Long-Awaited McCall, ID, Mountain Bike Trail Opens to Rave Reviews

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McCall, Idaho, is getting a new mountain bike trail and the local community is stoked about it. | Photo courtesy of Dave Bingaman

McCALL, ID (Thursday, June 29, 2023)The countdown is on to the official opening of a new 6.3-mile trail connecting the popular Bear Basin and Brundage Mountain Resort trail systems just outside McCall, Idaho. A mid-mountain ribbon-cutting event will be held at the top of the trail at 3:00 pm on Friday, July 7, 2023, to mark its official opening.

Dubbed the Brundage to Bear Basin Trail #419 (B2BB), the machine-built single-track trail is open to hikers and mountain bikers and links the 30+ mile Brundage Mountain Bike Park with the 15-mile US Forest Service trail system in Bear Basin. The top of the new trail connects to Brundage Mountain’s highly-rated Lakeview Vista trail at 6,900 feet elevation near the intersection with the Growler trail and descends 1,700 vertical feet to Bear Basin’s Ditch Witch trail.

The intermediate trail features natural and manufactured rock sections and a playful mix of smooth lines through meadows and shady forest, along with sweeping views of Meadows Valley, Long Valley, Payette Lake and Salmon River Mountain peaks.

“The new trail is a stellar ride all on its own,” says Central Idaho Mountain Bike Association (CIMBA) project coordinator, Dave Bingaman. “But what makes it a true game changer are the connections it creates. Mountain bikers can piece together some of the area’s top routes and create longer rides that take the McCall area mountain biking experience to the next level.”

Construction underway for the trail. | Photo courtesy of Dave Bingaman

Combining this trail with the Rock Garden and Lakeview Vista Trails from the top of Brundage Mountain Resort gives mountain bikers an entertaining 2,400 ft descent on 11.6 miles of mostly downhill, flowy single track.

“The ride from the top of Brundage Mountain all the way down through Bear Basin is easily one of the coolest rides in the state of Idaho,” says Bingaman.

The trail also offers some bigger loop opportunities when connected to the Payette Rim Trail and recently completed West Side leg of the Payette Lake trail, which comprise an additional 18 miles of scenic single track.

Construction on the Brundage to Bear Basin trail began in spring of 2022 and wrapped up last October, allowing the trail to winter over under the snow. CIMBA volunteers and the Brundage Mountain Trail crew worked alongside some of the leading bike trail builders in the world to complete the route. Progressive Trail Design from Bentonville, Arkansas and Dirt Candy Designs from Grand Marais, Minnesota each took the lead on a section of the trail. These contractors specialize in sustainable trail design that focuses on connecting people with their environment.”Prepare to have your mind blown!” says One Track Mind Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer, Tracy Paradise. “We are absolutely bursting with excitement as we celebrate the long-awaited opening of this breathtaking trail. It’s been a journey of anticipation, and now we can finally embark on a whole new level of adventure by joining these larger systems. Get ready for an awe-inspiring experience that will leave you breathless and exhilarated!”

The Brundage to Bear Basin trail has been in the works for more than a decade. It was originally conceived by Payette National Forest recreation staff in 2009.  It was included in a larger landscape restoration project for the Greater Bear Basin area in 2011, but it was put on hold due to a lack of funding.

The project came back to life in 2019 when CIMBA partnered with the One Track Mind Foundation on the design of the trail. In 2021, the Payette National Forest granted final approval for the trail, and the group was able to begin construction in 2022 thanks to the partnership and support of the JA and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, the Idaho Community Foundation, the Richard J. Sabala Foundation, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the IMBA Dig-In Program and the City of McCall.

“This new trail is an example of what a community can accomplish when we work together toward a common goal”, says Brundage Mountain Resort General Manager, Ken Rider. “From the vision and design to the funding, and ultimately, the construction, it took a village to build this trail and we’re excited for the rest of the community to enjoy it for years to come.”

Trail Stats: #419 Brundage to Bear Basin

Length:  Varies depending on where you start. 14-16 milesSeason:  Summer-FallTime:  2-4 hoursTechnical:  IntermediateAerobic:  Moderate to strenuousLand Status: National ForestTrailhead:  Payette Rim trailhead, Bear Basin trailhead (lower parking lot)

Notes: The trail is multi-use and multi-directional. It is closed to motorized use but hikers, trail runners, and equestrians may be encountered on the lower section. Uphill traffic is not recommended Friday through Sunday. Users can access the trail by parking at either of the Bear Basin parking areas, the Payette Rim parking area on FS 451 Rd, or the trail crossing at FS 452 Rd. The trail can also be accessed via the Brundage Mountain Bike Park. The recommended uphill route is on the FS 488 to its end at the Brundage Bike Park’s Growler Trail, from there proceed uphill to the start of the B2BB on Lakeview Vista.

BMR2BB. | Photo courtesy of Dave Bingaman

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