chance to load up on supplies in this part of Idaho. Running right alongside the Salmon River, the deep canyon town is the final stop in the Mountain time zone. A bit larger than some other stops along the route, Riggins is a good place to sit down for a meal, fuel up, or stay for the night in one of the local inns, motels or campgrounds. It’s also a popular home base for fishing, river rafting (it’s known as “The whitewater capital of Idaho”), and other big outdoor adventures.


Florence Ghost Town
Tucked away in the remote landscape northwest of Riggins, the route leads next to Florence Ghost Town, a town with a significant and colorful history. Virtually hidden in the mountains north of the Salmon River, riders should explore around in search of several old log buildings on various roads branching off the main route. A thriving gold mining camp in 1861 became the city of Florence by 1862 with 9000 residents. Although the town became the first county seat of Idaho County, it didn’t last long and eventually faded away and went to ruin. Another town, New Florence, sprang up nearby when the old Florence area became a quartz mine and placer gold mining wiped the old site off the map.  While there’s not much left of the town today, it’s still a good stop to soak in some local history. Once a haven for gold seekers and outlaws, Florence Ghost Town now marks an interesting turnoff for riders headed up the Idaho BDR.


Florence Cemetery
Just up ahead on the Idaho BDR, take a short break to park and step back in time with a trip through the Wild West at the Florence Cemetery. It’s an interesting place to walk around, read the signs and discover old tombstones. A stroll through this old cemetery retells history, as it marks the final resting spots of some of the ghost town’s most notorious outlaws, miners and fortune seekers of years past. After all, this illustrious Old West town was once nearly as well-known for its wild gunfights and brawls as it was for its riches.

ELK CITY TO LOLO, MT – 178 miles

This is the Idaho you’ve always dreamed about: moose, wolves, elk and dramatic vistas. The Magruder Corridor itself runs from the Red River Ranger Station east of Elk City to Darby, Montana and follows a strip of land between the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and Frank Church Wilderness. Little has changed on the Magruder Corridor Road (NF-468) since it was built in the 1930s. The road surface itself is not particularly challenging in dry conditions, however, there are no services for about 120 miles and very few people around for help. Expect the ride to take five to six hours without stopping, but we recommend taking your time to enjoy the scenery and viewpoints along the way. The challenging side trip to Burnt Knob (8196’) is short but sweet and highly recommended. There are numerous primitive national forest campgrounds provided along this road. The corridor is typically open from July through September. After reaching civilization in Darby, there is roughly 50 miles of pavement to Lolo and plenty of fuel and lodging options along the way.

Elk City – Food & Gas
Be sure to make the next stop for fuel and food in Elk City. It’s the last place to stop for supplies before hitting the long and remote Magruder Corridor. While the former mining town mostly attracts tourists today, it does offer a couple of places to eat, shop and even get some rest for the night. That’s important because Elk City sits on the western end of Magruder, a grueling, 100+ mile stretch with no bailout points and no services along the way. This rugged single-lane road cuts between Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to the north and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to the south.


Burnt Knob Fire Lookout
A short, yet rugged side road climbs up to a lookout tower near the middle of the Magruder Corridor. The Burnt Knob Fire Lookout is only about a 1.5-mile ride each way but it’s not for everyone. BDR considers this road an expert only section, but if you are up for the challenge it comes with amazing views of the surrounding area if you reach the summit. This is also a good opportunity to stop for a while and grab a drink or make use of the site’s primitive facility during this long and rough stretch of the BDR. The side road that leads to the lookout is rocky and unmaintained, but usually accessible enough for riders traveling the Idaho BDR.


Magruder Massacre Site
The next stop on the Idaho BDR is perhaps one of the most gruesome stories told in Idaho history. Magruder Massacre Site marks the memory of a notorious robbery and murder during the days of the gold rush. Take the small turnoff to read more about the Magruder Massacre on a sign sitting alongside the route. It describes the nearby place where a man named Lloyd Magruder and his crew likely met their fate in this remote countryside in 1863. Eventually, those responsible for the crimes were returned to area, tried and punished as part of the State of Idaho’s first legal executions. Magruder was a respected and popular man in the region. Prior to his murder, Lloyd had agreed to represent the Idaho Territory in the US congress and this historic mountain crossing and forest road bears his name.


Conner MT – Food & Lodging
For limited food, gas and lodging, follow the route across the Idaho border to neighboring Conner, Montana. The small town is the closest place to stop for fuel on the eastern end of the Magruder Corridor. Deep in the valley, Conner is also a natural launching point for outdoor recreation, including exploring Bitterroot National Forest, Trapper Peak and the Bitterroot River. It’s also close enough to visit Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Painted Rocks State Park and some local hot springs. For even more options in food, lodging and gas stations, make the short drive to the slightly larger Montana town of Darby.

LOLO, MT TO PIERCE – 150 miles

Say goodbye to Montana before you turn onto the famous Lolo Pass Highway and head back towards Idaho. The main route branches off the highway to follow dirt roads and bypasses the actual pass on the Montana-Idaho border. If you want to ride some wonderful scenic pavement, just continue on Highway 12 and it will get you to the same place. Either way, you’ll want to stop at Lochsa Lodge. It has a great restaurant, a general store with fuel, a campground, and cabins for rent to regroup before tackling the infamous Lolo Motorway.

The Lolo Motorway (road NF-500) follows the path used by the Nez Perce Indians to reach buffalo hunting grounds on the Great Plains. It was also used by Lewis and Clark during their quest to find an inland waterway to the west in 1805. The forest road you’ll be riding is not particularly challenging but is very remote with limited bailouts. Take your time to stop and explore the historically significant spots along the way. This section ends in the town of Pierce which has gas, a grocery store and lodging options.

Lolo Hot Springs, Lolo, MT (Section 6)
Stop by our full bar and restaurant at Lolo Hot Springs. For those who want to enjoy the casino, stop in and try your luck!


Lochsa Lodge, Lolo, MT (Section 6)
Lochsa Lodge has gas, a store, a restaurant, cabins, a hotel, and a campground. You’ll need to fuel up here before or after tackling the Lolo Motorway.


The Timber Inn and Bar & Grill, Pierce, ID (Section 6)
Rider Scott Thompson reviewed on July 18, 2016: “Not enough is said about the Timber Inn. This small town bar inn was amazing.  The owner was more than willing to help us with whatever we needed. We had a large group so we filled his small inn for the first time. He did not even have a no vacancy sign to post. He allowed tents in the back yard for $5. We were there on taco Tuesday. The large tacos were like your mother made at home. All the food and hospitality was outstanding. While talking to the owner he explained that his business is really struggling so he really appreciated the business. Can you pls repost this on the website to encourage other riders to take advantage of this great small business.”

  • Address: 2 S Main St, Pierce, ID 83546
  • Phone: (208) 464-2736
  • Visit Website

Patriots Place, Pierce, ID (Section 6)
Patriots Place has two cabins and two more cabins under development. Located on the edge of town within walking distance of stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and more. An outdoorsman’s paradise for hunting and fishing. Over 300 miles of groomed trails for snowmobiles, ORVs, and side-by-sides. Deyo Reservoir is nearby for water play and fishing with the Clearwater River within 30 mi. Bald Mn. Ski resort just up the road. Room to park RVs etc. 2 BR one with King and one with Queen bed. Hide a bed sofa with a memory foam mattress in the living area. Small but full kitchen and 1 bath. Enjoy the many activities and come back and put your feet up at the end of the day.

  • Address: 509 S. Main St. P.O. Box 326, Pierce ID 83546
  • Phone: (509) 969-5321
  • Visit Website

The Outback, Pierce, ID (Section 6)
Individual cabins with kitchens, log lodge with a private hot tub, suites that sleep 6 or more with kitchens. Owners: Harv and Colleen Nelson

  • Address: 211 S. Main St., Pierce, Idaho 83546
  • Phone: (208) 464-2171
  • Visit Website

The Timber Inn and Bar & Grill, Pierce, ID (Section 6)
Food, lodging.

  • Address: 2 S Main St, Pierce, ID 83546
  • Phone: (208) 464-2736
  • Visit Website

Lolo Hot Springs, Lolo, MT (Section 6)
Stop by our full bar and restaurant at Lolo Hot Springs. For those who want to enjoy the casino, stop in and try your luck!


Lochsa Lodge, Lolo, MT (Section 6)
Lochsa Lodge has gas, a store, a restaurant, cabins, a hotel, and a campground. You’ll need to fuel up here before or after tackling the Lolo Motorway.


The Timber Inn and Bar & Grill, Pierce, ID (Section 6)
Rider Scott Thompson reviewed on July 18, 2016: “Not enough is said about the Timber Inn. This small town bar inn was amazing.  The owner was more than willing to help us with whatever we needed. We had a large group so we filled his small inn for the first time. He did not even have a no vacancy sign to post. He allowed tents in the back yard for $5. We were there on taco Tuesday. The large tacos were like your mother made at home. All the food and hospitality was outstanding. While talking to the owner he explained that his business is really struggling so he really appreciated the business. Can you pls repost this on the website to encourage other riders to take advantage of this great small business.”

  • Address: 2 S Main St, Pierce, ID 83546
  • Phone: (208) 464-2736
  • Visit Website

Lochsa Lodge, Lolo, MT (Section 6)
Lochsa Lodge has gas, a store, a restaurant, cabins, a hotel, and a campground. You’ll need to fuel up here before or after tackling the Lolo Motorway.

Lolo, MT – Food, Gas, Lodging
Even more options in food, gas and lodging await riders just ahead as the route leads next to Lolo, Montana. Found south of Missoula, Lolo is also home to the historic Travelers’ Rest State Park. Follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark as visitors explore their old campsite and watch history come alive with Native American storytellers. Make time, too, to stay for a drink or a meal in the rustic taproom of Lolo Peak Brewing Company. The town’s also a good spot to stay for the night or fuel up for the next journey on the Idaho BDR. West of Lolo riders get a twisty paved highway that leads up to Lolo Pass and eventually down to the start of the Lolo Motorway.


Lolo Hot Springs
Lolo Hot Springs Lodge offers cabins, camping and more, so keep an eye out for the resort on the Montana side of the Lolo Highway. This is a good spot to go for a drink, a meal or to try your luck at the casino. True to its name, Lolo Hot Springs is also a relaxing place to take a dip in one of its indoor or outdoor hot springs and pools. Whether staying for the night or just for a few hours, the resort is used to accommodating motorcyclists and even snowmobilers in the winter months.


Lolo Pass
Mark the journey back across the border into Idaho with a stop at Lolo Pass. Right on the Idaho/Montana border crossing, this is a good spot to soak up some local history at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. Take time to learn about the travels of Lewis and Clark through the region and about the Nez Perce National Historic Trail. The information center also offers visitors the convenience of 24-hour restrooms and a large parking lot. It’s a secure place for local travelers and Idaho BDR riders to stop and rest for a bit before continuing on with the route.


Lochsa Lodge – Food, Gas, Lodging
Right on the Lochsa River, stay for the night in one of the lodge rooms and cabins of Lochsa Lodge or at a nearby campground. It’s also a good spot to grab a meal inside the lodge’s restaurant or on its back deck. Use the stay to explore the Historic Lewis and Clark Trail or book a trail ride right from the lodge. The property is also a good starting point for fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation in the region. Be sure to make a stop in the lodge’s General Store, then fuel up before tackling the nearby Lolo Motorway.


Indian Post Office
It’s hardly a traditional post office, but Indian Post Office sure delivers an unusual tale. The remote ridgetop marker was the place where travelers once left messages for each other generations ago. According to legend, Native Americans piled up stones in different ways to pass on information. The site can be traced back to the time the Lolo Motorway of today was used by the Nez Perce Native Americans. The “post office” is likely also the spot where Lewis and Clark once lost their way. Make a quick stop to enjoy the scenery and look around for any “hidden messages” of today.


Hemlock Butte Lookout Tower
For distant views overlooking Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, take the quarter-mile long turnoff from Lolo Motorway to Hemlock Butte Lookout Tower. The current mountain lookout was built in the mid-century and is still actively used during the summer months for wildfire prevention. The lookout is only open to visitors during certain times and days, so plan ahead for the ride up to the tower. Along with the views it’s also a good opportunity to visit one of the designated lookouts on the National Historic Registry. From here, it’s time to head back to the route for the journey to Pierce.

PIERCE TO WALLACE – 127 miles

After leaving Pierce you’ll be entering the Idaho Panhandle and are in for a real treat. The towns in section 7 are some of the quaintest in the state, so take the time to wander around. Along the way you’ll pass by the Blue Heaven Cabin. This rustic shelter is privately owned so take a photo to remember this special place and be on your way.

Forest roads climb and descend a few times before reaching the town of Avery. There you’ll have a store with food and fuel and a unique train car with information on the history of the area.

Just north of Avery there are two route options. One goes through former railroad tunnels on a wide dirt road and the other is an easy narrow double-track along the eastern shore of the North Fork St Joe River. Both options are worthy of your time and you can do both by looping back as each one is only about five miles long. After crossing over Moon Pass, this road descends to the historic town of Wallace.

Avery Store & Motel, Avery, ID (Section 7)
The motel is rich in history, originally built in the early 1900’s as housing for the Milwaukee Railroad crews. With recent updates, you will experience the history while appreciating the modern conveniences. You’ll find our rooms comfortable, clean and modest. With fresh linens, cozy beds, and big screen TVs, whether getting in a nap between adventures or catching up on your favorite movie, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Address: 95 Milwaukee Rd, Avery, ID 83802
  • Phone: (208) 245-4410
  • Visit Website

Wallace Hotels & Shops, Wallace, ID (Section 7)
Downtown Wallace, ID is worth visiting for lodging, dining, shopping, etc.


Stardust Motel, Wallace, ID (Section 7)
The Stardust Motel, a pet friendly, vintage motor lodge is located in the center of Historic Wallace. Just steps away from shops, restaurants, bars and located 15 minutes from two independent ski resorts, downhill mountain bike parks & home of the world’s largest trail system for snowmobiles, mountain biking, hiking, and ATVs (Silver Country 1000 Mile Trail System.) They also offer a bike washing station conveniently near motorcycle parking. Book with code BDR15 for 15% off your stay!

  • Address: 410 Pine Street, Wallace, ID 83873
  • Phone: (208) 752-1213
  • Visit Website

Wallace Hotels & Shops, Wallace, ID (Section 7)
Downtown Wallace, ID is worth visiting for lodging, dining, shopping, etc.

Wallace Hotels & Shops, Wallace, ID (Section 7)
Downtown Wallace, ID is worth visiting for lodging, dining, shopping, gas, etc.

Pierce – Food, Gas, Lodging
For food, gas and lodging, the quiet town of Pierce has a grocery store and all the other services needed to push on with the journey up the Idaho BDR. As the closest gas stop on the west end of the Lolo Motorway, the small town is an important place to fuel up during the extended ride. Take a break in Pierce to grab a bite to eat or stay for the night at the rustic Timber Inn. The stop’s also the place to visit a logging museum, or ride by the landmark Pierce Courthouse, which happens to be the state’s oldest building.


Grandad Bridge at Dwarshak Reservoir
Follow the route across Grandad Bridge as the IDBDR leads next over Dworshak Reservoir. The ride across the old deck truss bridge is a good way to see views of the water and surrounding terrain. It may also be the place riders pass by other outdoor enthusiasts, as boating, swimming and fishing are all big on and around the reservoir. The area additionally offers campsites, trails and more for riders and others traveling through the region. While not everyone pulls off the road to make a stop, it’s easy to take in views as the IDBDR leads on to Avery.


Avery Train Car
Train enthusiasts and history buffs will want to make a stop at Avery Train Car. Step back into the early days of Idaho, as the old rail car is filled with historic railroad memorabilia and photographs. The Avery Museum complex is a fun way to get a closer look at the train car and to stroll through its depot museum. Free to visit, the depot sits on the National Register of Historic Places and a stocked fishpond outside dates back to the early days of the railroad. Follow the Old Milwaukee Railroad Grade, as the IDBDR leads north of Avery.


Avery – Food, Gas, Lodging
Nestled right alongside the St Joe River, Avery marks a good spot to make a stop for food, lodging, gas and supplies in the Idaho Panhandle. The tiny community may be small in size and in population, but it’s a popular place to meet up with anglers, hikers, fellow riders and other outdoor enthusiasts in rugged and remote Northern Idaho. Be sure to head to Scheffy’s in Avery for premium non-ethanol fuel, a small store, and a motel to get some rest for the night.  Other rental cabins on the river and even a bed and breakfast in an old schoolhouse building are available in town if you plan to overnight in Avery before getting back on the Idaho BDR and making the ride north on Moon Pass Road.


St Joe River Tunnels
As the Idaho BDR leads north of Avery, riders have their choice between two parallel routes. The first option follows along the eastern bank of the North Fork St. Joe River along a narrow double track trail. The other option for the BDR follows along a wide gravel road known as the Old Milwaukee Railroad Grade and also Moon Pass Road (National Forest Road 456). This second option passes through several tunnels along the way. This backcountry adventure is a good way to take in the scenery, with river and mountain views, along with the occasional wildlife spotting. From here, stay on the route as the BDR leads up and over Moon Pass on to the next stop in Northern Idaho with the historic silver mining town of Wallace.

WALLACE TO CLARK FORK – 106 miles

Section 8 begins in the Silver Capital of the world: Wallace, Idaho. Every building in downtown Wallace is on the National Register of Historic Places which is why Interstate 90 had to be built above the town instead of going through it.

The ride north from here winds along mellow forest roads, with a stunning canopy of pine trees and ample opportunities for camping. After crossing the Coeur D’Alene River the route rises back up to high ridges. Take a spin up to the Grizzly Mountain summit at almost 6000’ for a magnificent viewpoint. The route also passes right by the crest of Grassy Mountain but it’s about 1000 feet shorter. After many more miles of twisty forest riding the route descends to the charming town of Clark Fork which has gas, and more importantly, a famous bakery known as the Clark Fork Pantry.

HEADS UP! This is Grizzly Bear country so camp accordingly.

Clark Fork Lodge, Clark Fork, ID (Section 8)
Family-owned and operated Lodge.

  • Address: 121 Antelope Loop Rd. Clark Fork, Idaho 83811
  • Phone: (208) 266-1716

The Last Resort Vacation Cabin, Clark Fork, ID (Section 8)
Waterfront cabin, free wifi (but no cell service), just off Highway 200.  Owner – Cathy Bixler

  • Address: 58 East River Drive, Clark Fork, 83811
  • Phone: (208) 266-0525
  • Visit Website

Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill, Bonners Ferry, ID (Section 8)
We all need a place to relax after work, so why not do it with a drink in your hand? Join us for Happy Hour Monday- Thursday 4-6! Rotating Taps, Unique Specials Daily. At Mugsy’s we know that there is a crowd that loves the all time favorites such as Coors Light. On top of domestics, we also feature rotating taps of popular beers of the North West.

Wallace – Food, Gas, Lodging
The historic town of Wallace offers up a fun place to fuel up, grab a bite to eat or stay for the night in Northern Idaho. This former silver mining town is packed with things to do. Like a scene out of the Wild West, the entire town sits on the National Historic Register. Make time to stroll around downtown and stop in the local saloon or pick up some souvenirs. If there’s extra time, take a walk back in history at Wallace District Mining Museum or Northern Pacific Railroad Museum. Visitors to Wallace can even go underground in an actual mine. Before heading out, be sure to stop in at one of the town’s restaurants and fuel up for the next journey on the BDR.


Coeur D’Alene River Cliff Jumping
Assuming riders are hot and dusty by this part of the journey, the next stop on the route is literally the chance to jump right into the next adventure. As long as heights aren’t a problem, Coeur D’Alene River cliff jumping is something riders won’t want to miss while traveling the Idaho BDR. It’s a fun way to cool off in the summer heat, and it’s likely others will have the same idea. Cliff jumping isn’t just popular with riders and travelers, but also with locals. It probably wouldn’t hurt to ask for the best jumping spot and the best technique for making the biggest splash.


Grizzly Mountain Summit
A short side trip from the main route is all it takes to deliver riders up to the summit of Grizzly Mountain. It’s about 2.5-miles up Grizzly Ridge via National Forest Roads 260 and 2347 to reach the top, and another 2.5-miles to make it down again. At the top, riders are treated to 360-degree views of Coeur D’ Alene National Forest and the surrounding mountainous terrain. With the highest summit in the Coeur D’Alene Mountains at 5971 feet, it’s only possible to travel all the way to Grizzly Mountain Summit with a capable vehicle or by hiking. At the end of the journey, head back down to the route and the next stop on the IDBDR.


Grassy Mountain Summit
While not as high as the last stop on Grizzly Mountain, the next stop on the route is certainly easier to access. Adjacent to the route, the short ride to Grassy Mountain Summit delivers similar 360-degree views of the surrounding mountainous terrain. Take in more views of the Coeur D’Alene Mountains and the National Forest from high atop the summit. It’s a good spot to snap some photos or take a quick rest before getting back on the route and continuing to the next adventure on the Idaho BDR, heading north through the panhandle en route to the border.


Spyglass Peak Lookout
A quick half-mile side trip takes riders up to the top of Spyglass Peak. The long-abandoned Spyglass Peak Lookout originally dates back to the 1920s and held a spot on the National Historic Register. In more recent years, volunteers took over plans to refurbish the old lookout tower and save it from destruction. The building atop the tower was removed, but the tower itself was saved. The “groundhouse” building adjacent to the tower was completely renovated and can now be rented as an overnight stay through Recreation.gov. Renters get a key to the gate and can ride or drive right up to the summit. If the gate on the road is locked when you arrive and you don’t have keys, the only way to the summit is to park and hit the road by foot. Those who do make it to the top are treated to some impressive views.

CLARK FORK TO CANADA – 102 miles

There are only a handful of dirt road options in this narrow strip of land between Washington and Idaho so expect a bit of pavement which may be welcome at this point in your journey.

Just out of Clark Fork you’ll head up Lightning Creek Road into Kaniksu National Forest. Be sure to stop at Char Falls which are just a few paces from the parking area and well worth the photo opportunity. Lunch Peak Fire Lookout is also on the way and highly recommended. The route then descends to the shore of Lake Pend Oreille and bypasses the city of Sand Point. If you haven’t visited this lakeside resort city before, consider a detour to check it out.

Soon you’ll alternate between dirt and pavement on your ride north along the banks of the Kootenai River and past the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. It’s not long until you reach the north end of the Idaho BDR at the small town of Porthill, Idaho near the Canadian Border crossing.

North Haven Campground, Bonners Ferry, ID (Section 8)
A family-owned and operated campground in Bonners Ferry. They offer 5 luxury log cabins, 2 “glamping” wagons with private bathrooms, tent campsites, a 24/7 Bathhouse with private showers and bathrooms, and a camp store, all in a peaceful wooded setting. Only 30 minutes from the Canadian border and conveniently right off Highway 95 and Highway 2.

  • Address: 78 Tobe Way, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
  • Phone: (208) 603-9212
  • Visit Website

Clark Fork – Food, Gas, Lodging
For those running low on fuel, food and supplies, Clark Fork is the perfect place to stock up for the last section of the route. The town may be small in size, but it’s big in terms of adventures. It’s located where the 310 mile long Clark Fork River empties into Lake Pend Oreille not far from Sandpoint, Idaho. This is a good place to meet up with other riders and outdoor adventurists making their way through Northern Idaho. Close to the Montana border and approaching the Canadian border, Clark Fork is also a good place for fishing, hunting or a starting point for exploring the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness Area. Take a little time to visit the town’s restaurants and the delicious Clark Fork Pantry bakery. The town also offers lodging and fuel to finish the route.


Char Falls
Take a refreshing and peaceful break from the route with the next stop at Char Falls. To reach the waterfall, park in the nearby parking lot and follow the sounds of rushing water to Lightning Creek. It’s an easy walk out to the falls, and well worth it to take in the setting. This special spot is part of Idaho Panhandle National Forests, and other than the sounds of nearby wildlife, remote enough not to be crowded. The stunning 50-foot waterfall is a good place to rest and take a break, or to take some photos of Northern Idaho’s unspoiled, natural scenery. Visitors can hike around all over the rocks near the falls, but be careful as going over the waterfall wouldn’t end well.


Lunch Peak Lookout Tower
A short side trip delivers panoramic views of the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk Mountains. Those views alone are well worth riding an extra four miles each way to reach Lunch Peak Lookout Tower. It’s also a good way to access Pend Oreille Divide Trail, found just below the lookout and a good way to see some local mountain lakes. While the lookout itself is completely rustic and remote, it can be reserved in advance for overnight stays. Most riders, however, simply use the stop to take in some sweeping views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.


Roman Nose Lakes
Take an alternate route of the IDBDR east of Bonner’s Ferry to reach Roman Nose Lakes. Made up of three mountain lakes, it’s easy to park in the lot near the main lake, then climb up to the two upper lakes. The location offers up a way to cool off, do some hiking or even camp for the night. While the water may be too cold for swimming, this popular area is a prime spot for fishing and offers up some fantastic views of Selkirk Crest. For those who do choose to camp, make sure to set up only in a designated area near the main lake.


Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
Enjoy one of the final experiences on the Idaho BDR as the north end of the route follows the west side of the Kootenai River (sometimes spelled Kootenay River) and delivers riders to Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. While there are many places to see birds along the river, Auto Tour Road loop beginning at the visitor center makes it easy to look out over the wetlands. The summer season often means spotting bald eagles, geese and ducks, but the refuge is home to hundreds of different species of wildlife throughout the year. It’s free to visit, and riders can also choose to park and go one of the site’s four hiking trails.


Porthill – Food & Gas
The journey is now complete, as Porthill is the official northern end of the Idaho BDR. The extreme northern Idaho community sits just on the US side of the Canadian Border. It’s a good place to finally celebrate the end of the long journey up through Idaho. Use the experience to take some photos marking the end of the adventure, fuel up at the local gas station or stock up at the store. Now that the journey’s complete it’s also a good opportunity to explore the Kootenai River, which runs right behind Porthill. For those riders who want to continue into Canada, the Porthill-Rykerts Border Crossing is right in Porthill.

IDBDR PACKING LIST

This packing list serves as an example and is not intended to be a complete list for your backcountry riding needs. Feel free to customize this list to work for you.

  • Helmet
  • Boots
  • Goggles
  • Gloves (2 sets)
  • Protective gear (pressure suit, Leatt brace, knee braces)
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Balaclava or neck gaitor
  • Water bladder or bottle
  • Hydration pack
  • Ear plugs

IDBDR MOTORCYCLE DEALERSHIPS

Yellowstone Harley-Davidson

Belgrade, MT

WEBSITE

Family-run Yellowstone Harley-Davidson is Montana's premier dealership for all things motorcycle. Nationally recognized for motor and customizing work, YHD is your go-to dealership for exceptional service work and customer service. Their employees are determined and dedicated to getting you back on the road and your adventures. The crew at YHD not only sells and works on incredible bikes, but they are adventure riders themselves. The shop is constantly abuzz with conversation about what route to ride next and who is up for the challenge. They are here to help make your adventure dreams a reality

ADVENTURE MOTORSPORTS

Twin Falls, ID

WEBSITE

Adventure Motorsports, where the variety of powersport products is second to none. In all of Twin Falls, Idaho, there isn’t a friendlier or more knowledgeable staff . They’re happy to help you find either the perfect recreational vehicle or the parts you’ve been looking for.

Check out their catalogs to see what they have. If you need help in making your selection, call or stop in—they’re always ready to help! Locally-owned and operated and conveniently located in Twin Falls, Idaho. Adventure Motorsports can provide you with the latest and best in powersport products to make your outdoor living more enjoyable. From the most recent in ATV technology to the hottest new snowmobiles, they can help you find the recreational vehicle that’s made for you. Combine this wide array of selections with their friendly and knowledgeable staff, and we’re convinced Adventure Motorsports will become your only stop for all of your powersports needs.

CARL’S CYCLE SALES

Boise, ID

WEBSITE

Carl’s Cycles Sales is Idaho’s largest powersports dealership, family owned and operated since 1966. They are the premier Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Polaris and Suzuki powersports dealership in the Northwest.

Carl’s Cycle Sales is comprised of industry-leading professional staff, specialized in conducting the research, development and performance tuning of the products they sell. Their staff is nationally recognized as being the go-to performance specialists, with a supporting reputation as the shop for Polaris engine and suspension work. At Carl’s, they don’t just sell snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs. They ride and test the limits of the powersports vehicles they sell, and are here to help you enjoy your powersports experience as much as they do.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route.

The IDBDR is the fifth route developed by the Backcountry Discovery Routes organization for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel.  The IDBDR is a south-to-north route across the state of Idaho covering over 1,250 miles of mostly non-paved track.  The route begins in the old western town of Jarbidge Nevada and meanders through the west side of the Idaho Rocky Mountains on the way to the Canadian Border at the Idaho Panhandle. Two stunning and historic backroads are part of the IDBDR – the Magruder Corridor and the Lolo Motorway.  Several small mountain towns in Idaho are visited along the way including Yellow Pine, Burgdorf Hot Springs, Elk City, Avery, Wallace, and Clark Fork.

The IDBDR is best from July- thru October if no early snow storms have occurred.  The route can be done in June, but snowpack in the high mountains may keep you from doing the entire route as mapped. There have been some years where the snow has not cleared from the high country until the last week of July.  Hunting season does start in October, so heads up for traffic.

The IDBDR route is designed to be ridden on adventure and dual-sport motorcycles. There are no single-track style trails on this route. Many of the roads are in remote areas and reach high elevation areas where road maintenance is minimal or non-existent. While, the ID route is considered to be an easier route compared to Utah or Arizona, you can expect to cover sections of road with deep ruts, loose rocks, sand and other challenges.  Road conditions change from week to week based on the recent weather.  When you see signs that read, “Roads may be impassable when wet”, use caution, roads become very slick and can be impassable. You may also encounter sections that have trees or branches over the road.. Depending on time of year and weather, there may be a few small deep water crossings. Flash floods are frequent during summer storms.  Don’t cross flooded washes. Wait until water subsides.

Idaho has fast moving thunder storms during the summer months.  These storms usually build in the mountains in the early afternoon and usually contain lightning, hail stones and heavy downpours.

Most people average 150 miles a day on a backcountry motorcycle trip. Plan on doing this route in 8 -10 days depending on how fast you want to travel and how early you want to roll out of camp. There is a lot of history to see on the IDBDR so planning a little extra time to the 8-10 days is suggested.

The IDBDR has fewer hotel opportunities than other Backcountry Discovery Routes. Camping on the other hand, is plentiful. Official campgrounds are shown on the front of this map with a small tent icon and many more primitive backcountry camps can be found along the way. Because of the limited beds available in the small towns along the IDBDR, it is recommended that riders make reservations ahead of their arrival. Rooms can be found in Jarbidge, Featherville, Glenns Ferry, Yellow Pine, Burgdorf, Avery, Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry, Riggins, Elk City, Darby, Lolo, Pierce, Wallace & Clark Fork.  You can also visit the Idaho Tourism website for lodging resources.

There are many campgrounds and suitable dry camping locations along the route. The Butler Motorcycle Map for the IDBDR has a tent icon showing campgrounds on the route and many near the route. The IDBDR Butler Map is available at www.touratech-usa.com,  www.butlermaps.com and other fine retailers.

The longest gap between gas stations is approximately 131 miles from Burgdorf Hot Springs to Elk City.  Burgdorf normally has gas.  Gas is also available in Riggins if Burgdorf is out.  Always plan to carry extra gas and they only carry low octane gas.

In most cases camp fires are allowed, but check with local Ranger Stations to determine if campfires are allowed before you build one. Forest fires are a threat during parts of the year and the rules that manage this risk must be followed. Be sure to fully extinguish fires so they are DEAD-OUT. Use water to ensure a fire is fully extinguished and the ground is left cool and wet.

There are a few natural water sources along this route however, depending on the snow pack, some may not running. You can find potable water in the towns along the way.  It is suggested that plenty of water is carried for personal and cooking use. Here is a video on water filtration filmed in the Oregon Backcountry: http://youtu.be/vqOFZAoZdTU

Always bring a complete set of maps for the area you plan to ride. They have good information about roads, water sources, and are an indispensable resource when the GPS doesn’t work, or is giving questionable advice. Unplanned events can occur and having paper/synthetic maps of the area can be a life saver. National Forest maps are available at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml#U and local Ranger Stations. IDBDR Motorcycle Maps are available at our store.

Any bike that has a license plate, can run knobby tires, is set-up to carry the gear you plan to bring, and has the fuel range to make the distance between gas stops. Most adventure or dual-sport motorcycles will be suitable for the trip.  Choose the bike that you are the most comfortable riding in desert and mountain terrain.

Any GPS unit capable of displaying 15 track logs with a minimum of 500 points each is suitable for use on the IDBDR. Garmin models that work best for this application are: Zumo 665/660, Montana, GPSMap 60, 62, 76, 78 and 276. Other GPS manufacturers may have units that will work. Check the technical specs to determine suitability.

The tracks for the route can be downloaded free of charge online at https://ridebdr.com/download-tracks/ .

The highest elevations are reached in section 3, where the Elk Summit reaches nearly 8200 feet. The IDBDR never stays up high for long periods and you do a lot of climbing and descending quickly.

DOT approved knobby tires (such as Continental TKC 80 or other type of tires) are strongly recommended.

We do our best to post the most up-to-date information on our Route Updates Page. We depend on the BDR community to inform us about route and road conditions, so if you encounter any road closures or severe conditions that are worth reporting, please contact us with the information.

There is also a dedicated IDBDR Facebook Group Page. We recommend that you join the group prior to your trip to read trip reports and comments from other riders about their experience on the route.

Don’t forget to use our Interactive Map to get route conditions in real time. Read this Article to a quick tutorial on how to use the Interactive Map.

Idaho is a habitat to many large animals like the Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Moose, Elk, Wolves and Mountain Lions. Safe food practices while camping are an absolute for your safety and the animals safety.  Here is a link to find out more http://www.centerforwildlifeinformation.org/BeBearAware/Hiking_and_Camping/hiking_and_camping.html

Yes the route can be done North to South.

Much of this route is remote and out of reach for cell phone towers. There will be long sections with no coverage. Your best bet is to talk or text in the towns or on top of mountains. You will be surprised where you get coverage and where you don’t. A satellite communication device is a good idea in the backcountry. Phones with Verizon service have more coverage on this route vs AT&T.

We get this question all the time. Here are some key things to consider as you put together your plan.

All of the BDR routes include intermediate to advanced terrain. If a person is on a large bike twin-cylinder bike like an R1200GS Adventure or Yamaha Super Tenere, the routes can be very difficult. If a person’s skills are not advanced level, they may consider taking a smaller bike or choosing the easier options when possible. A BDR is something a person should build up to and it shouldn’t be their first overnight trip on their ADV bike.

Although, ID, WA and CO are less difficult than UT and AZ,  they all contain difficult sections. We suggest looking at the Butler Map and take the optional easier routes to avoid the difficult sections. Even taking this approach there may be difficult stretches depending on changes in road conditions, weather, construction and the unknown. This is part of what makes it an adventure. Regardless of its description on the map or in the film, no section of a BDR should be underestimated.

Do some shorter overnight trips as practice and ride increasingly difficult terrain to build up your skills and confidence. Also remember that riding with a fully-loaded bike should be practiced prior to tackling a BDR. Lastly, always ride with a group so that you have a team to help overcome any obstacles whether it’s terrain, mechanicals, navigation, medical emergency, etc…

In summary, take baby steps and work up to doing a BDR. Don’t make it your first adventure motorcycle outing on a full-sized twin-cyclinder bike.

This advice comes from Rob Watt, BDR Board and Expeditions Member, and Wilderness EMT.

We carry items for wound management, breaks, basic meds and dental.  You can buy a good first aid kit at one of the outdoor stores online or Touratech-USA.  Get one that is an Extended Day Backpacker or 3-4 person kit.  These kits usually have the basics for a motorcycle trip.

They usually don’t have a SAM splint, so pick one of those up along with a couple ace bandages.  One other thing that we do for every multi-day trip, is to gather important information about each rider: allergies, medications, medical issues, emergency contacts, etc.

Then we put that on a master sheet for each person, so if something does happen we have that information handy incase that person can’t speak.  Another good practice is to do a little research of where medical facilities are along your planned route.  Is there a “flight for life” in the area? Where are the hospitals, Medical clinics, etc?

Here is a list of some items that you should have in your medical kit:

  • Bandages: Assorted sizes for small cuts, blisters, etc.
  • 4-inch closure strips or butterfly closures: For closing large wounds. 4-inch strips are more effective than butterfly.
  • 4 inch by 4 inch sterile dressing pads (5 to 10): To apply pressure to a wound and stop bleeding
  • Non-adherent sterile dressing (2 inch by 2 inch): Use these or Second Skin to cover blisters, burns or lacerations.
  • Gauze roll: Holds dressing in place.
  • Small roll of 1-inch adhesive tape: Holds dressings in place.
  • Multi-use tool or knife: Should include knife, scissors. A scalpel and blade are also useful for first aid.
  • Forceps or tweezers: For removing splinters, ticks, and removing debris from wounds.
  • Scissors: Trauma scissors, which have a blunt end to protect the patient, can be used for cutting away clothing from injury, cutting medical tape, etc.
  • Thermometer: Digital is generally more accurate, but batteries do wear out.
  • Malleable splint: Lightweight foam-covered aluminum, such as a SAM splint.
  • Irrigation syringe (35 cc): Used to flush and clean wounds.
  • Suction syringe (65 cc): Used to clear mouth of fluids when giving CPR.
  • Safety pins: Can help remove splinters, fasten arm sling, or make a whole in a plastic bag for improvised wound irrigation.
  • Cotton-tip swabs: For removing  foreign objects from eye, or applying antibiotic ointment.
  • Resealable plastic bags: Many uses, including icing a swollen joint or creating wound irrigation device.
  • ACE, Coban, or other rubberized bandage: Can be used as outer wrap on splints, wound dressings or support for joint injuries. Be careful not to wrap too tightly.
  • Antiseptic towlettes: For cleaning small wounds.
  • Cleansing pads with lidocaine: For cleaning. Includes a topical anesthetic for abrasions, stings, etc.
  • Topical antibiotic ointment: For application to wounds. Simple Vaseline can also be used in dressing a wound.
  • Moleskin: Prevents blisters. Cut and apply a section to your foot as soon as you discover a “hot spot.” Duct tape also works for this purpose.
  • Povidone Iodine USP 10 percent, 1 oz.: For preventing infection. Bottled PVD iodine 10 percent solution should be diluted to a ratio of 1 percent or less for flushing wounds.
  • Aloe vera gel: Found in packets or small bottles for relief of minor burns.
  • Pain relievers, including aspirin and Ibuprofen: Provides relief for minor aches and pains, reduces fever, helps reduce inflammation of sprains and other injuries.
  • Antihistamines: For relief of pollen allergies, or to reduce reaction to bites and stings.
  • Immodium 2 mg capsules or tablets: For relief of diarrhea from intestinal infections.
  • Pepto Bismol or antiacid tablets: For relief from general diarrhea, abdominal upset.
  • After Bite or hydrocortisone cream USP 1 percent: Relieves skin irritation from bites, poison oak, stings, or allergic reactions.
  • Latex or nitrile gloves: Protects against blood-borne diseases and infection.
  • CPR microshield mask: A compact flexible barrier with a one-way valve for rescue breathing, which protects user from blood, vomit or saliva.
  • Oral rehydration salts: Packet of electrolyte salts and glucose for treatment of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or loss of fluids from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Space bag/blanket: Lightweight emergency shelter. For treating hypothermia victims.
  • Paper and pencil: For recording medical data such as body temperature, pulse, time and date of symptoms, injuries, medicines administered, etc. Most repackaged kits include accident report forms.
  • Wilderness First Aid booklet: Many prepackaged first aid kits contain one. An excellent pocket guide is the Wilderness Medical Handbook

Rating the Routes by Difficulty

We often get requests to provide the difficulty ratings of the BDR. We do not officially rate roads or routes because the difficulty can change from day to day depending on weather, changes in road conditions, and road damage caused by a variety of forces including wind, storms, flooding, snow, logging, forest fires and more.

The difficulty experienced by an individual also depends on their off-road skills, level of fitness, stamina, bike size and amount of weight carried on the bike. For these reasons we can’t provide a rating system like a ski resort or OHV park.

We can help you a bit by ranking the existing Backcountry Discovery Routes from most difficult to least difficult. Here is the list: CABDR-South, NEBDR, AZBDR, ORBDR, WYBDR, UTBDR, COBDR, NVBDR, WABDR, NMBDR, CABDR-North, IDBDR, MABDR.

So CABDR-South is the most difficult especially if you ride the expert sections and MABDR is the easiest in general terms. Although MABDR is the easiest there are still a few challenging rocky sections and the several water crossings that can get very difficult if the water is high.

Be sure to also review the FAQ’s for each route and our General FAQs prior to embarking on your trip.

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