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.

IMG_6098

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

IMG_6099

IMG_6100

IMG_6101

Reaching the top

IMG_6102

Looking back down on Cinnabar

IMG_6103

The final stretch

IMG_6104

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.

IMG_6105

IMG_6106

IMG_6107

IMG_6108

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.

IMG_6076

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

IMG_6077

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 ….

IMG_6082

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.

IMG_6078

IMG_6079

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.

IMG_6080

IMG_6081

IMG_6083

IMG_6084

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

Looking down from the access road

IMG_6085

IMG_6086

IMG_6087

IMG_6088

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

IMG_6089

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

IMG_6090

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

IMG_6091

IMG_6092

IMG_6093

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.

IMG_6095

The view from top is equally as spectacular …

IMG_6096

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?

IMG_6064

Rd 412

IMG_6065

East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon

IMG_6066

Yellow Pine

IMG_6067

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Pine,_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.

IMG_6068

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 …

IMG_6069

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

IMG_6071

Fast with flow ….

IMG_6072

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.

IMG_6074

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 ….

IMG_6075

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.

IMG_6054

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.

IMG_6055

IMG_6056

IMG_6057

Idaho Wilderness

IMG_6058

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

IMG_6059

IMG_6060

IMG_6062

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