Little Elk Creek Trail: A Daunting Adventure in Palisades, Idaho
Nestled within the rugged terrain of Palisades, Idaho, the Little Elk Creek Trail beckons mountain bikers with a thirst for adrenaline-pumping exploits. A blend of challenging inclines, smooth single tracks, and technical patches, this trail also rewards the brave with mesmerizing canyon views and the chance to spot the majestic moose.
Embarking on this path, anticipate an uphill battle that promises to test even the most seasoned cyclists. Within the initial stretch, walking may become a necessity, leading up to the 1.5-mile mark. Here, the trail unveils a plateau, splitting southward towards Little Elk Creek.If seeking variety or an alternative challenge, this downhill section doubles as an ascent for those opting to reverse the loop. Enriched with the character of a horse trail, it fluctuates between serene single tracks and demanding technical spots. But the true reward lies in the descent through a grand canyon, where the moose's commanding presence graces the landscape.The journey doesn't conclude there. Once hitting the road, there's the choice of retracing the journey or heading back to the start.An exciting sidebar to the main trail offers the opportunity for downhill laps via a shuttle. However, this path is accessible only with the consent of local homeowners. On the southern flank above the reservoir, a gravel road makes a steep ascent. Climbing approximately 1300 feet, it reaches the summit of a scenic subdivision, unparalleled in its beauty. At the top, turn right upon reaching the T-junction and proceed along the four-wheeler track, guiding riders to a trail split between Sheep Creek or Little Elk Canyon.
Kick-off this memorable ride by parking at Sheep Creek Canyon, situated about a mile north of the dam. Head east into the canyon for approximately 1.9 miles to locate the trailhead. As the valley concludes, cast a glance to the right, searching for a small signpost or the trail itself, marked by a steep gradient with loose stones and rich black soil.
Little Elk Creek Trail is not for the faint-hearted. With its demanding terrain and intricate paths, it's a haven for experienced cyclists craving both a challenge and nature's raw beauty. For those ready to face its trials, the rewards are undeniably worth every drop of sweat.