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Monday, September 26, 2011

Idaho Vacation: Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, Part 2 Idaho City to Lowman

The Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway is one of the most diversified and beautiful byways in Idaho and in my opinion, the entire country.  Part 1 of the description of this byway is here and covers the first thirty or so miles from Boise to Idaho City.  Part 2 covers from Idaho City to Lowman and Part 3 covers the byway from Lowman to Stanley and is here.  Any way you travel this byway, it is a great Idaho vacation.

Display Inside the Boise Basin Historical Museum
Idaho City
  For information and photos on Idaho City, see my entry here. 

Wood Carving Outside Idaho
City Visitor Center
We leave Idaho City heading north and east, passing several recreational areas.  Mores Creek is quite small here but the road follows the creek side more closely as we proceed up the canyon a few miles from town.  We pass the Rabbit Creek Road which gives access to the North Fork Boise River.  There are many homes along the roadway the first few miles from town.

Old Miners Cabin at Boise Basin
Museum, Idaho City

We gain elevation more quickly as the canyon narrows more and soon come to a series of three National Forest Campgrounds within a couple mile stretch.  A few more miles and switchbacks slow out speed as we tack on elevation on our way to the top of Mores Creek Summit.  Stop at the top and enjoy the view back over the valley you just came through.  It is a nice view. 

View From Highway on Road
to Mores Creek Summit
 About two miles past the summit is Whoop-Um-Up Recreation area.  This is a popular winter sports parking area and trailhead for snowmobile trails and cross country skiing.  There is also a campground with facilities for horses at the area.  This is a National Forest fee area. 

Another half mile is the Edna Creek Campground.  The road by the campground gives access to a wide array of roads leading to the North Fork Boise River, the backcountry Graham area and eventually to Atlanta, an early mining town (see my entry for Atlanta here). 

Convoluted Tree Near Highway
at Banner Summit

Highway Between Banner Summit and Lowman
  Travel another 4-5 miles and arrive at Banner Ridge.  The road here starts a descent that continues all the way to Lowman.  There are several pullout areas and Scenic Overlooks where one can stop and view the amazing countryside.  At one of these pullouts there is an interpretative sign that details the great 1989 Lowman fire. 

The remnants of this huge 47,000 acre fire are visible for miles along the roadway.  Trees were replanted on over 30,000 acres and this plus natural revegation has the area again green.  Fire evidence will be evident for many more years.  The fire burned much of Lowman with some parts that will likely never be rebuilt. 

Lowman is also the junction with the highway that traverses the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway (see my entry for this scenic byway here.  Traveling Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway to Banks then back towards Boise makes a very nice day trip. 

There are several campgrounds within a few miles of Lowman in West, North and East directions.  There is also a Forest Service Ranger Station just outside of Lowman.  Lowman is immediately adjacent to the Middle Fork Payette River. 

If continuing from Lowman on north towards Stanley on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, go to my blog entry that has Part 3 of this byway here.

Additional Information Sources:
Guide to Idaho's Scenic Byways -, Idaho Division of Tourism Development,
700 West State Street, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0093,  Phone: (208) 334-2470
Boise National Forest1249 S. Vinnell Way, Suite 200, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 373-4100,
Idaho City Chamber of Commerce - 208-392-4159,

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