The West Central Mountains Economic Development Council and Cascade Chamber of Commerce are developing adventure-cycling routes that use the town as a hub.
Four initial routes ranging from 60-180 miles branch out from Cascade to Boise, East Mountain, Garden Valley, and Lick Creek employing a blend of rural two-lane roads, dirt roads, gravel Forest Service roads, and some singletrack. A fifth route that connects Cascade to the Weiser River Trail is in the plans, too.
According to WCMEDC executive director Andrew Mentzer, the idea is to offer mountain bikers, gravel cyclists, and bikepackers shorter alternatives to the state’s marquee adventure-cycling loop, the 600-mile Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route.
“If you don’t want to spend 10 days or 2-3 weeks doing the hot springs loop, you can come to Cascade and take multiple rides from one central location over the course of a week or a weekend,” Mentzer says. “You can grab provisions at D-9 Grocer or one of the local convenience stores, camp at a nearby campground, or even get a nice hotel room and enjoy a hot shower and breakfast in between rides.
“Plus, Cascade and the surrounding area offer plenty of great amenities after you get off the bike: bird watching, hiking, fishing, soaking in one of the many local hot springs, visiting Kelly’s Whitewater Park or the Cascade Aquatic Center, or just relaxing next to or swimming in a stream or lake. The town has some great local restaurants, too, with options ranging from home-style comfort food to fine dining.”
Mentzer says the concept was born out of the Cascade Mobility Team, a partnership with numerous community stakeholders and the Cascade Chamber and the City of Cascade to create more robust pathways and outdoor-recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. Regional mountain-biking and gravel-biking industry professionals designed the initial routes.
The economic development council recently hired world-renowned adventure cyclist Jay Petervary to fine-tune the routes. Based out of Victor, Idaho, Petervary won the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race, an epic 1,721-km race across Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, in August. He works full time as a professional athlete and is sponsored by such leading brands as Salsa and QBP (Quality Bicycle Products).
Petervary says gravel cycling and adventure biking day rides are the fastest growing segments of the bicycling community.
“Not everyone can really do the big epics like 1,000-milers and 500-milers,” Petervary says. “The adventure-cycling community needs more smaller, 50- to 250-milers. The concept of multiple loops from a central location with a lot of amenities like Cascade is totally cool. A lot of communities have talked about doing something like this, but very few have actually put any effort into it.”
Petervary took an initial scouting trip in October and explored a few sections of a couple routes to get a sense of the terrain. He plans to take two or three more scouting trips next spring and summer before he suggests ways to improve the routes.
Meanwhile, Mentzer says the economic development council and the Cascade Chamber are seeking input from the adventure-cycling community on the proposed routes. He is gathering feedback via a SurveyMonkey link at wcmedc.org/adventure-biking — where you can also find more details about the routes and future updates.
“We will continue to revise and refine the routes we’ve identified, and some may require further coordination with private property owners and public agencies,” Mentzer says. “The West Central Mountains Economic Development Council will continue to work with our partners to ensure this project lives up to its full potential.”