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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!