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10 – Birch Creek Ranch

From the BLM Website:

Nestled among cream and chocolate colored hills, barren red cliffs, and towering rock spires lays a secret oasis: the Birch Creek Historic Ranch. Established in the early 1900s, the ingenuity and determination of a Basque sheepherder and a West Virginia cattle rancher are still evident at the site today. Stone walls built in the Basque tradition still ascend the mesa. Remnants of a waterwheel hint at the lush alfalfa fields fed through the gravity irrigation system. Nineteen buildings and structures at the ranch contribute to the property’s designation as a historical rural landscape on the Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places.

More Information

BLM Website


Coordinates: 43.21518, -117.50297
Elevation: 2722 ft
Difficulty: 3
What to Expect: No info

Check In

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Use the form below to check in. Check in’s must include a photo of you or your bike, at the challenge site, with the 2024 bandanna. To check in, all participants must be registered IAMC Challenge Members. Be sure to leave a description about the ride, and share any road conditions as snow, water, or obstacles. Please provide any other information that might help future visitors navigate to this site safely. Replying or commenting on another persons Check In is encouraged, but take care not to create your own Check In on accident.

The stated ride difficulty is just an estimate. By rating the ride difficulty in your experience according to this scale you can help future riders stay safe. You, and you alone are responsible for the safety of your ride. While we do our best to accurately convey the challenge level for each site, it is up to you to make sure you have the skills needed to reach each destination. If you feel the trail exceeds your skill level please turn around immediately.

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18 Check Ins
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FW190Pilot

Saw a lot of critters on the way down and at this place. Sage Grouse, Rattlesnake, Bull Snake, Chukars, Quail, Dove, two Pronghorn, one buck Mule Deer in velvet (looking like he’d be big), 5-6 Mule Deer does………….Very cool place!! Water crossings still a thing. My friend Phillip ripped through them on his Z125 with 12″ wheels!!

What bike did you take?
KTM 350 EXCF
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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BB445

Jordan Creek/Blowout Road to the top of the Birch creek canyon is in perfect condition. Graded with zero washboard and one of the smoothest dirt roads I have been on in a long time. Road, starting from the mesa then down to the ranch, is starting to get chewed up. Numerous easy stream crossings. Great place to visit. Go early in the AM if possible to avoid the sweltering heat. It was 100+ when I dropped into the ranch.

What bike did you take?
890R
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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JRATZ

Those mountains in the distance are beautiful, makes it kinda hard to keep your eyes on the road on the way down.

What bike did you take?
KTM 500
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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englund

Lots of rafts on Sunday

What bike did you take?
DR650
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
2
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Idabiker

Yeah Chatty is right about the way in, plug bogs and stuck pickup trucks with Washington plates! Made for quite the adventure, but we made it!

What bike did you take?
KLR 650 2008
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
1
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chatty

Water crossings a plenty. Pretty steep in parts and for me at least easier going up than down.

What bike did you take?
Norden
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Caleb Forrey

Probably my favorite so far. I’ll be going back with a mtn. bike at some point.

What bike did you take?
V-Strom 650
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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NormOps

It was a neat ride with a lot more water crossings than I was expecting and some really big washouts.

What bike did you take?
Tiger 800
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Justin Wilke

Super fun ride down and back up with several water crossings and cows. Awesome views.

Edit: I forgot to add the picture, so I put it below in the replies.

What bike did you take?
DR650
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
Jeff Dyer

The ride down the canyon will keep you on your toes or off on the ground.

What bike did you take?
Yamaha tenere 700
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Jason

Ow this is an awesome ride. Definitely more technical than the other rides I have done out here so far. Expect steep loos grades. A couple of sections of deep,ruts. A few water crossings.definitely glad I was on a mid weigh ADV bike

What bike did you take?
KTM 790 ADV
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Lucas Stern

Rode in with Dan’s group on a beautiful and dry day. I’ve been riding my Tenere 700 for about a year and a strong background riding a mountain bike. The last 3 miles or so I thought got pretty technical for a new rider on a big adventure bike. Nothing I was not able to get through, but definitely had to remind myself to control my speed coming down the last hill. Had I dropped the bike on my own in the steep section it would have been an ordeal to get it back up. Overall though, great challenge for someone with some riding experience looking to push their riding past flat two track roads! Take your time, bring a friend!
I added a picture coming down the aforementioned hill!

Edit1: I also wanted to add that if you aren’t sure about your ability to access Birch Creek, head to the Teapot Crater (this check in) beforehand. I would say the access road is also a 3 due to some off camber sections of gravel road and some rocky bits. It is however, shorter and less steep. If you breeze through that then Birch Creek should be no problem. If it gives you issues, just know that I found Birch Creek access to be a higher difficulty level!

What bike did you take?
Yamaha Tenere 700
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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jsk83687

Birch creek is a cool spot. Hit it with Dan, Alex and a few others. Coming down always seems harder than up. Lots of UTV and rafters coming out.

What bike did you take?
Husky 901e
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Dan Huff

Lots of history here and worth the effort. You’ll want to ride on past the check-in point to the end of the road to see the waterwheel, raft takeout point, and river ford.

What bike did you take?
KTM 890 R
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Alex Crane

This may be one of my favorite locations yet.

We hit this one next after Leslie Gulch on Dan’s ride. The drop into the canyon is beautiful. Once we got to the site we continued on another mile or so past to see a cool water wheel and more cabins.

We came down Cutoff Road to Mahogany Gap Road. The roads were very rutty and not well maintained at all. The main road into the site, Blowout Reservoir Road is a mixed bag, with much of it being a 2 and some parts being a 2.5 to 3. The drop at the end is a solid 3 where you go from about 4500 feet to 2700 feet in about 4 miles. Keep in mind this could be a lot more difficult if everything was wet from a big rain. There was a moderate amount of traffic coming to and from this location on a Wed afternoon.

There are steep sections, loose gravel, rattlesnakes, and many water crossings. I made it on my large adventure bike, and I’m an intermediate rider. But it was a challenge. Still, this was easily my favorite spot of the ride.

GPX File attached.

What bike did you take?
R1200GS
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
Ed Torrey

you loose a lot of elevation quick dripping down in there. the flowers were in bloom and everything was green. great little hidden gem of a place. make sure to take the road to the end.

What bike did you take?
KTM890
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Dusty1

This was my favorite spot so far by a big margin. After riding succor creek/leslie gulch etc most of our first day of a two day trip, this was the first road/trails that offered some technical riding. Many water crossings on the way in, we fortunately just put on our rain gear due to the impending doom of thunderstorms all around us (none of which hit us!) so we were nice and dry when we reached the ranch for camp. The decent towards the river is awesome. Rocky, a little steep for a beginner, watery and stunningly beautiful. We camped on the grass and checked out the site were gone in the morning.

What bike did you take?
CRF450L
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
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Tumbleweed208

One of my favorite sites so far on the journey. There is quite a winding descent down to the ranch. Getting here involved a lot of water crossings, some ruts, and a section of rocks & water towards the bottom. I would rate it a 3.5 and would not recommend it for beginners. There is a campground 1 mile away from the ranch if you keep going down the trail as you pass it. We did see some vehicle traffic with trucks / trailers going down to the campsite to pick up rafters at a takeout. The grass may look inviting to lay down in but beware there are some goat heads. Incredible rock formations and the soothing sound of the river flowing by. Very peaceful!
A series of thunder storms with lightning were passing through on this evening 4/12 so we made camp there and headed out in the morning.

What bike did you take?
KTM 500 EXCF
Ride Difficulty (1 to 5)
3
BirchIAMC