As I’m sure you are aware, before there was skiing in the Sun Valley area, there was mining. While I’m not always happy with how mining can scar the landscape, the old mining roads provide access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.
My mission today was to find Boulder City. I was looking forward to seeing the mine ruins, and I had heard that the road to Boulder City would test the abilities of my Jeep Rubicon.
The access point to the road is about 15 minutes north of Ketchum off Highway 75. About ½ mile south of the Cathedral Pines campground is a small parking area next to a road leading east into the mountains. Warning, it is highly recommended to have a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle to attempt this drive. You are tested almost immediately, and it gets worse from there.
My Jeep handled the first part of the road without a problem. The only real challenge was crossing a stream about a mile in. In mid-June, the water is pretty high, and bottom the creek bed was pretty loose. Still, it wasn’t a big deal.
Shortly after the stream is the trailhead with a place to sign in. From there on, the road narrows to little more than the width of my Jeep. To make matters worse, there are few opportunities to park or pull over if you come across traffic. Thankfully, I didn’t run into any opposite traffic.
As I continued down the path, I grew more and more concerned about my inability to turn around. At the same time, the road obstacles grew larger. When an opportunity arose, I decided to park and hike the rest of the way. In the future, I would have driven another mile or so. Shortly after parking, the road crossed a scree field. Though there were no opportunities to pull over, the road itself was in good shape. Immediately beyond the scree field were a few places to park. There, unless you have a modified Jeep, dirt bike, or an ATV, I strongly urge you to park. The road beyond that point would have been impossible for my un-modified Jeep.
As my hiking continued, the road also became a stream, which had washed away the small rocks and sand, and leaving behind large, uneven rocks. Yes, the road ultimately flattened out and dried out, but then it crossed a fast-moving stream, and my mission to reach the Boulder City ruins was blocked. I couldn’t find a good place to cross, either upstream or downstream.
All was not lost, though. I had brought my hammock, and there’s nothing better than relaxing on hammock next to a stream. Also, the scenery was spectacular, and the hiking was fun.
I’ll be back soon. I’ll drive in a bit farther, and I’ll find a way across that water.