Lemhi Pass (Lewis & Clark trail)

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wbond
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Lemhi Pass (Lewis & Clark trail)

Post by wbond »

Has anyone here ever driven across Lemhi Pass?

Google maps is telling me 1 hr 40 minutes from Grant, MT to Salmon, ID. Sound about right? Thanks, kindly.
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boo-yah
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Re: Lemhi Pass (Lewis & Clark trail)

Post by boo-yah »

It's been a few years since we've been, but it is a pretty well-graded dirt road over the summit, so I think their estimate is probably pretty good. There aren't as many switchbacks and it doesn't climb as high as a lot of other passes - you can see why they chose this route over the divide. However, I recommend spending some time at the top - the views are fantastic. We happened to go this route right after a few weeks of unseasonably cold and rainy weather which created a mud issue at one point - we ran across an abandoned car stuck and almost blocking the route, with just enough room for us to squeak by (we were going downhill, fortunately). So do ask about the conditions, but it should be fine anytime later in the summer.

Enjoy.
Helodriver
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Re: Lemhi Pass (Lewis & Clark trail)

Post by Helodriver »

Hard pack gravel, If you take your time, see the sights or if you get stuck behind a horse trailer then I would allow a fair amount more time than 1 hour 40. But if you plan to get up on top of the washboards than yep 1,40 is good.

+1 for boo-yah's post.
In particular asking locally about conditions.

Fire season can have a significant impact on that area. Road closures and fire crew traffic can really slow to a crawl. Salmon-Challis and Beaverhead-Deerlodge USFS offices can easily be called just prior to travel to enquire about fire traffic.
t3chiman
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Re: Lemhi Pass (Lewis & Clark trail)

Post by t3chiman »

wbond wrote:Has anyone here ever driven across Lemhi Pass?
Sure. I did it last November. I have a few comments.
  1. Do it in October. Seriously, it gets snowy up there.
  2. Having a 4WD vehicle makes for a far more pleasant experience.
  3. Get ahold of the proper detailed maps from USGS 7.5 minute quads. If you try to drive the pass with tourist-quality maps, you will be flustered when the nice Back Country Byway signs are replaced with terse NF185 markers. No real death traps up there, but a wrong turn can gain you a new respect for Lewis and Clark's stamina and endurance.
  4. A GPS and a full tank of gas can aid your peace of mind.
The PBS special on Lewis and Clark makes much of Sacajawea and her connection with the Lemhi Shoshone tribe. Worth watching before you retrace the route.

It's very pretty country around there. Spectacular scenic vistas abound. I was especially impressed with the area around Challis. True fact: My wife and I were making fun of Stanley, a seemingly insignificant speck on the landscape (pop. 63). Got home, and read that Carol King had just put her ranch in Stanley up for sale, asking $9.7 million. Includes a music studio, caretaker's cabin, and access to a forest service landing strip.

HTH
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wbond
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Re: Lemhi Pass (Lewis & Clark trail)

Post by wbond »

Thanks!
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