Rooks Creek Trail #145: This trail has a seasonal designation for motorcycle and e-bike use and is open to those uses from May 1 to August 29 of each year.
The KRD has been continuing repairs to Rooks in August of 2020. The work is ongoing, but the trail is open. Steep expert trail. Technical demanding rock and creek crossings. You will get beat up and scratched and thrown around on this rough route.
A super demanding and rugged trail that will have even the most experienced trail users huffing and puffing and working to stay on track. The lower miles are mellow, but once past the open meadows, where some old mining structures remain, the gulch narrows down and you start to get a flavor for things to come. You will find steep climbs on steep side-sloping terrain, where a slip could put you down in creek, that at times, is far below. Or rock garden challenges with boulders to negotiate through, or big step-up sections of rock that make you wonder how motorcyclists and horseback riders even get up and over them. It's all part of this rowdy trail.
Motorcyclists find this trail to be a challenging expert only affair. Electric mountain bikers likewise use the trail, but only if their eMTB includes a "walk-assist" mode. You better have walk-mode, because the climbing is so steep that you will need help pushing your 50 pound eMTB up Rook's The trail includes many steep ups and downs. It's a monster climb from the low end to the top, and in the opposite direction, as a descent off of Osberg, it has some serious little climbs to deal with in that direction too.
Rooks has as a seasonal designation for motorcycle and e-bike use and is open to those uses from May 1 to August 29 of each year.
In 2007, the Castle Rock Fire exploded up Rooks Creek, torching much of the drainage. Then the area received some very heavy rains with debis flows wiping out entire sections of the trail. Avalanches in subsequent winters further damaged the trail.
Back in the day, there was a lot of mining activity on the slopes of the nearby Boyle Mountain, and a few structures remain in the bottom of Rooks Creek. Three miles up the trail the remnants of some old mining structures are visible in the open meadow lands found about three miles up the trail. A little past the meadows and the trail really starts to kick up.
Much of the landscape is burned forest, but the hillsides are greening up more each year. High up, parts of the trail are still heavy with willows that make passing a scratchy affair, but these areas of encroaching plants are not long or too numerous. These less maintained areas, and the most rugged and degraded sections of the trail are found higher up, above the area that the Ketchum Ranger District Trail Crew has been making repairs on Rooks in 2020.
The route encounters a massive landslide about 4 miles up the trail. Here, the KRD Trail Crew has worked out a challenging way through. Above the rockslide the trail had to be rerouted to avoid a massive area of avalanche debris. The debris pile that the trail now avoids is clearly in view across the drainage. Also evident is the old trail, where it used to run on that heavily impacted side of the canyon.
Directions: Heading north on Main Street/Hwy 75 in downtown Ketchum, bear left at the fork onto Warm Springs Road and follow it to the end of the pavement (4.7 miles). Stay on the main dirt road to Rooks Creek Road #021 on the right. (from Ketchum - 8.1 miles). Turn right to reach the start of Rooks Creek Trail. If driving to the trail, park in the large open area near the bottom of the trail. Make room for others. Some may be towing trailers, so leave room for them to swing around and do not block the trail entrance with your parked rig.
*For more detailed descriptions, topo maps, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers of the Wood River Valley pick up a copy of Exploring Sun Valley online or find it at one of several local shops.