Hard Guy to Dry Creek

Today’s ride was from Hard Guy (RTR #33), to the Boise Ridge Road, over to Dry Creek, and back to the Hard Guy trailhead.  It was 17.3 miles long, and overall a good ride.

Directions: To get to Hard Guy head up Bogus Basin road and keep your eyes peeled to the right.  After not too terrible far (sorry, forgot to check the odometer on this one) you’ll suddenly start going downhill and you’ll pass a bunch of antennas on the right.  Just beyond this is the very noticeable parking lot (Picture #1) for the trailhead.  This trailhead gives you access to three trails: Corral’s, Scott’s, and Hard Guy.  Park your car and start heading up the trail.  You’ll climb for a little ways before you crest the top of the hill standing over the parking lot, then you’ll stay straight onto a dirt road.  The road will lead you to a gate, which you’ll go through and continue straight.  As you ride away from the gate keep your eyes open for a single track that will sneak up on you on your right, and take it.  If you miss it, it won’t matter because the single track connects back up to the road.  Once you pop out onto the road again directly in front of you will be another gate, while the road will head off to the East.  You want to go through the gate and start heading downhill on the beat up road.  This is the beginning of Hard Guy and it’s marked with a Ridge To Rivers (RTR) sign post.  Once you’re on Hard Guy, there’s no getting lost.  Just keep on the trail.

At the top of Hard Guy is a fence (Picture #3), and the junction of the trail and Boise Ridge Road.  You’ll want to follow the road to the left.  Almost exactly 2.03 miles later you’ll hit a right curve with an obvious trail off to the left (Picture #4).  Take that trail and follow it until you hit an opening (Picture #6).  At this opening it’ll look like the trail continues straight, but this is the start of Shingle Creek (also a good ride).  What you want to do, though is make a hard right around the bushes to get onto Dry Creek (where the bike is pointing in the photo).  From this point, there’s no more getting lost.  Near the bottom you will come to the intersection of Shingle and Dry creek, but unless you’re looking real hard, you’ll miss it (so just stay straight).  Shortly after that, the trail will divide into an upper and lower trail, you want to stay on the high side (at least for now, since it looks like the low side is blocked by a fallen tree).  This trail will dump you back onto Bogus Basin road (Picture #10), which you’ll follow downhill (mostly) back to your car.

Hard Guy: Don’t be frightened away by the name.  What Hard Guy really is, is a long climb composed of hills ranging from easy to pretty steep.  It starts off of Bogus Basin Road and climbs to the Boise Ridge Road.  From the parking lot to the fence at the top was exactly 6.23 miles on my bike computer.  You’ll start hitting tree line at about 5.75 miles, and the hardest/steepest hill on the trail is just after 3.75 miles (Picture #2).  Today, I was trying for a real relaxed pace…which to me means that I’ll never be working so hard that I can’t take a full breath.  In doing so, my average speed for Hard Guy was just over 6 mph.  The last time I rode it, and worked a fair bit harder, my pace was 6.7 mph.  So it’s not the steepest most ungodly thing that’s out there, and if you decide to do it as an out-and-back you’ll be rewarded with some Awesome downhill.  The steep hill that’s in the picture wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so loose.  It’s pretty tough to maintain traction, so make sure you can keep your speed up around this point.  Everything else is pretty much a simple grind.  Hard Guy has become one of my favorite trails thus far.

Boise Ridge Road: Once at the top of Hard Guy you’ll head left onto the road.  If it’s hot outside this will be a welcome sight because the road is well shaded and a lot cooler than anything below it.  For the most part the road is a fast and easy series of down and up hills, with only a couple uphills that may surprise you by their angle, but this is a great rest period and cool-off time.

Dry Creek: Here’s where things get interesting.  I have ridden Dry Creek twice now, once in both directions, and so far I’ve got to say that I’m not a fan.  This may come as a shock to many people evidently, because whenever I talk to someone about Dry Creek they absolutely rave over it.  Honestly, I’m not sure why.  Here’s how I feel.  From the Ridge road Dry Creek has some real fun rolling switch backs that lead you down through the trees.  This part is great.  But it’s not long until the flow is interrupted by overgrowth, fallen trees where the trail has been routed around, deep rocky creek crossings (Picture #8), off camber side hills, blind corners that necessitate a slow pace (lest you plow into a person or cow around the corner), and the like.  Now, I’m not complaining (well maybe a little).  I usually enjoy creek crossings, and technical single track.  But I had it in my head that this was going to be a fast a flowy ride back to my car.  What it turned out to be was a slow and very unpredictable, moderate work, with little play sort of thing.  So, let’s talk about some of the trail features to get specific.

  • The Overgrowth: I hope this is temporary and just due to this being the relative beginning of the season for this trail.  But the way things are right now you should expect to get hit in the face with branches and have your shins come out itchy with scrapes all over.  This is especially a problem on the lower section where thorn bushes have grown over the trail.  All this just needs to be cut back a ways and it won’t be an issue.  If anyone wants to put together a trail crew to do this, consider me a volunteer.
  • Creek Crossings: Creek crossings are usually a lot of fun, and some of these are.  But except for a few, many of these are very rocky with steep or abrupt entrances and exits.  What this means is you really have to power through the rocky stuff and hope that you’re picking a good line, and hope that you can maintain enough momentum to get you out of the creek and up the hill just after it.  And, there’s just under a million of these crossings; somewhere near 10 I’d imagine.  So after a while I was pretty much over them.  What’s more is that on a few of these there are long muddy entrances and exits from the water getting drug onto the trail.  This isn’t something I know a lot about, but this seems like bad form and poor erosion control to me.
  • The weird technicality of the trail: When you compare this trail to others that would be definitively viewed as “technical” this trail wouldn’t stand up at all.  However, when you look at the whole thing and what it takes for a rider to ride the entire thing without putting a foot down, only the well experienced and very versatile riders would be able to accomplish this.  The only exception to this might be the folks that ride this trail enough to know what’s around each corner.  With that said, there are a couple sections of technical rock that truly qualify as technical (in my opinion).  Take a look at Picture #8 for an example.  This is one of two rock features that I haven’t been able to ride up yet (going down is a cinch, though).  They are all doable, but they’re tough.  Tip: On Dry Creek, whenever you can’t see very much of the trailhead in front of you, keep your gearing pretty easy so you can be prepared for a sudden climb.

So, in the end…I’ll definitely be riding this trail more, but when I do it won’t be for it’s fast and fun downhill, it’ll be for the simple joy of being in the outdoors trotting around on my bike.

Something I would love to see happen with Dry Creek (and again, I am volunteering) is to get a crew together and improve the flow of the overall ride.  I think it would be a simple thing to do, but it would take a little bit of work.  The first step would be to groom the trail as a whole–cut away the overgrowth, smooth out rough stuff (like where the cows have been walking in the mud), fix the camber on some of the sidehills, and route the trail back to it’s original directions.  And then to build a few skills-style ladders and bridges over/through/around those creeks.  There is an insane amount of opportunity to make this trail into a lot of fun.  There are now fewer than a thousand downed trees available for building material, and making a bridge or ladder isn’t rocket science (see Picture #7).  So to any of those influential SWIMBA members out there, let’s get together and make Dry Creek awesome.

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~ by cardwelc on July 1, 2010.

4 Responses to “Hard Guy to Dry Creek”

  1. Thanks for the info. I followed your directions and had a great ride!!!

  2. Thanks for the directions! Question on descending into Shingle Creek. I followed your satellite image map/route as seen on the link below, but surely there’s a better descent into the drainage? That was a total bushwhack lol, but there were obvious bike tracks. Looking closely at the satellite imagery, it appears the Shingle Creek Trail may actually start at the intersection of Dry Creek Trail and Boise Ridge Road? It’s just not obvious? I’m going to explore and find out soon, I’ll try remembering to let you know what I find. Thank you again for the great information!

    http://app.strava.com/activities/292373849

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