Motojournal No. 11: Scott Mountain and Deadwood Reservoir

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In previous Motojournals, I have explored Warren, Placerville, Garden Valley and Round Valley. Deadwood Reservoir is the final piece of this region's puzzle—and a mighty fine piece it is.

Nestled high up in the Boise National Forest, Deadwood offers recreationists everything imaginable and just a few hours from Boise: fishing, boating, hiking, camping, backpacking and trails for riding horses and dirt bikes.

Getting there: Leaving Boise around 8 p.m., I made my way up Highway 55 to Banks-Lowman Road through the dusk of a mid-week evening. I stayed at a friend's cabin in Crouch for the night, where I rigged the War Pig (my Honda Transalp) for the next day's journey. A quick breakfast at the Garden Valley Market and I was on my way out Banks-Lowman Road to the Scott Mountain turnoff 13 miles up the South Fork of the Payette River.

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The road in to Deadwood Reservoir is narrow and covers some very steep grades. Ascending Scott Mountain to an elevation of 8,000-plus feet left me stunned. From this height, I could see firsthand how the Sawtooth Mountains to the northeast got their name: The silhouettes of jagged ridge lines overlap one another as far as the eye can see.

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From Scott Mountain, 16 miles of ridge-to-canyon road takes you to the dam that bottlenecks the Deadwood River and forms the reservoir.

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I rode around the dam and past an airstrip to a spot where some friends had set up a massive camp. Campers, horses, bikes, boats—all the finer things in life.

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Beyond Deadwood to the north is Warm Lake and the way to Cascade, the remote town of Yellowpine or all the way to Warren. Alternately, a single-track trail system goes over to Silver Creek Plunge, which runs back to Crouch, Boiling Springs or north to Round Valley on Road 670-600. You can also reach the Boundary Creek area near Stanley from Deadwood, which runs into a vast road-and-trail system that spans the Sawtooth Mountains. However you choose to connect the dots, the Boise-Valley County road systems offer some amazing opportunities for recreation and exploring and act as the gateway to many of Idaho's best kept secrets.

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Total distance: 198 miles, 71 on dirt

Check out Andrew Mentzer's 2012 around the world motorcycle tour at transworldtour.com or backroadmag.com.


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