CDT: Upper Sheep Creek To Carmen Creek

4.50 out of 5
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↑ 2,400 ft
↓ 5,300 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
This ride takes you along a spectacular section of the CDT as it passes through Idaho and back to the Montana border. As the ride is shown here, it is a big shuttle. This ride can also be ridden as an out-and-back from the same starting place. There are possibilities to access this trail from the Montana side too but we have not yet attempted this.

The ride begins on the forest road (60256). Take the first left after a mile or so onto a rocky two-track (Trail 6129). This road gets narrower and becomes single track as it climbs. Pretty soon, after more climbing and some water crossings, the trail junctions with the Continental Divide Trail.

The ride continues climbing and eventually you come to the head of the Sheep Creek drainage. Here the trail steepens, gets rocky, and becomes a hike-a-bike. The push is relatively short and the trail tops out on a ridge leaving the Sheep drainage for the 4th of July Creek drainage. You will forget about the hike once you see the view and the amazing trail up there.

The trail is easy to follow as it rolls through the high country. The Idaho section of the CDT recently had trail crews fixing it up. Once in the Montana section there are large cairns of rocks to follow.

You will pass a lake and the trail climbs briefly before descending steeply. The descent ends at the trail junction with the Twin Lakes Trail. Hang a right here and climb up the switchbacks back to the ridge and the Idaho/Montana border. Here the ridge trail is rocky and it descends briefly to a saddle.

There is a faint trail to the right at this saddle, look for trail blazes cut in the bark of the trees. This is now the Carmen Creek drainage and Trail 6138, there are no signs. This is a tough descent at first, the trail has been washed out after the wet spring of 2011 and there is deadfall (always bring a saw for Salmon rides!).

After a steep and rocky single track, the ride becomes a steep and rocky two-track. This road gets better and better and finally hits the bottom of Carmen Creek where it rolls back to your shuttle rig.

This ride feels more like an epic 40 miles than 20 by the time you finish, but the trail across the top of the Divide is worth it.

The CDT no
added by chuktSingletrack
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (3 total check-ins)
  lemhi_mtn_ryder   on Aug 6, 2016
  chukt   on Apr 23, 2016
  lemhi_mtn_ryder   on Jul 23, 2014
Photo & Video Gallery (10)
Trail Photos & Videos (10)
Reviews (2)


July 21, 2014
Review: Big climbs, huge vistas, great riding on the CDT, big high altitude country, and a consistently challenging descent into Carmen Creek.

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February 5, 2013
Review: A great ride with a little of everything thrown at you. Uphill, downhill, hike a bike, cruising, tech, rocks, roots, smooth, alpine views, remote, isolated, singletrack. A strenous ride for a great workout.

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CDT: Upper Sheep Creek To Carmen Creek MTB Trail 4.50 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 2 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed