The Stanley Lake Trailhead is the jumping-off point for this great mountain bike ride that circumnavigates Elk Mountain. Lady Face Falls is the first of several hikes up the Stanley Lake Canyon (which is also open to mountain bikes and can be combined with this adventure). The Elk Mountain Ride also uses portions of the Elk Meadow Trail out Elk Creek, the next major drainage to the north.
A moderate but non-technical dirt road climb that accesses several miles of flowing singletrack and outstanding wildflower meadows make this one of the best mountain bike rides in the Sawtooths. Bikers looking for an extra workout can easily add an additional 500 feet of climbing up the old mining roads to the Sawtooth Overlook for a great view across Stanley Lake into the north couloirs of McGown Peak. In June the yellow blooms of arrowleaf balsamroot often decorate the south slopes of the initial climb. The loop is best ridden counter-clockwise. Note that portions of the trail along Elk Meadow can be very wet through June, so please avoid the trail in late spring and early summer.
Hiking distances and ascents are as follows:
• Elk Mountain Loop: 11.2 miles, 746 feet.
• Elk Mountain mining road extension adds: 2.8 miles, 500 feet.
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