Cinnabar – Part 4 (Monumental Summit)

After exploring the extensive site of Cinnabar, my next objective is the proceeding ridge above and behind the old ghost town. An ATV track exits the site to the rear and continues the climb to the top via a number of switchbacks.


The switchbacks are not overly difficult or the track all that steep, but loose rock is a factor in some sections.

Overlooking the Cinnabar Drainage




Reaching the top


Looking back down on Cinnabar


The final stretch


The track crests the top of the ridge before dropping down the backside then reconnecting with Rd 375. Rd 375 is the main road through Stibnite … this offers two options for one visiting Cinnabar who wants to venture further… ride the switchbacks up, or backtrack to the main road through Stibnite … they do reconnect.

Monumental Summit is a short run once back on Rd 375 …. Rd 375 continues past the summit into an easement of the Frank Church. A few more sites of interest exist past the summit… Thunder Mountain, as the once was site of Roosevelt Lake.

A bit of history here …

Evidently the thriving boom town was the victim of a substantial mud slide that in effect dammed up nearby Monumental Creek … the town slowly disappeared to the depths of the newly formed lake with building remnants still visible today below the lakes surface.

I intend to make a return soon find the end of this road, but today I’m more focused on Meadow Creek Lookout.





Next stop … Meadow Creek Lookout

Cinnabar Proper – Part 3 (Ghost Towns)

Upon reaching the entrance to Stibnite …. I note a primitive two track turning to the left up Sugar Creek. I make my turn off and proceed. This scenic two track is a pleasant relief from the wider forest service roads I’ve been on thus far.


The track runs for maybe a mile or so before crossing the creek and starting the climb up towards Cinnabar Peak.


This crossing could have some splash to it on a normal run off year. This years light snow pack keeps the creek to an easy level.

The road continues it’s climb with the surface becoming busy in spots with loose rock, but plenty manageable.

I continue my climb up until the first buildings come into view ….


Cinnabar has been classified by the Forest Service as a contaminated site …. largely due to the fact that they actually mined mercury here from the local minerals. It’s been proving difficult to find information regarding the activity of this mine, but I believe that it was active into the 1960’s.

Just past the first set of buildings I find my parking spot at city center.



The many buildings indicate a thriving past operation with a numerous work force …. and my guess being construction as the second largest contributor to this once was economy.





I leave the bike parked … City Center …. and hike up an access road towards the  mill.

Looking down from the access road





View back down the access road …. my bike is parked on the mound just left of the aligned buildings.


I hike past the old mill reconnecting to the main road. I head back down with the road passing some even larger buildings.


If these buildings could talk I’m sure there would be some stories to tell!




Back on the lower landing I decide it’s time to move forward … nails are my primary concern given the amount of wood/building debris scattered around the area.


The view from top is equally as spectacular …


My next objective is to make the climb up towards the ridge above and the 8500′ Monumental Summit.

Cinnabar – Part 2 (Yellow Pine)

The intersection of 674 and 412 was a welcome arrival…. trajectory will point east now towards the city center of Yellow Pine.  Combat fisherman now in my mirror … the pace picks up as I travel the 15 miles along the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon …. how many forks was that?


Rd 412


East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon


Yellow Pine


Yellow Pine was established as a trading and supply point for the many area mines …. today, it acts more as a stopping point for recreationists and adventure travelers with an open restaurant, bar, lodging, etc.,_Idaho

One claim to fame each August for Yellow Pine is their annual Harmonica Festival that has gain national recognition.

Moving through the rush hour masses …. I continue North/Northeast along 412 to the Big Creek/Stibnite intersection.


This part of the route is currently part of the IDBDR. Turning north on 340 through Big Creek then will connect you over Elk Summit, Warren, Burgdorf then either into McCall of down French Creek into Riggins.

Today I continue East on 412 …


412 from this point is a surprisingly narrow two track given the mine traffic of the past ….


Fast with flow ….


9 miles pass and I arrive at the entrance of Stibnite. Cinnabar being my destination … I will make a left onto an ATV/Jeep track.


Stibnite Mine is not currently being worked other than reclamation and continued exploration. I’ve been told that they have been drilling old tailing piles from the past finding decent amounts of gold ….


Next up Cinnabar ….

Cinnabar or Bust – Part 1 (South Fork of the Salmon)

Part of my ride objectives for this season is to make it to destinations not yet visited … the old mining ghost town of Cinnabar meets that criteria.

Located approx. 20 miles east of Yellow Pine Idaho, Cinnabar sits within the shadow of the 8600′ Cinnabar Peak. Rustic buildings of a mining past that have withstood many harsh winters, still stand with authority within the local landscape.

My ride today will actually start about 2 hrs from home …. trailering my bike to a location just north of Warm Lake along the South Fork of the Salmon.


Rd 674 winds north as a single lane paved road … such a road would be great fun other than the hoards of combat fisherman essentially squatting along the entire 30 mile section of road. Evidently the intoxicating lure of Salmon will cloud ones mind enough to believe that setting your tent in the road way is a good idea?

Squatting fisherman aside …. the view along this stretch, even though burned, has a perplexing and rugged beauty.




Idaho Wilderness


The road winds continuously along the river sometimes drifting away, but always making it’s way back alongside.




…. next stop, if I survive the blind corners, the intersection of 674 and 412