Our Rainy Idaho Adventure began in Stanley, Idaho, one of our favorite places to visit. It is home to the Sawtooth Mountain Range. Recently, we made our annual visit to Stanley to spend time at Redfish Lake and Stanley Lake. Unfortunately, it rained for most of our trip so we were unable to do much kayaking and/or standup paddleboarding. When we attempted to kayak on Redfish Lake, we got caught in the rain and were fortunate to have made it back to the Tahoe before the downpour.
One thing we were able to do, however, was bike around Redfish Lake campground as well as on the new Redfish to Stanley Trail with my parents. Many people have waited for years, with great anticipation, for this trail to be completed. The 4.5 mile compacted gravel/dirt trail extends the full distance between Redfish and Stanley. If you want to start the trail in Stanley, it begins at Pioneer Park. We began at Redfish Lake.
The majority of the trail is flat, but there are a handful of very steep hills to climb. Some of those hills are only a short distance up, while one of them is a long trek. I do not particularly enjoy biking on hills like that at all. For scenery, a small portion of the trail is wooded when coming out of Redfish. Closer to Stanley, the trail becomes completely open with sagebrush on each side. In these open areas, it is very hot with zero shade, so please use common sense if you have dogs and always carry water for you and them.
It is important to note that there are multiple cattle guard gates along the trail, so you either have to stop and open/close each of them along the way, or ride over the rounded metal grate designed for bikes to pass over. Please do not walk dogs over them because their legs will fall through. We biked a total of: 15 miles.
One of the days, which did not predict rain, we went to Ketchum. This is about an hour’s drive from Stanley. For years, we had talked about biking on the Wood River Trail. It is a paved, multi-use trail stretching from Bellevue to Ketchum. We parked the Tahoe at Rotary Park in Ketchm and took off heading south. We biked to the end of the trail in Bellevue before reversing course. Naturally, we got rained on for the last stretch of the ride back.
The Wood River Trail winds through the towns of Ketchum/SunValley/Hailey/Bellevue, wooded areas, forests and farm fields. The majority of the trail is fairly flat, with only a few small rolling hills. But on the ride back, we did notice that there was a very minimal incline, which means that the direction heading out we must have been going slightly downhill most of the time. But again, it is not super noticeable. Had it not rained, we likely would have continued biking north to the trailhead at Sage Road, the northern terminus. We biked a total of: 36.5 miles.
When our time in Stanley had come to an end, we spent time at my parent’s ranch in Challis, Idaho before heading to Bear Lake, Idaho/Utah to get out on the water for one day. We parked the Tahoe at Bear Lake State Park ~ East Beach and were finally able to get some decent paddling miles in without any rain. We have kayaked and paddleboarded here numerous times over the years, and it was nice to see the water level higher than the previous time when we visited. We arrived later in the afternoon and kayaked a total of: 12 miles.
FINAL THOUGHTS: No one can control the weather so you just have to take the good with the bad. We were not able to paddle anywhere near the amount of miles that we had hoped for, but we did get some good biking miles in, and on new trails for us. Plus, just being immersed in the mountains and away from work is wonderful!
We have visited Stanley at least once per year for the last six years. However, we do not know if we will be visiting Stanley next year (2024), as our travel plans may not allow that. But who knows?! Maybe we will find good fortune and be able to retire early, thus providing the ability to travel without time constraints.
WHERE IS BASECAMP @ GRAND LAKE HEADED NEXT?
- July 20 – 24: Flaming Gorge, UT
- August 19 – 27: South Lake Tahoe, CA
SOME OF THE GEAR USED: