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Galena Old Toll Road Trail s(u)

The Old Galena Toll Road roughly parallels the modern highway, crossing over it twice. It also goes a little higher than today's paved road. Following this option, there is still a little mandatory pavement, but very little. The parallel unpaved option exists between the junction with Salmon River Road and a short distance above Galena Lodge. One side is an abandoned road made into a single track trail, the other an easily bikable dirt road, free of gravel. There are a number of dirt roads in the summit area, so that the summit point on the profile is slightly different than the summit point on the Toll Road Trail itself.

1.(00.0m,7430ft) START-END NORTH: low point immediately past jct Id75 - Salmon River Rd
2.(04.4m,8640ft)Old Toll Rd crosses from new Hihgway from south to north
4.(06.0m,8390ft)Old Toll Rd crosses new Highway from north to south
5.(09.0m,7480ft)Old Toll Rd Trail ends on new Highway
6.(10.0m,7350ft)START-END SOUTH: Galena


From North.
Just at the point where the Galena Summit road starts climbing out of the Sawtooth Valley, a good dirt road explores the headwaters of the Salmon River, appropriately named and signed Salmon River Road. The profile starts at that junction. A short distance later, the profile turns onto FR220 on the left. This is a narrow ungraveled, very bike friendly road.

While the new highway makes a single large meander to the north, the old road works the sage slope with switchbacks. In a way it's less dangerous, because you don't have to turn your head back to check for a view. You just wait for the next switchback. In June there is a much wider variety of wildflowers to choose from to serve as foreground for scenery pictures.

Soon the road enters forest, but windows onto the scenery appear periodically. For the last part before the first crossing, the two roads parallel, the old road slowly catching up in elevation, before one more switchback leads to the first crossing, immediately below the summit of the highway.

Now above the new highway, the dirt road becomes very steep for a short distance. The option shown on the profile leads to an unsigned turnoff onto an abandoned road, immediately behind an environmental measurement station. It is easy to miss the turnoff and probably also advisable

It is advisable because going straight leads to the end of an interesting scenic spur at 9000ft. Walking up an additional 200ft you reach the top of the hill with a panoramic view, the Sawtooth Valley with all its ranges on one side, Borah Peak peaking above the Boulder Mtns on the other. And below you can make out the roadbed of the Old Toll Road trail. Also - this view provides confidence, that the small abandoned trail behind the measuring station ( at the easily missied turnoff) actually goes somewhere.

From South. (described downwards). As it turns out this innocuous turnoff in the forest is actually the highest point, not counting the out and back part mentioned above. A small hill reaching 8900ft separates this summit from that of the new highway.

After several hundred ft on this faint trail, it merges onto the Old Toll Road Trail. This is an abandoned road that has been reeducated as a single track trail. It follows close enough to the road so that you can hear the traffic. It also contains a few extra switchbacks.

Approaching the next highway crossing, the old road bed has been wiped out completely by the new roadcut. Getting down to the road involves a short steep trail. When riding on the road and looking for this spot, it is very hard to find the first time. There are no signs, and only the trail on the lower side of the road is easily visible, especially from higher up on the highway.

Up to this point going has been slow on this trail, due to rock slides, maybe 20 trees lying across the road and general abandonment. On the next part below the highway, things do not get any better. Not until the trail approaches Galena Lodge does the going get faster.

The last return to the highway involves a crossing of the here tiny Wood River on a makeshift bridge of logs and plywood. The trail ends at a very small dirt turnout on the highway. The only very small signs at this point point out ski trails to Galena Lodge and another place.

Slideshow 1: Old Galena Toll Road

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Dayride with this point as highest summit:


( <  Trail Creek Summit | Banner Summit > )

Galena Old Toll Rd Trail s(u) , Galena Summit : Chemekatan area on Salmon River Road > down Salmon River Rd > up FR220 > Galena Old Toll Rd s(u) <> out and back to end of road on hill > down Old Toll Rd trail > Galena Lodge <> short out and back on Gladiator Rd >> up south side of Galena Summit > Galena Summit > down north side of Galena Summit > back to starting point on Salmon River Rd: 28.2miles with 3320ft of climbing in 4:10hrs (garmin etre30: m5:17.6.27)
Notes: extremly slow  going because of dozens of trees across trail; day also included a walk on the north side of Galena Old Toll Rd Trail s(u)

Historical Notes:

The Furtrading Period:
Today most visitors arrive at the pass from the south. But as far as the Anglo American world was concerned, it was actually discovered from the north. In 1834 the Hudson Bay Company already had a base as far south as Challis Id. Alexander Ross had explored the Stanley Basin still north of here, and as an afterthought, unwilling to turn back, crossed the pass on Oct 6, 1824 traversing today's highway route approximately between Salmon and Bellevue.

The Gold and Silver Rush:
It took two years after the first gold and silver was found in the Galena area for the toll road to come into existence. The year was 1881. For a few years a stage service connected Haley with the 800 people of Galena and its four general stores, singular shoe store and several saloons. It took two days to cross to the Sawtooth Valley.

Two years after a strong decline in silver prices, in1890, the old town was well on its way to being a ghost town. The next version of the road came in 1919. It is interesting to note that old store at the Galena site has a much longer history than the town itself. It operated between 1924 and 1960.

Slideshow2: Pictures taken from the walk-up summit ~200ft above the road summit

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow