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Targhee Pass -> Watkins Creek Shuttle

An epic backcountry point-to-point in the little-ridden Lionhead Mountains.

Also in Idaho, United States of America

Mountain Biking Severe

26 km
1 km
1.1 km
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2 km
High Point
2.9 km
Targhee Pass -> Watkins Creek Shuttle Map

While Mile Creek is arguably the best-known epic ride in the Lionhead Mountains, this point-to-point shuttle from Targhee Pass to Watkins Creek has begun attracting more riders due to its rugged, wild backcountry character and the screaming descent down Watkins Creek to finish it out.


The first section from Targhee Pass follows the Continental Divide Trail, but even so, the singletrack can be very faint in places. The CDT climbs consistently, gaining and following an alpine ridge until it crosses the spine of the mountains, passing from Idaho into Montana. Even though this is a point-to-point shuttle, you'll still have to work for the downhill. According to FATMAP, you'll climb about 3,300 vertical feet on this 16-mile ride.

From the top of the mountain range, it's time to descend! After a bit of descending, be sure to look for the right turn onto Watkins Creek, lest you end up climbing up and over another mountain ridge and heading the wrong direction.

Watkins Creek is a classic backcountry singletrack trail—fast, steep, following a stream (and crossing it occasionally), with the singletrack punctuated by the occasional rock garden and root web. This is a blistering descent through stunning backcountry terrain that will drop you almost all the way down to the shores of Hebgen Lake. Pedal a bit along the road and then jump in the lake for a refreshing swim after a big day in the mountains!



Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between July and September


  • Technical
  • Singletrack
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

Guidebooks in this area