Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Mountain Biking
Gorp.com

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest offers all levels of mountain biking routes, from easy, flat dirt roads to strenuous uphill climbs, all in glorious mountain and valley surroundings. Remember to tread lightly and obey all Forest Service regulations.

Uphill Creek Trail
Trail Beginning: 7,420 ft. Elevation (2,269). Park at trailhead to Uphill Creek on Birch Creek Road.
Trail Ending: Same as Starting Point
Time to Allow: 3-3 1/2 hrs.
Length: 10 1/2 miles (16 km)
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Easy-Difficult Sections

Access: Take Interstate 15 north of Dillon to the Apex junction. Follow Birch Creek Road past the turnoff to Aspen picnic area and take Willow Creek Road on the right. Follow Willow Creek down past the turnoff to Gorge Creek trail. Uphill Creek is 3/4 mile past this point on the right traveling northwest.

Attractions & Considerations: We recommend riding this trail in this direction as there are more continuous trails in the woods—winding, and often steep.

Follow Willow Creek Road Northwest and turn off briefly to the left to see Long Branch Lake. Continue on the trailhead and follow trail 122 to Lake Agnes where there is a fully covered rainbow lake in route. This trail winds through the woodland. It isn't easy but is sweetened by good easy sections every 1/2 mile through prestigue woodland. The last 1/2 mile to the impressive Agnes Lake is steep. You may wish to leave bikes at the top rather than push them back up! This is by no means essential though.

Backpack from Lake Agnes to the signed turnoff to trail 120 Willow Creek; a short walking section leads to a long descent through the woods directly across a meadow and on down to finish at Uphill Creek Trailhead.

Deerhead Lake Trail
Trail Beginning: 6,900 ft. Elevation (2,110 m). On the right at junction marked primitive road 2 3/4 miles along Birch Creek road above turning to CCC Camp.
Trail Ending: 7,132 ft. Elevation (2,181). At Dinner Station Campground or cycle back from here to primitive road Via Birch Creek Road.
Time to Allow: 2-2 1/2 hrs.
Length: 5-7 miles (9 km)
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Difficult

Access: Via Birch Creek Road from turn-out off Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon.

Attractions & Considerations: Keep right to start and cross a small creek (a good place for spotting moose). A junction in the road can provide a worthwhile detour to Bond Lake; return to take the other junction, which winds up at Deerhead Lake. A good spot for fishing and seeing elk, deer, and even bears that eat the many frogs here. The trail is rocky in places, especially near the top.

Return by backtracking down the trail and take the trail marked Dinner Station Campground on the right. This is a narrower and steeper descent and provides adequate excitement as you dodge trees at speed.

Birch Creek to Rock Creek Trail
Trail Beginning: 6,400 ft. Elevation (1,957 m). Start from Birch Creek Ranger Station.
Trail Ending: 6,573 ft. Elevation (2,010). Finish at campground at East end of Browns Lake in Rock Creek.
Time to Allow: 4-5 hrs.
Length: 17 miles (25 km)
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Easy-More Difficult

Access: Leave Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon; follow Birch Creek Road to Birch Creek Ranger Station.

Attractions & Considerations: This ride takes in 3 of the main drainages in this area. It is a long ride but will give a good appreciation of the scenery of the Eastern Pioneers.

Ride back onto Birch Creek and follow it to Willow Creek, which is followed to the end where trailhead 120 to Agnes Lake via Rainbow Lake is found on the right. Follow trail 120 through the woods and down to Agnes.

From Agnes descend towards Rock Creek on trail 122 down a steep rocky patch. After 1/3 mile the trail crosses a mining road. Take this mining road to the left and head down and through the tungsten mine, which cuts into the hillside. Exit the far side of the mine and continue down to cross a bridge across Rock Creek. Now, follow Rock Creek Road down to Browns Lake, which ties on the right. Finish here.

Birch Creek Trail
Trail Beginning: 6,400 ft. Elevation (1,957 m). Start from Birch Creek Ranger Station.
Trail Ending: Same as starting point
Time to Allow: A full day
Length: 30 miles (48 km)
Use: Moderate to Heavy
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Access: Leave Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon. Follow Birch Creek Road to CCC Camp/Thief Creek turnoff. Follow Thief Creek 400 m from Birch Creek to the cabin.

Attractions & Considerations: A long ride that offers views, wildlife, and fairly easy riding throughout.

Cycle up Birch Creek Road and turn left up Mule Creek Road just past the turnoff to the Dinner Station Campground. Follow Mule Creek Road to the trailhead to Minneopa Lake. From Minneopa go past Boatman's Lake to Estler Lake, cross Estler's Dam, and take a steep jeep road down Rattlesnake Creek immediately on the left. Passing an old coke kiln you reach Kelly Reservoir; continue down past Red Butte on the right. Turn to the left up French Creek/Thief Creek Road. As you climb this road it passes through various active gold mines and there is evidence of placer gold panning in French Creek on the right.

Descend from the divide steeply down Thief Creek Road returning back once more to Birch Ranger Station.

Estler Lake Trail
Trail Beginning: 8,240 ft. Elevation (2,520). At parking point near end of Mule Creek Road, 4 1/2 miles from Dinner Station, turnoff on Birch Creek Road.
Trail Ending: Same as starting point
Time to Allow: 2-2 1/2 hrs.
Length: 7 1/2 miles (12 km)
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Easy-Difficult

Access: Leave Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon. Follow Birch Creek Road past turnoff to Dinner Station Campground along Mute Creek Road. This road ends 1 mile past the trailhead.

Attractions & Considerations: This trail takes you to four of the most picturesque mountain lakes that offer good fishing possibilities and the chance of seeing a varied selection of wildlife. The lakes are flanked by two 10,000-ft. peaks, Alturas No. 2 and Tent Mountains to the north.

Down to Minneopa is straightforward enough. Take the north end of the lake to meet Tent Lake after 1 mile. Backtrack from here and take the southwest corner of Minneopa Lake to Estler 2 1/2 miles south. To the right is Boatman's Lake just behind an abandoned cabin.

Estler Lake is marked by 2 old cabins on its southernmost end. Behind it stands Baldy Mountain (20,568 ft.) with its abandoned fire lookout on top. Return the same way.

Pear Lake Trail
Trail Beginning: 7,132 ft. Elevation (2,181). Park at Dinner Station Campground at the end of Birch Creek Road.
Trail Ending: Same as starting point
Time to Allow: 3 1/2-4 hrs.
Length: 11 miles (17 km)
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Easy-Difficult in Parts

Access: Leave Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon. Follow Birch Creek Road to turn off the Dinner Station Campground. The trail starts where a primitive road sign is situated across the small bridge and behind the new graveled parking area.

Attractions & Considerations: The trail ends at Pear Lake—a beautiful spot in the Eastern Pioneers that is totally enclosed by jagged 10,000-ft. peaks (Tent Mountain and Sawtooth Mountains). The trail actually is a jeep road. It crosses Birch Creek after 3 miles below the towering scree fields of 11,147-ft. Torrey Mountain. A steep rocky climb follows for 1 mile, then easier riding up past Boot Lake to Pear Lake with its breathtaking views.

Tower Mountain Trail
Trail Beginning: 6,400 ft. Elevation (1,957). Start from Birch Creek Ranger Station.
Trail Ending: Same as starting point
Time to Allow: 3-3 1/2 hrs.
Length: 13 1/2 miles (21.5 km)
Use: Heavy
Difficulty: Easy-More Difficult at the Top

Access: Leave Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon. Follow Birch Creek Road to turnoff to CCC Camp and Thief Creek road. Cross a bridge—the CCC Camp lies straight ahead up the hill. Birch Creek Cabin lies 200 meters to the right.

Attractions & Considerations: This is a steep ride along good forestry road. The highlights of the ride come high up where fantastic views down across the valley, where Dillon lies, can be seen. There are also great views, from the summit of Tower mountain down across Birch Creek and across the Eastern Pioneers.

There is a sign located at the turnoff to Tower Mountain that is situated 1/2 mile from the divide on Thief Creek. This track is a rougher ride but you can make it all the way to the summit of Tower mountain. Keep right on this trail ignoring logging turnouts.

Greenstone Mine Ride
Trail Beginning: 5,791 ft. Elevation (177). Park near sign to Greenstone Gulch and Barbour Gulch just before you reach the canyon going West on Birch Creek Road.
Trail Ending: Same as starting point
Time to Allow: 2-2 1/2 hrs.
Length: 6.3 miles (10 km)
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Easy-Difficult

Access: Leave Interstate 15 at Apex north of Dillon and follow Birch Creek Road to the sign marked Greenstone Gulch and Barbour Gulch.

Attractions & Considerations: This ride takes in the early mining district of Farlin Gulch where copper mining boomed during the 1860s. The copper was smelted locally too. Look for the used coke piles on Birch Creek at Farlin.

This particular route reaches abandoned Greenstone mine at its high point. Good specimens of various copper minerals can be found in the waste heaps next to the mine (the minerals are blue-green in color).

It is wise to stay on the trail. There may be underground mines off the trail, making the ground unsafe. This is also good snake country.

Descend by taking the first turnoff on the left. Follow the tower road down the dry gulch rejoining the road coming up, just before you reach a new green gate.


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