Canfield Mountain Bike Tour (West)
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Distance: 8 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Riding time: 1-3 hours
Season: Mid-April through Oct.
Maps: Canfield Mountain Trail System available from Fernan Ranger
Info: Vertical Earth Bike Shop (208) 667-5503
MOUNTAIN BIKING TRIP NOTES
Access: From Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene, exit at 15th Street. Go north on 15th Street 1 mile and turn right on Nettleton Gulch Road. Drive 2-1/4 miles to first major parking area, noting that road has become Forest Road 1562.
Attractions: A delicious blend of dirt roads, double and single track in North Idaho’s premier trail system exclusively for mountain bikes and motorcycles.
Route is top-to-bottom sampler of the 33-mile trail system’s west side, including good views of Coeur d’Alene and Hayden lakes. Gain 1,600 feet in elevation on lightly used road, then loose it all in breeze of roller-coastering trails. The few difficult sections of this route are short and easily negotiated on foot for beginners. Other nearby routes provide extreme conditions for hot-dog riders.
Comments: Ride clockwise on this route from start point to put all uphill at beginning of trip. Gain 1,600 feet in 4 miles of mostly good road to junction of Road 2341 and Trail 1.
Catch your breath and good view of Lake Coeur d’Alene at communications tower, then follow Trail 1 back to Trail D and and head up short steep section. From there, Trail D is delightful new single track around West Canfield Butte.
Return briefly to Road 2342 at parking area, where there’s good view of Hayden Lake to north. Continue on Trail D down to large parking area and trail junction called The Island.
Get speed and relaxation on double track of Trail 7. Turn left onto Trail B (which is at mile 6 of this route) then immediately turn right onto Trail 8 and ride to Penn Station trail junction.
Head north on Trail A - another delicious new single track. Then head down creek on Trail 4 back to the starting point. Trail 4, known as Cave Trail, has short, rough, kick-you-in-the-butt rocky stretch where creek meets lower portion of trail.
Trail system has been used for decades by motorcyclists, who began sharing trails with mountain bikers in 1980s. Since they can easily hear engines, bicyclists should yield to motorcyclists.
More than $80,000 of trail improvements put into system in recent years, including flap-down rubber water bars. (Ride over them, not around them.)
Excellent trail map with vertical-gain charts available from Fernan Ranger District, accessible from I-90. Take Sherman Street Exit. Go to stop light and head north on Sherman. Go under freeway, ranger station on right. Info: (208) 765-7381.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map of Canfield Mountain Bike Tour (west)
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