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Galena Summit

This is one of my favorite roads in Idaho: scenic - but politely gentle. It crosses from the Wood River drainage in the south, to the headwaters of the Salmon and its wild tangled web of streams, canyons and mountains. But up here near the top of the pass the headwaters of the Salmon are very different. It is a cool, peaceful mountain park.

The entire area is part of the Sawtooth National Recreation area. Cars are few, but often tow a train of additional recreational motor vehicles behind them. Everybody seems pretty relaxed.

1.(00.0m,5840ft)START-END SOUTH: Ketchum - center
2.(03.2m,5990Ft)jct wiith Lake Creek Drive
3.(23.8m,7290ft)Galena
4.(30.0m,8707ft)TOP: Galena Summit
5.(34.8m,7420ft)jct with Salmon River Rd on left
6.(37.6m,7230ft)Shirley
7.(61.4m,6390ft)START-END NORTH: jct Id21 - Id75, just east of Stanley


Approaches

From South.
Leaving Ketchum and the ski areas around Sun Valley, Id75 takes its time to leave behind millionair housing hidden in the woods. But many of these have National Forest access roads right behind the mansions.

Finally Id75 enters the Sawtooth National Recreation area. Camping opportunities wait at every dirt road turnoff and around virtually every corner of the road. The road steadfastly follows the Big Wood River. In the spring the ridgelines of the surrounding Boulder Range and Smoky Mountains are outlined with snow. This makes them look higher than they really are. The highest peaks reach between 10200ft and 10700ft. The road just keeps up with the slope of the swiftly flowing river until it reaches a level of seven and a half thousand feet.

Conditions change in the place marked on maps as Galena. Once an mining town, the only thing left today is a state historic sign, offering information on the past number of assay offices, buildings and "hotels". The lodge named Galena has taken its place, and they apparently rent mountain bikes, with which one can explore the nearby trails.

From here, the road also increases in grade, and even makes a curve, that could be called a switchback. But the radius is so large, that you don't actually notice that the direction of travel has reversed, until you see the road just traveled, immediately below. The curves continue. Views onto ridges, lined in white in front of the perfect blue sky from sunrise to sunset - continue. At the top a dirt road to the east climbs a little higher ( see Old Galena Toll Road summit )


From North. (also described upwards). The road on this side is higher and speeds along in straight lines in a big mountain park. Past the turnoff to Alturas Lake the mountains on 270 degrees worth of horizon become more vertical. A whole series of historical markers detail facts about past mining activity, gambling houses, hotels and establishments of related activity. Camps had names like Vienna and Sawtooth

In the western US sometimes names appear on maps, and nothing is there in reality. Here the reverse seems to be the case. In Smiley Creek there is not only a restaurant and a sizable collection of habitats, but also an airport. While I was passing it was busy with small plains parked next to their owners' tents - maybe a convention of some sort. But there is no hint of this on my map.

Approaching a point maybe 3/4 of the way up, the road juts out over the valley and delivers the best combination of views. The Sawtooth Range stretches out in a straight line of ragged peaks towards the north. So that everybody might appreciate this and return from their vacation with identical photos, a large parking lot has been constructed to facilitate stopped automobiles. From here to the gentle top is just a short ride with minimal curvature. Approaching the top you can see an older Toll Road version of this road approach from the west and cross over the highway to the east. The top has a elevation marker with a homemade wood carving look to it, but no names of any sort.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:

COMPLETELY PAVED:

( < FR168 Mill Hollow s(u) | Trail Creek Summit > )

Galena Summit x2 : a short distance up Lake Creek Rd, north of Ketchum <> down Lake Creek Rd <> up Id75 <> Galena <> Galena Summit <> down north side of Id75 << turaround point a short distance up Alturas Lake Rd.
Notes: also included a short distance of unpaved road just from the campsite on Lake Creek Rd. - Along the way I met two biking brothers who where riding something called the Boise Warm Springs Loop. It was their 3rd version of "the Brothers" tour. Both sported Co-motion bikes, solar panels, and Brooks seats, the perfect combination of reliability and fashionably new. An all around perfect day - the drivers at the scenic overlook were in such a good mood they offered me cold water and wanted to talk about bicycling

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Galena Old Toll Road Summit


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