Driveway Gulch Hike

Pioneer Mountains

Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

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Driveway Gulch Hike

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  • Driveway Gulch begins in the steep, heavily timbered canyon (on the north facing aspect) in the center right of this photo. It climbs to the lower left of the photo.- Driveway Gulch Hike
  • A view from a knob partway up the climb. The high peaks of the Pioneers are just peeking into view.- Driveway Gulch Hike
  • An old sheep watering trough in a hanging meadow two-thirds of the way up the trail.- Driveway Gulch Hike
  • Looking down the jeep road that drops into Indian Creek.- Driveway Gulch Hike
  • The top of Driveway Gulch with the high snow-capped peaks of the Pioneer Mountains.- Driveway Gulch Hike
  • One of the best views of the high peaks of the Pioneers is from the  top of Driveway Gulch.- Driveway Gulch Hike
  • The view from a small peak just south and east from the top of the hike/ride.- Driveway Gulch Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning views of the Pioneer Mountains. Less popular. Early season hiking and riding.
Cons: 
Open to motorcycles. Can be wet in places.
Region:
Sun Valley + Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,441.00 ft (439.22 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
5.40 mi (8.69 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,340.00 ft (1,932.43 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Cove Creek Overview

The swath of land from Cove Creek south to the Little Wood Reservoir is characterized by rolling hills and complicated drainages typical of a volcanic range. Sandwiched between steep valleys to the east and west, the region is crisscrossed by numerous four-wheel drive roads and the occasional singletrack trail. 

Since most of the routes lie below 7,500 feet, the area dries out earlier and offers a plethora of spring and early summer loops for motorcycles and mountain bikes. While the riding is primarily on roads, the rolling green hills and dramatic backdrop of the snow-covered Pioneer Mountains provide spectacular scenery from the many vistas. 

In the fall, riders exploring the region will enjoy flaming orange and yellow colors as pockets of aspen trees change color with the season. The willows that line nearly every stream bank turn a burnt orange, lending even more highlights to an otherwise yellow and brown landscape. 

The area is managed by the Forest Service and BLM, with several pockets of private and state land sprinkled throughout.  Please review the travel management objectives of both agencies and respect the private landowners in the region.

Driveway Gulch

The motorcycle community developed the trail over several years, but it also makes a nice hike or mountain bike ride. The view from the top is arguably the best trail-accessible perspective of the high peaks of the Pioneer Mountains. Driveway is also a great fall hike when its many drainages are filled with colorful aspens.

Climb up a narrow canyon along the south side of the creek. After three-quarters of a mile the canyon spreads into many different fingers as it transitions into the Challis Volcanic landscape. A rocky crux leads to a long switchback through aspens and an open saddle west of Point 7,186. 

Traverse through fir trees into the next drainage where the trail crosses several springs and can be quite wet in the early season. Please tread carefully here. After the springs, climb through a narrow talus gorge, past a water trough, and through several switchbacks to the saddle with Indian Creek.

Additional Adventures

From here there are several options: traverse west to the end of the Indian Creek Road where you can hike/ride to the top of Mindbender Ridge (Point 8,753), or descend Indian Creek Road, which eventually leads to the bike path along Highway 75.  The descent of Driveway Gulch is part of the longer Moran to Driveway Loop mountain bike ride.

Mountain Biking

The Driveway Gulch Trail can be ridden on a mountain bike. It is a fine there-and-back ride, but the better option is to descend the smooth singletrack of Driveway Gulch after climbing up Moran Gulch in a longer loop.

Reference: All content excerpted from Exploring Sun Valley - A Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder, Pioneer, and Smoky Mountains by Idaho River Publications.

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(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with Idaho River Publications

Our mission is to inspire adventure with beautiful, comprehensive and waterproof map-based guidebooks.  Owner, publisher, and photographer Matt Leidecker, grew up exploring and guiding on the rivers in central Idaho.  His award winning Middle Fork of the Salmon River – A Comprehensive Guide is the standard by which other river guidebooks are measured.  Printed on virtually indestructible YUPO paper, IRP guides are truly unique all-in-one resources for adventure.  Each book is loaded with full-color maps, stunning photographs, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers.  Visit Idaho River Publications to explore our guidebooks to the Rogue River in Oregon and the mountains of Central Idaho.

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