FACILITIES AND TRAILS
It doesn’t appear that lift-served mountain-biking or hiking are huge summer draws. Admittedly it was Friday but the base facilities were deserted even when we got there about a half hour past opening time of 9am. The chairs run slowly and bikes are loaded on chairs behind you. Rental bikes and bike equipment (including big freeride bikes – 6 inch travel Kona Stinky’s which IMO are overkill for these trails) are available for rent at the valley floor rental facilities.
Trail signage when you get to the top is very good. There are some restroom facilities and dining/refreshments at the Lookout Restaurant.
There aren’t too many trail choices; signs direct you to the Broadway traverse trail which takes you to the Cold Springs/Warm Springs junction. Be aware that these trails are public accessed and are not patrolled so you are on your own once you leave the clearly marked ski area boundaries. Although I am told most people doing this as a self-powered route ascend Cold Springs then descend Warm Springs expect uphill traffic on Warm Springs and regulate your speed accordingly. Both trails descend from about 7,800′ to 5,800ft – Warm Springs is about 7.5 miles long while Cold Springs is about 6.5miles long.
Bikes ride in the chair behind while you go up, up, up
Entrance to the bike trails at Bald Mountain
Panoramic from the peak chairlife. Click here for the full size
Tyler rides down to the Cold Springs/ Warm Springs intersection
WARM SPRINGS TRAIL
We elected to drop downhill on the Warm Springs Trail and weren’t disappointed. Cold Springs is south-facing and it looked to us like the alpine flower season had already passed on that trail. Warm Springs is slightly more north-facing and the flowers were in full bloom, especially in burnt out areas.
As alluded to earlier, this is a trail for all ability levels. Although a freeride bike and armour can’t hurt especially if one isn’t especially a confident rider or wants to haul downhill at speed, this isn’t really a “big bike” kind of trail. The trail is smooth, flows and logically links downhill sections together in a gradual gradient. Breaking up the downhill there is a half mile of climbing at the Monarch Ridge and Little America Point viewpoint sections. From that viewpoint and ridge you can get a good look at the terrain you just descended and the mountains to the North and East. This is a beautiful trail – you get views, you get a ridgeline, you get buff smooth singletrack.
From the Little America viewpoint the trail then proceeds gradually downhill pretty much all the way. At the last mile you can elect to take either the River Run Traverse trail back to the River Run Base Plaza base area from where you loaded on the chairlifts or you can take a series of downhill switchbacks to the Warm Springs Lodge and then finish with a roadride through the dedicated bike-path system of Ketchum back to the River Run base area. We took the latter route and found a series of fast traverses interspersed with switchbacks. Indeed that was a common theme for Sun Valley singletrack – speed is the name of the game.
Flowers grow wild at the burn on Warm Springs