HomeTrailsExperience Remote Wilderness Adventure On These Idaho ATV Trails

Experience Remote Wilderness Adventure On These Idaho ATV Trails

Idaho ATV Trails

Danskin Mountain Trail System – Mountain Home Idaho

Idaho ATV Trails:  Danskin Mountain Trail System location map

Total Trail Miles: 150 miles
Skill Level: Varied
Fee: None (ID OHV sticker required)
Usage: Moderate
Open: 4/11 to 1/1 (weather permitting)
Vehicles Allowed: ATVs <50″, motorcycles

Idaho ATV Trails:  Danskin Mountain Trail System Map

The Danskin Mountain OHV riding area is open to only ATVs less than 50″ and motorcycles. Unfortunately there are no trails available for vehicles wider than 50″.

Located on 60,000 acres with 150 miles open to off roading, this is a great riding area. Plus, its only about 50 miles outside of Boise, so it’s convenient for a quick get away.

Dirt bikers can enjoy dozens of OHM only trails that are rated primarily moderate to difficult. In fact, it looks like about 60% of the trails are OHM only and the remaining 40% open to both ATVs and OHM.

High desert area with no trees, so it gets a lot of sun. This is why it’s able to open so early in the year. However, the downside is that you get baked in the summer, so the shoulder seasons are your best bet for a visit.

3 Trailheads/Sections:

Bender Creek Trailhead (Access to #300 trails)/Three Point Mountain Trailhead (Access to #500 trails): These trailheads have both ATV and motorcycle access. Motorcycles can ride on the ATV trails and enjoy miles of OHM only trails as well.

The ATV trails are rated easy and moderate, but the OHM only trails are rated moderate and difficult.

The trails from both trailheads link up with routes and loops of varying lengths, so it doesn’t really matter which trailhead you use.

Although motorcyclists can use this trailhead, Willow Creek is overall a better option for OHMs.

Willow Creek Trailhead (Access to #400 trails): This trailhead is only open to motorcycles, there is no ATV access. Willow Creek has dozens of trail miles open to OHM only. Plus, these trails interconnect with all the #300 and #500 ATV/OHM trails.

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These OHM routes are rated moderate and difficult.

Danskin Trail System Map

Idaho ATV Trails:  Danskin Mountain Trail System

Island Park ATV Trails / West Yellowstone – Island Park ID

Idaho ATV Trails: Island Park location map

Total Trail Miles: 615 miles
Skill Level: Varied
Fee: None (ID OHV sticker required)
Usage: Moderate – Heavy
Open: Summer (weather dependent/some trails open to snowmobiles in the winter)
Vehicles Allowed: SxS, ATVs, motorcycles, full size (depends on route)

Idaho ATV Trails: Island Park OHV trail map North
Island Park OHV/ATV Map – North (Idaho & Montana)
Idaho ATV Trails: Island Park OHV trail map south
Island Park OHV/ATV Map – South

Located a half hour from West Yellowstone, Island Park is the busiest entry point to Yellowstone National Park. The region has long been popular with fly fisherman, but for most people, it’s a pass through location on the way to Yellowstone and better things. A place to stay when West Yellowstone motels filled up.

But, over the years, more people have come to recognize that Island Park is a worthy destination all on it’s own, not just because it’s close to Yellowstone. In addition to fly fishing, visitors can enjoy hiking, off roading, wildlife viewing, golf, horseback riding. In the winter, it’s a popular destination for snowmobiling and cross country skiing.

Because US Hwy 20 serves as Island Park’s main street, they claim the distinction of having “the longest Main Street in America.” At 33 miles long, it is a bit different from most towns. But, there are campgrounds/motels/fishing resorts/cabin rentals throughout, so you won’t have any difficulty finding a place to stay.

There are also plenty of places for jumping on and off the trails. Surrounded by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, off roaders have 615 miles of trails and roads to explore.

Our Favorite ATV Trails In Island Park Idaho

Continental Divide ATV Trail
  • Trail Miles: 32 miles (out and back)
  • Travel Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

Sweeping views await you as you climb from Henrys Lake to Red Rock Pass at an elevation of 7120′. Snowy peaks provide a dramatic backdrop as the trees thin out on the ride up. As you traverse the high alpine landscape with open grassy meadows, you’ll feel like you’re riding at the top of the world.

Elk Lake Trail
  • Trail Miles: 44 miles (out and back)
  • Travel Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

This trail has the same start point as the Continental Divide ATV Trail, just south of Henrys Lake. You’ll get off the beaten path on this adventure in the remote Montana backcountry.

Enjoy the wildlife and scenery or treat yourself to lunch at the Elk Lake Resort, served daily from 12-1pm.

This video shows the ride to Elk Lake, but with a start point at the West fork of the Madison at Lyons Bridge off Hwy 287. We start our ride at Henrys Lake which is closer to Island Park.

Island Park Motorized Recreation Map – North (free download from Avenza Maps)

Island Park Motorized Recreation Map – South (free download from Avenza Maps)

  • Idaho does not honor out of state OHV registration
  • Resident and non-residents require a an OHV sticker
  • OHV stickers can be purchased online or in person
  • Idaho requires a valid drivers license to operate an OHV on US Forest Service roads or you must take an IDPR-approved OHV safety course
  • Idaho requires adult supervision of riders 15 and younger
  • DOT approved helmets are required for <18 operators and passengers
  • Muffler (at or below 96dB) and Forest Service approved spark arrestor required

Mackay Idaho ATV Trails

Idaho ATV Trails: Mackay Idaho location map

Total Trail Miles: 100+
Skill Level: Varied
Fee: None (ID OHV sticker required)
Usage: Light to Moderate
Open: late Spring – early Fall (weather dependent)
Vehicles Allowed: ATVs, SxS, full size

Idaho ATV Trails: Mackay Idaho off roading trail map

With a population just over 500, Mackay Idaho is a small town surrounded by other small towns. And while it may be lacking in big town amenities, it more than makes up for it with lovely people, small town charm and natural beauty.

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ATV Capital of Idaho

Mackay is an ATV friendly town – they allow OHVs on all city streets and alleys. They’ve embraced off-roading in a big way, even going as far as trademarking ‘ATV Capital of Idaho’ and ‘ATV Capital of the West’.

You can ride from the town right onto 100s of miles of trails and roads in the Big and Little Lost River Valleys. But, the whole area is full of great riding opportunities. The wilderness corridor from Salmon Idaho to Mackay Idaho has some of the best Idaho ATV trails with over 600 miles trails and roads to explore.

Mackay provides a dramatic backdrop for riding. Surrounded by 15 of the highest mountain peaks in Idaho, riders have virtually endless opportunities for adventure. There are canyons, abandoned mines, lakes, meadows and rivers that pepper the region.

MacKay Idaho ATV Trails

Idaho ATV Trails:  Mackay Idaho ATVing
Visit Idaho Photo Credit: Meg Allen

To explore some of the best routes in the region, check out the Rally In The Pines held right up the road in Challis, Idaho. Held early in July, this popular ATV jamboree has trail rides from scenic to challenging – something for everyone.

Caribou Loop Trail – Soda Springs/Montpelier ID

Idaho ATV Trails: Caribou Loop Trail location map

Total Trail Miles: 200 miles
Skill Level: Varied (mostly easy)
Fee: None (ID/WY OHV sticker required)
Usage: Light
Open: June/July (at higher elevation) – late October/November (weather dependent)
Vehicles Allowed: OHV/SxS < 66″, ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobile, non-motorized use

Idaho ATV Trails: Caribou Loop Trail Map

This trail has it all: high desert, rivers, wildflowers, ranch land, rolling hills and mountains.

Caribou Loop Trail is a 200 mile loop that connects southeast Idaho to Wyoming. This main loop consists of 95% old forest service roads loosely “maintained”. It’s mostly a pretty good road, but potholes and rough parts should be expected. Main loop is easy to follow with signs every 3 miles.

Most of the main route would qualify as easy, but riders looking for something more challenging will have ample opportunities. There are hundreds of additional spur trails that intersect with the Caribou Loop including ATV < 50″ trails and motorcycle trails for all skill levels.

5 Trailheads With Overnight Parking

  1. Tincup/Bridge Creek @mile 101.3 on Hwy34
  2.  McCoy Creek/Bone Rd parking
  3. McCoy Creek/Hwy 89 parking
  4. Alpine/Greys River parking
  5. Smiths Fork trail head parking

Although you could power through and do this loop in a day, it’s recommended that you take a couple days to really enjoy it. This will allow you to relax and also leave plenty of time for exploring.

With several campgrounds along the route, this is a great route for a fun multiday adventure. But, if you don’t like to rough it, lodging, food and gas are available in Alpine and Afton in Wyoming. Box Y Ranch is accessible by OHV and a fun option for a backcountry stay.

There is no fee for riding, but vehicles are required to have a ID/WY OHV sticker or be registered. Drivers on the main loop must have a valid drivers license.

Most of this loop is open by June 1. But, the higher sections of Willow/Barns Creek and Commissary Ridge Pass may not be passable until July 1. These high elevations sections also close earlier too, sometimes as early as November 1.

Caribou Loop Trail

Magruder Road Corridor – Elk City ID

Idaho ATV Trails: Magruder Road Corridor location map

Total Trail Miles: 101 miles (one way)
Skill Level: Easy/moderate
Fee: None (ID OHV sticker required)
Usage: Moderate
Open: July-October
Vehicles Allowed: ATVs, SxS, full size & pickup trucks (high clearance), motorcycles, mountain bikes

Idaho ATV Trails: Magruder Road Corridor trail map

Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, this road takes you through some of the most remote, unspoiled wilderness in the lower 48.

Travel through two major wilderness areas, the 1.2 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to the north, and the 2.3-million acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to the south. Combined, these two wildernesses make up over 11% of the congressionally established wilderness area in the 48 contiguous states, an area twice as large as the combined states of Delaware and Rhode Island.

It’s a single lane dirt road with pull outs for oncoming traffic. It’s open to all vehicles, but a high clearance vehicle is a necessity.

Most of the route is fairly easy, maybe about 90%, with the rest being moderate. The biggest worry is oncoming traffic and figuring out how to pull over and/or pass. There are a few rocky sections, but nothing too difficult. It is however a steep, twisty turny, mountain road, so the going is slow.

Although travel is possible as early as June, to avoid snow, the best time to drive Magruder Road Corridor is July-October.

Magruder Road Corridor Camping

Plan on taking 6-8 hours to drive the entire route one way. And that’s straight driving, not stopping to check out the sights. For a sightseeing tour with several stops along the way, plan on 11 hours. It’s more enjoyable as a two day trip while enjoying a stay at one of the seven back country campgrounds located on the road.

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These remote Forest Service campgrounds are well spread out along the road. It’s rustic camping with little to no amenities – pack it in, pack it out.

Camping is free, first come, first serve. Some of these campgrounds have picnic tables, but not all of them. All of them do have vault toilets though. Only the first campground on the Idaho side, Granite Springs Campground has water available.

Magruder Road Corridor campground

Magruder Road Corridor

Magruder Road Corridor
Samuel Chou | Flickr

Featured Image Idaho ATV Trails by Samuel Chou | Flickr

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