This area has lots of great options and we will post more as we explore. This particular loop can be done either direction and offered lots of opportunities to filter water along the way but both ways start with a steep climb out of Big Creek canyon. We opted for the counter clockwise loop starting up trail #44 from the campground. This climb is a hike a bike climbing roughly 900ft in about a mile. Once up to the ridge your rewarded with views into the canyon before dropping over the backside into the East fork of Big Cr. drainage.
Dropping over the ridge sends you down a ripping decent to the creek with a crossing which could be quite high early in the season so take caution. I would recommend doing this ride in July or later due to the amount of creek crossings, none of which have bridges. Once across the creek you follow the creek upstream for several miles up a beautiful canyon to an old cabin. This is a great place to eat, rest and filter water as the trail leaves the creek for the next several miles to the ridge which at several points are very steep and has southern exposure near the top. Once you leave the cabin you come to a fork in the trail and you want to take a left and continue on trail #44 to the pass where FS road 1907 comes to and end.
Once you reach the pass you have the option of taking trail #252 over a ridge back to the beginning of the route with one side option along the way that drops you back onto Big Creek road as well. This is a less travelled trail but looks really promising.
We continued on Trail #44 north towards Bronson Meadows. This was a super fun decent towards the meadow and had all of us hooting and hollering along the way. You'll pass trail 570 on your right at the bottom but you'll continue downhill into the meadow where you'll cross the Middle Fork of Big Creek. This is a sweet spot right here! Your as far away from the start as you'll get on this route and it's very wild feeling. From here you follow the creek downstream.
At this point the trail get a big rockier as you hug the scree fields leading into the edge of the creek. It continues like this for several miles and a couple more creek crossings. After the last crossing you begin your third and final climb. It starts out steep and finally mellows out as it climbs away from the creek. This section spits you out onto the canyon rim with an incredible view looking into the creek with a very steep drop below the trail several hundred feet to the creek. This final decent to the creek is a fun one as well with a mix of flow and tech and definitely sketch. Take your time have fun and remember your in the backcountry miles away from help! Once at the bottom your rewarded with an epic swimming hole. Follow the trail and road back approx. 4 miles back to your car and ice cold beer. Enjoy!
Drive Approx. 25 miles from St. Marie's upstream to Calder. Cross the St. Joe river to Calder and take immediate right turn on a gravel road. Follow road about 4-5 miles till you cross Big Creek at Herrick. Take a right on Scofield road through a small neighborhood then another right turn at the T. Take another immediate left continuing up the creek a couple miles. The trail starts at the Big Creek CCC Campground on the right hand side of the road.
Local Trail Association
Difficulty ratingBlack Diamond
More Stats for Big Creek Drainage Trail #44 to #155 Loop mountain bike route
Altitude min2,297 ft
Altitude start2,306 ft
Altitude end2,297 ft
Distance climb10 miles
Distance down11 miles
Distance flat1 miles
- Snow Packed
- Snow Covered
- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
- Very Dry
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