Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nordheimer Trail Loop

Distance: 24 miles
Climbing: 3,763
Difficulty: Hard
Start: Nordeimer Campground

This ride is hard to categorize. The ride isn't hard because of the climbing or distance. The challenges are numerous including stream crossings, unrideable switch backs, hike-a-bike sections, skinny single track, mosquitoes, rattle snakes, poison oak, and true isolation. Once you drop into the Nordheimer canyon you are really in the middle of nothing where you would be in real trouble without a partner or survival skills. The best way to describe this is an adventure ride. All of the challenges are worth the beauty, isolation, and satisfaction of completing the ride.

If you are going to do this ride I have a few recommendations. First, don't do it alone. Once you drop into the Nordheimer canyon there are only two ways out and that is up or down the trail. Second, bring a few extra items like extra water, food, clothes, and a good map and/or GPS. The mosquitoes were swarming us in August so I recommend some type of bug repellent if you plan on staying in one place for a more that a couple of minutes. Third, plan on doing this ride in the late summer or fall. The stream crossing are difficult to negotiate in the winter and spring due to their large size and no bridges. You will be challenged to keep you feet dry even in the summer or fall.

The route involves 4 miles of road, 12 miles of fire road, and 8 miles of singletrack. Believe it or not, but the 8 miles of single track will take longer to ride than the other 16 miles even though you are descending over 2,000 feet along the way. The first single track section involves some steep narrow trail where you will be skidding your back wheel downslope. The next few miles involves narrow single track that requires intense focus to stay on track. The last 3 or so miles follow an old mining flume, which parallels the slope and rewards you after a challenging day.

0- Start at Nordheimer Campground. If you want to avoid the day use fee drive about 100 yards up the Nordheimer road and park in a turnout at the base of the Orleans Mountain Trail. Head up the Salmon River to Forks of Salmon.
4.0- Turn right onto Cecilville Road.
4.25- Turn right onto Forest Service Road 10N04. Stay on this main road for the next 6 plus miles.
10.7- Continue right onto Forest Service Road 10N03.
11.9- Turn right onto Forest Service Road 10N05.
15.54- ***Turn left onto the Nordheimer Trail. This is an important and difficult turn. The trail is not marked with a sign and it is not obvious. We piled some branches and rocks in the road. The only way Errin Odell found it was by hiking from the bottom. There are no intersections going down the trail, but there are a few places where the trail disappears near the stream crossings.
24.25 End at Nordheimer Campground.

Additional Trail Photos are HERE
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