Dry Creek, to Gardner Peak, to Hardguy

Today’s ride started and ended exactly opposite to the last one.  I still parked at the trailhead for Hardguy/Corral’s, but instead of heading up HG I rode up Bogus Basin Rd and went up Dry Creek.  Once at the top of dry creek I went to Gardner Peak, and lollipopped my way back to HG and road back to the car.  All totaled the ride was 24.95 miles, and it was pretty tough.  Although, tough as it was, it was spectacularly gorgeous.  The views you get as you’re riding along the ridge road and gardner peak are just amazing.  The temperature was quite a bit cooler up top, so it’ll make a great place to go when it’s hot in the valley.  If you’re in for a scenic tour, this is definitely a great way to go!

Directions: Refer to the last post on how to get to the Corral’s/HG trail head.  Park there and start riding up Bogus Basin Rd to the north.  Just over 2.6 miles later you will come to the trailhead for Dry Creek (Picture #3).  Start heading up Dry Creek.  There are only three places where you can really make a wrong turn on Dry Creek.  The first will be an option to go onto a high or a low trail.  Take the high trail to the right.  The low trail will get you where you want to go as well, but it looks like it’s blocked by a downed tree.  The second is just after your second creek crossing.  Just after this crossing will be an option to take a trail off to the right, but you want to stay left.  Going right will get you onto Shingle Creek.  The last turn you will have to make is at the top of Dry Creek.  You will come out of the trees into a clearing where it looks like the trail has disappeared (Picture #4).  If you look closely you will see a trail going off to the right, and another off to the left, and you want to go left.  This will take you to Boise Ridge Road.  Once you reach Boise Ridge Road you will have traveled approximately 8.8 miles.  From here, you could turn right to head over to Hard Guy (about 8.3 miles back to the car), or you can continue up the road to the left to go to Gardner.

Continuing on to Gardner, you will climb Boise Ridge Road (BRR) for about 3 miles (if I remember right–11.38 on my odometer) before you turn right onto FS road 275C.  Along the way you will pass “Peace Sign Rock” (Picture #10) which is where Gardner peak will come out, and FS road 275D (Picture #5).  Turn right  onto 275C (Picture #6), marked with orange flagging, and follow it, going past a gate on the left (Picture #7) for just under 0.3 miles.  At the 0.3 mile mark you should see a trail hiding off to the right (Picture #8), this is the start of Gardner Peak.  Take this trail and start cranking.  The only decision you will have to make on Gardner Peak is at a three-way intersection (Picture #9) where you’ll want to turn right to get you back to BRR.  Follow BRR back to the left, passed the Dry Creek entrance 2.03 miles, until you come to a sharp left hand turn with a parking area on the right where there is a fence and a trailhead.  This is the top of Hardguy.  Ride HG down, taking a right after the second gate and head back to your car.  24.95 miles.

Dry Creek: If you read my last post about dry creek, you’ll know that I have some qualms with this trail.  Well, all I can say is that I still have some issues, but it was definitely better the third time around.  I think this was because of my mindset.  I decided to ride the trail at a relaxed pace, focusing on riding the whole thing clean.  Doing this changed the focus from speed to technicality.  My goal was to ride to the top without putting a foot down.  Unfortunately, this did not happen.  My demise came at just before mile 8 where the trail started to climb a lot more steeply and got significantly looser and rockier.  At this point my relaxed attitude bit me in the butt.  I was trying to finesse my way up these hills when the fact of the matter was that I don’t have the strength to finesse them.  What needed to happen was to see me cranking on the pedals to keep my momentum up and not get hung up on the loose earth.  Unfortunately, I realized this all too late and got knocked off course a few times and had to restart the hill from a stop.  This was pretty frustrating until I realized that I was going too slow.  After stepping it up a bit, I finally made it to the top.  I still think there should be some grooming done, and some log rides added over a few of the creeks, but oh well.  Hopefully, the more I ride it the more I’ll like it.  Honestly though, my motivation to continue with dry creek is waning.

Boise Ridge Road to Gardner Peak: There are really no surprises here.  It’s a dirt road that climbs for about 3 miles and gets you where you want to go.  In hind sight, I should have brought some food and hung out at the top of Dry Creek a bit to get my legs back under me though.  Instead I went straight through without breaking or recovering, and what happened was I wasted a lot of my legs before I got to Gardner.  Watch out for ATVers on the road.  I met a few on my way up and they were really polite, but when you come screaming down you could really surprise each other on a tight corner.

Gardner Peak: Gardner peak was a real joy to ride.  It would have been a ton better if I had all of my legs under me though.  It didn’t take long before I started realizing that I had bit off more than I could chew, and simple climbs were turning into a real struggle.  Gardner Peak strikes me as the kind of trail that deserves to be pushed hard.  It’s got a lot of switch backs that are well banked, lot’s of neat little features like rocks and logs, and a single wooden plank style bridge.  All of these features are easy to navigate and don’t require a lot of technicality, but make the trail a lot of fun to play on.  When I was finished with this loop I realized that I had ridden it with more caution than it needed.  This was a safe mentality, since I was by myself on a trail I’d never ridden, but if you’ve got a good set of brakes, and know that there might be a tight switchback dead ahead, you can push this trail pretty hard.  Some people will ride it in the opposite direction (from peace rock to 275C, so watch out for oncoming riders.

The rest of the ride: Once I popped out onto BRR at Peace Sign Rock, I was hitting the wall.  My legs were pretty upset with me and all I could think about was food.  This was a ride that I had underestimated, or picked the wrong day to ride straight through.  But, thankfully, heading back to Hard Guy on BRR isn’t that tough.  It’s got a few uphills, but for the most part it is a quick 5ish mile trip that is not that taxing (even on a tired body).  And then there’s Hard Guy.  HG has definitely become one of my favorite downhills.  It is everything I wish Dry Creek could be.  It is fast, well groomed, and at 35 mph decently technical (in as much as mistakes are very costly).  There are several water berms that make for really fun jumps, lot’s of easy corners that are still compact and can be taken quickly, and there are generally good sight lines so you can see oncoming riders with enough time to slow and stop.  For me this was great.  It gave me a chance to let my legs relax and my mind recover.  The short climb out of HG was a drag, but taken slow it was no big deal.  Once I got loaded up into my car I went straight to the burger shop at the bottom of Bogus Basin Road (Pac Out?) and got a burger and milk shake, and it was awesome!

Overall, I totally recommend the ride, but next time I’ll definitely be more prepared for the toll that Dry Creek can take on you.  If I want to go and explore the Bogus Basin area, I’ll likely be riding Hard Guy up since I think it’s a bit easier, but Dry Creek will still be an option.

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~ by cardwelc on July 3, 2010.

4 Responses to “Dry Creek, to Gardner Peak, to Hardguy”

  1. Thanks the ride was awesome.

  2. I’m just getting into mountain biking and am referencing your site for this morning’s planned ride around Dry Creek for my first time. This is a great resource and really appreciate you sharing your knowledge, thank you! I’ve bookmarked and am now following you, and will continue reading for enjoyment no doubt.

    BTW, I think you mean Gardiner and not Gardner: http://idahoalpinezone.com/index.php?p=4_43

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