What’s the best part of late 70s punk music? Bands like the Sex Pistols & the Clash. It’s pure. Raw. Unadulterated fun. It’s not trying to be perfect. To be something that it isn’t. Just artistic expression. That’s what mountain biking Pomerelle Idaho is all about. Rowdy terrain filled with log jumps, random boulders strewn about, & oh so sweet hand-built berms and the feeling that you’re the first one in a LONG time to ride a trail. It’s like riding powder snow but on dirt… at least, that’s how it felt to us.
*Crunch Of Gravel* & The Chirping Of Song Birds
Making the final switchback up the road, we pull into the Pomerelle Resort parking lot. With the windows rolled down, the only sound we hear is the crunching of gravel against our tires and the singing of birds. It’s pure solitude & serenity from the summer madness of Lake Tahoe. Scanning around, we see a handful of cars and only a few small patches of snow in the far distance. Not a shocker since we got here a bit earlier to explore the Albion Mountains singletrack just outside the confines of the Resort… before the lifts began turning of course.
Albion Mountains Singletrack Trail Adventure Begins
As the Pomerelle crew got ready for the day, we were fortunate enough to get a personal tour from Michael, a recent newlywed & now part of the official Pomerelle family. The plan for the morning was to hop onto our (2-wheeled) steeds and check out what they call the Jump Trail. Coasting down the road with our freewheels loudly buzzing, we pull into Howell Canyon & begin to peddle up the cozy dirt path to see what Idaho mountain biking is all about.
We Understand Why It’s Called The Jump Trail
Slowly ascending, the route winded its way tightly through aspen groves & over some small features. The higher we go, the bigger the rollers and jumps become. Not huge but we understand why they call it the “Jump Trail.” The soil is perfect, not just for a mountain bike, but even those who are into BMX dirt jumping. With a parking lot at the top AND bottom, this trail is definitely shuttle-able. Exiting the aspens, we make the ridgeline and are gifted with gorgeous views of Pomerelle Resort and the Magic Valley below it.
The ‘Playground’ Is Now A Wildflower Paradise
As we make it to the top, we cross the road and pause for a moment taking in the views. A few years ago we were here in the midst of winter, riding some of the best powder of the season.. and not just here, but ANYWHERE for that year. In the summer, the deep blanket of snow is replaced with a MASSIVE tapestry of lupine purples, a smattering of sun fire yellows, and a dabbling of reds. On the top of Mt. Harrison, fields of white-ish snow are still holding on even this late in July.
Are You A Mountain Biking Spud?
Continuing forward, Michael stops us for a moment and warns us that we’re now getting into some downhill within the resort boundaries. Pomerelle in the winter is pretty mellow terrain-wise. In my mind I’m thinking, “How tough can it be?” Michael leads and we follow. The first set of tight banked turns hint a little at the upcoming fun like the initial climb of a roller coaster. Pulling out of the last set of linked turns, the trail suddenly bombs straight downhill. Accelerating quickly, we suddenly start hopping off big logs, swooping into more tight G-style turns. You never know what to expect around the next corner! Suddenly out of nowhere, we slam on the brakes. Holy crap! This trail is like a bucking bronco. In front of us is a dead tree that had just fallen and exploded during last night’s huge windstorm.
Some Call This Trail Spud. Others Tater Tots. We Call It FUN!
Continuing down, the rowdiness continues over perfectly placed boulders, through dry creek beds & under a canopy of trees. Making it to the bottom, I jump off my bike and look up at where we came from. I howl like a wolf. Man! I couldn’t believe how fun it was. With the lift now spinning, it was time to go up & try the other tasty concoctions they’ve created.
What Kind Of Mountain Biking To Expect At Pomerelle Mountain
As the day continues, we realize the old proverb of “big things come in small packages” is especially true for Idaho mountain biking at this family-owned resort. They might say there’s only seven trails but the amount of interweaving & unsanctioned patchwork makes it feel much bigger. It’s enough for a full weekend of fun.
On top of that, each one of their paths is so distinctly unique that they don’t resemble each other at all. Some are more mellow XC paths like Sidewinder that anyone can enjoy. Or for those looking for something a bit more extreme, we heard from a friend whose ridden some BIG lines in places on the Powder Highway that Pomerelle’s Pounder is a BIGGIN’… mandatory creek jumps, rock gardens through streams, & insane sections barely wide enough for you to navigate your bike. And the moderate/expert terrain off of Spud & Broken Bottle are bananas too. This is all thanks to a bunch of hard-charging Utah natives that descend every year to kill it as part of the Pounder Classic.
Pomerelle – Freeride Mountain Biking At Its Best
One thing to highlight is some of the trail entrances are challenging to find but that’s not a bad thing. In truth, it makes it that much more of an adventure. Once you sniff them out, it’s like finding the gold at the end of a rainbow. For those that want to push the limits of their biking, affordable beers on the deck ($4 for a local craft beer), and some of the tastiest burgers & tacos anywhere, consider a visit to the Albion Mountains & Pomerelle for some fun Idaho mountain biking. You won’t regret it, so get planning!
Get It While They’re Open
Winter is HUGE here, literally! They get snow IN JUNE which means their mountain bike season is incredibly short. Typically, they’re only open on Saturdays/Sundays through July and August from 11 am – 4:30 pm. If that doesn’t feel long enough, you can always do a lap via the route we talked about above before the day starts. One additional point is that they have a fixed grip chair so the ride up takes about fifteen minutes. With how challenging the terrain is, this longer ride is appreciated to get your mind right for the next hit of awesome. And last point, don’t forget to bring your bike.
A Small Taste Of Our Adventure [Video]
For a more visual perspective, here’s a short clip to show the mellower terrain around Pomerelle & the Albion Mountains.
Where To Stay
This area is the epitome of wild country. For those wanting a dose of town life, stay in Twin Falls about an hour away or even Burley. To truly get away from it all, stay at the Almo Inn just outside the City of Rocks National Reserve. Built in a western motif with pine clapboards & a wooden boardwalk entrance, you’ll feel like one of Clint Eastwood’s characters is going to come over & say “Howdy!” The rooms themselves are large featuring a sitting/dining room and bedroom along with all the modern amenities you need for a comfortable stay (like A/C & a comfy bed) without the distractions (no TV). Lounging on your back porch looking out over the mountains, you’ll be transported back a century and get a small taste of how it must’ve felt in the Wild West when it was a bit less civilized.
Where To Eat
There are literally only three places to eat within an hour. Fortunately, all of them offer excellent food. For a quick breakfast, the Tracy General store serves up tasty breakfast sandwiches including a gluten-free option where they replace the muffin with hashbrowns. If you’re there on a weekend, we recommend trying the pizza at Rock City Mercantile. From making their dough from scratch to homemade pizza sauce and fresh ingredients, it all combines into an amazing pie. Also, Rock City has a MASSIVE selection of beer from local & craft breweries that any connoisseur would be happy with. Last but not least, in the town of Albion there’s a food truck called Piggy Sue BBQ. They serve up some “bomb-tastic” BBQ. Some of our favorite dishes are their brisket & house-made nachos. And the cowboy beans… spicy and packed with lots of flavor.
We understand that most people don’t have a lot of vacation time and would rather visit the biggest, fastest, and largest mountain bike parks or ski areas out there. But we look at things a little different. We’d rather find a place that’s unique, wild, and most of all away from the crowds. I don’t know about you, but the Local Freshies® crew is setting up an annual Idaho mountain biking weekend trip of gettin’ after it to enjoy the “beastly” terrain the cool folks of Pomerelle have created. Maybe we’ll even make it our fourth of July tradition!