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Jensen Pass 


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.


1.(00.0km~00.0mi, 1721m~5646ft) 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

Approaches

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 above treeline.

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.


 


Tours

Dayrides. 

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 m3:10/8/1).







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