From the vibrant history of the trails to the heart-pounding descent, North Fork's Chief Joseph to Dahlonega ride is a whirlwind adventure, delivering much more than the promised 18 miles of adrenaline-fueled action.
Starting off from the Chief Joseph Ski Trails, stationed just off Mt43 at the pinnacle of Chief Joseph Pass, the ride is immediately flagged by Continental Divide Trail (CDT) markers. This leads to a succinct singletrack stretch which traverses the highway, ultimately merging with the Anderson Mountain Road.Following the Anderson Mtn. Road for about 5.5 miles, a left detour introduces riders to Tr6111. Here, the etching "CDT" can be spotted on a tree, signaling just another 3/4 miles uphill to reach Anderson Mountain's peak, offering sweeping panoramas worth the additional exertion.Persisting on 6111 for roughly half a mile brings riders face-to-face with the CDT singletrack. Etched once again on a tree, "CDT" indicates the trail's demanding nature: steep, rocky, yet utterly conquerable. Two notable "hike-a-bike" segments break the ride. The initial, shorter segment emerges after about 2 miles into the CDT, while the more challenging segment weaves through the remnants of an old forest fire, about 3 miles from the CDT's commencement.A somewhat misleading signpost graces the summit of the burnt section. While it directs towards Nex Perce Trail and Three Mile Ridge Trail, the true path lies an additional 0.3 miles ahead on the CDT, nestling in the ridge's next saddle.This marks the inception of the 3 Mile Ridge Trail. Beginning as singletrack, it winds southwards then westwards, distancing itself from the CDT. About a mile into this leg, the trail commences a rapid descent. Transforming into a 4-wheeler track, it descends relentlessly till the Dahlonega Creek Road, dropping approximately 3000 vertical feet.The final stretch is a 2.5-mile ride to the parking area or a slightly longer 3.5 miles for those tempted by the allure of beer and Mexican cuisine at Broken Arrow.
The trail experienced a revamp in 2011. Thanks to diligent gnomes from Hamilton, MT, and Salmon, ID, the trail's deadfall was meticulously cleared, except for a few trees near the Dahlonega Creek Road as an ATV deterrent. This renovation amplifies the ride's exhilaration, evidenced by brakes worn to their limits.
This trail mandates a shuttle ride. Cars can be stationed in or near Gibbonsville, ID, either at the Broken Arrow Restaurant or across the highway. For trail commencement, navigate north on US93 till Lost Trail Pass, make a right onto MT43, and park at the Chief Joe XC Ski Trails. Two entrances accommodate this parking space.
"Wow. Just wow. One