Palisades Reservoir in extreme eastern Idaho is one of the
few places, where mostly freely accessible national forest
land surrounds a large damned reservoir. The area is
crowded with not only national forest campgrounds, but
also open land, that can be used for less formal camping.
The area abounds with ATVs and noise on holiday weekends.
But there is also a named pass in the area, that at least
during July/2010 was closed to motorized traffic and
perfect for a mountain bike ride.
START-END NORTH: FR58 leaves Palisades Reservoir
2.(04.2km~02.6mi, 1833m~6014ft) route stays left at
jct with FR63
3.(10.9km~06.8mi, 2261m~7420ft) TOP: Jensen Pass
4.(20.0km~12.4mi, 1756m~5761ft) route turns right
onto Mc Coy Creek Rd
5.(23.6km~14.7mi, 1726m~5663ft) START-END SOUTH:
FR58 gets back to Palisades Reservoir
From North. The description begins at the
junction with paved US26. The profile above starts later.
North of Palisades Reservoir a paved road crosses the damn. A
forest road climbs on gravel surface to a junction with
another dirt road leading back down to the Snake River.
Staying left at this fork leads to a traverse above the lake
and finally back down to it, to a second National Forest
campground. The route up Jensen Creek stays left where the
Bear Creek road/trailhead goes right. Finally we leave the
busy reservoir behind us. But in July even all the undeveloped
campsites along Jensen Creek are filled with little circled
wagon camps of trailer residents. At the next junction a sign
points left "3 miles to Jensen Pass". A little later
a barricade closes the road to motorized traffic. A good,
easily bikable dirt road, devoid of the gravel that has
plagued the ride sofar, traverses up above the east side of
Jensen Creek and aims for an obvious gap straight ahead. There
are one or two views down the valley, but the gap does not go
From South. (described downwards). Views are
limited, but the mountains ahead belong to the Snake River
Range on the other side of Snake River. There is one nice,
shady campsite a short distance below the summit. Gravel
returns on the lower part of the descent, before the road
crosses the "closed barrier" on this side. Turning
left along McCoy Creek leads back down to the reservoir and
the profile ends here. However to get back to US26 a few more
small hills along the reservoir need to be completed.
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED ROADS
campsite along Indian Creek, a short distance east of US26 off
Palisades Reservoir > US26 nw > FR58 sw > Jensen Pass
> down McCoy Creek > Alpine > starting point: 54
miles with 4000ft of climbing in 4:4hours. (VDO MC1.0