Closest Towns: Baker City (30min), La Grande (1hr), Boise (2.5 Hr)
Ride Format: Out and back.
Trail Style: Backcountry trail riding…rugged.
Giggle Rating: ****
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Ideal Bike: Trail Bike.
Wet Conditions: Good, but watch the cliffs!
Overview: The Dutch Flat trail does not see much action from the bicycle contingent, but that doesn’t mean you should stay away. This thing has a wilderness feel, eventually topping out a glacier-carved valley at a wilderness boundary near Dutch Flat Lake. Granite slabs, a gorgeous meadow, and an idyllic lake all beckon, but you will have to struggle a bit to complete the tale. Typically done as an out and back, the steepest and most exposed granite outcrops will likely repel your attempts to clean it on the way up, but on the way down….rocky, chundery bliss. To summarize this summary, the pain of the approach will be richly rewarded by top-notch scenery, a dip in an alpine lake, and a sick seven+-mile descent. Raw it may be, but this is a great little adventure, and is easily one of TDM’s personal favorite trails…anywhere.
Pros: The scenery, the lake and meadow at the top, and the descent that follows all rock, no pun intended.
Cons: It is probably best done as an out and back since the access from above traverses through wilderness. Though much of the ascent takes place on relatively easy, low gradient tread, the steep bits near the start and end of the climb are actually pretty brutal, nearly causing a bit of a divorce the first time Pinky and TDM tried it out. Luckily the descent healed all wounds, and created a fine bonding moment that lasted for seven miles…worth it, but not everyone will think so!
Need to Know: If you like rugged trails that have a wilderness feel, this is your rig, but don’t assume it to be a pushover. If you never got to do Idaho’s Ant’s Basin before it was declared wilderness, this is probably the best consolation TDM can think of…either way this is one of the best legal trails in the region.
Other Rides in the area: Elkhorn Crest Trail (****),Twin Lakes Trail (***), Anthony Lakes/Black Lake/Angell Pk.(**)
Links, Maps & Media
LaGrandeRide (a great resource for the area): https://www.lagranderide.com/trail/mountain-bike/dutch-flat-trail-1607-mtb