CDT: Upper Sheep Creek To Carmen Creek trail photo
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Level: Advanced
Length: 21 mi (33.8 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: One-way
Elevation: +737/ -1,604 ft
Total: 3 riders

Mountain Biking CDT: Upper Sheep Creek To Carmen Creek

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#86 of 317 mountain bike trails in Idaho
#5,785 in the world

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

First added by chukt on Dec 23, 2011. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
About 20 miles north of Salmon take the 4th of July Creek Road (USFS 071). This road becomes rocky and steep so don't drive your mom's Olds. Once to the top of the long climb you find a junction with USFS 60256. Go right and park here at the old hunting camp.

The shuttle vehicle can be left in Carmen Creek. About 8 miles north of Salmon take the Carmen Creek Road. The pavement ends at a "T" junction, go left. Follow this road and take a right up the hill, crossing a cattle guard, just before the McFarland Ranch gate. At the top of the hill is another cattle guard, park here or further up the road as you see fit.

CDT: Upper Sheep Creek To Carmen Creek Trail map

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lemhi_mtn_ryder (on Sep 27, 2019)
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(on Feb 29, 2024)
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