Sound RIDER! logo


Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - Skagit Powersports



Riding The Idaho Bucket List


They say this place you're lookin' for
It's a little off the track
Don't know the number of the road
But I can tell you where it's at
You know there isn't no pavement there
A few rocks that might give you a scare
I used to know it like the back of my hand
When I was just a boy

Idaho. if you don't live there, chances are you're limited to how much time you have to ride there. Us too! That's why we put together the Idaho Bucket List Dual Sport Tour.

Above photo: Part of the 2012 Sasquatch Dual Sport Tour in Idaho. And yes that's Bruce Graham's Sportster 1200 outfitted with Avon Gripster 80/20 tires. Worked great off-road.

This was the route for the annual Sasquatch Dual Sport Tour in 2012, but if you missed it and you're interested, you can get your hands on a copy of the tour book and the GPS routes as well.

Our first observations during the tour were that the roads are well marked throughout Idaho, and there are many interpretive signs along the way to help you learn the history of the area in detail.

The tour begins in McCall, a small inviting resort town on the west side of Idaho. Nice restaurants, all types of accommodations and great views onto Lake Payette. For campers, the state park camping facilities on the north end of town are state-of-the-art. And since day one offers two loop options, there's no need to pack up and leave until day two.

Photo: the fire overlook at Horse Mountain near Hells Canyon.

Day one provides two options to visit Idaho's Hells Canyon Scenic Overlooks. The south option takes riders out to Horse Mountain and Sheep Rock, while the north option takes riders to The Seven Devils and Hells Gate overlooks, then provides a back road route back to McCall that includes a don't-pass-this-up stop at a hot spring.

If you're an iron man you can attempt both routes in a single day, or if you have more time you can do them both over two days.

Day two takes riders south through Warm Springs in the morning and into Stanley for lunch. The road is easy breezy, but the tour book also provides a paved option if you want to withhold your dual sport stamina for the afternoon.

Photo: Taken at 10,400 feet on Railroad Ridge, several riders are seen with the 13,000 foot Chinese Wall behind them.

The afternoon portion features a ride to the top of the world as you make your way up Railroad Ridge to 10,400 feet for a look at the 13,000 foot high Chinese Wall. This is the highest elevation you can take a motorcycle to in the State of Idaho, though very few people do it. The road up is a steep two track and includes 100 feet of fist sized rocks to navigate. Only intermediate and experienced riders should attempt this. The best way to navigate these five miles is in first gear at a steady speed of 15 mph. Anything faster will cause excessive shifting which can lead to stalling. Anything slower will cause a tip over if speed is not maintained through the more rugged sections. Eyes up, arms relaxedit's time to rumble!

Then it's north for an overnight stop in Salmon.

Day three starts with a roller coaster ride over Chief Joseph Pass down into Montana. Fuel up and then plan to spend the afternoon making your way (dual sport style) across the fabled Magruder Corridor into Elk City. Magruder Corridor has quarries on either side, so the roads into and out of it are well groomed. The interior sections are a bit more rugged, but nothing an average rider with a few thousand miles of dual sport riding under their belt can't handle.

Photo: Interpretive sign noting the location of the Magruder Massacre along the Magruder Corridor.

The final leg of the day is on the Elk City Highway out to Kamiah (kam-ee-eye). This road is an awesome stretch of pavement that puts US12/Lolo Pass to shame. You'll love it!

The stop at Kamiah provides two nights in the same place so there's no need to pack up to move on until day five.

Day four starts with breakfast/brunch at the Lochsa Lodge, then heads up into the Clearwater National Forest for a five hour tour along the all dirt Lolo Motorway. Pavement conditions switch from easy going to rugged, making it a great workout for the dual sport enthusiast who likes a mixed bag.

Interpretive signs along the route tell the story of Lewis & Clark's expedition in this area.

A section west of The Smoking Place Camp is lovingly referred to as the' boulder pit' or 'bike eater'. Smooth granite rock jets out at heights of up to 1.5 feet, making it tricky to navigate. If this makes you uneasy, get off the bike and work as a team with another rider to walk each bike over this section one by one.

Day five closes out the tour with a romp across the Nez Perce reservation and into the wheat fields and farmland south of Moscow (Moss-co) and into Moscow itself. The off-pavement sections are all easy breezy pea gravel, and the views into Big Canyon are stunning.

Photo: Summit Grade Road with the Clearwater River below along the Nez Perce Reservation.

You missed the inaugural Idaho Bucket List tour, but you can still get out and ride it. The tour book includes maps, turn by turn directions and listings of restaurants, accommodations and motorcycle shops along the route.

To get the tour book and GPS routes and tracks, CLICK HERE now.

SR!/Summer 12

We've worked hard to upgrade this site. Click here to notify us of any problems we need to correct.


Subscription has its privileges - Each month Sound RIDER! publishes new features on rides, clubs, dealers and events. Don't miss out on these informative stories.

Sign up today for your FREE subscription and you'll get notification each month when the new issue comes on line. You'll also be the first to find out about special Sound RIDER! events. From time to time, we also provide valuable coupons that can save you hundreds of dollars on motorcycle services. What are you waiting for? Click here to sign up now!