Trails Near Idaho State University

Trails near ISUThank goodness for Google Maps, especially their satellite view!  It makes looking around for interesting places to cycle quite easy.  Also, it’s fun to check out recreation Web sites such as and then look around on Google Maps to see if you can get an idea of where a campground or trail system is located.  The BLM Pocatello Field Office page is a good resource for those looking for a place near Pocatello to do a cycle camp or trail ride.

So as I was looking around the Pocatello area on Google Maps for interesting places to ride my bike, I noticed a collection of trails just east of Idaho State University.  A few days later I hopped on my mountain bike to go have a look.  Between Alvin Ricken Drive and American Road are a few interconnected trails that stretch about 1.25 miles.  Kind of a nice place to go to practice your mountain biking skills without going very far out of town.  These trails are used quite a bit by walkers and runners, so don’t get too crazy.

As you can see on the map to the left, there are three paths that go east off of American Road.  The north trail is a nice, wide trail that goes up to the top of Chinese Peak.  The middle path is a private road, according to the sign I saw while cruising along American Road on my bike.  And the road on the south end of American Road is Barton Road which is paved all the way to the main trail head of Chinese Peak.  I’ve been using Barton Road to get to Chinese Peak for years now, so I’m glad I found the trail on the north end of American Road.  Actually, I remember hiking this trail many years ago, but I’ve never biked it.  I’m going to give it a shot in the spring!  I actually road a bit up this trail and took a few photos.  The lure of a trail head is a powerful thing.  :-)

Associated photo gallery.

6 comments to Trails Near Idaho State University

  • Jeff Selfa

    FYI, the trails between Alvin Ricken and American are ISU property and largely make up the ISU cross-country running track. A few of the trails there were bike trails before ISU ‘improved’ the track for runners, so I still bike there as a connector, but I always yield as much as possible to others there.

    That northern route to Chinese Peak is brutally steap in sections, so be prepared to hike your bike on that approach. It’s also common ground to motorcycles, so don’t expect a perfectly peaceful ride up there in the warmer months.

    Other trails of interest in this area: Red Hill trail (approach from Barton Rd along the ridge to Red Hill), the Cave trail just to the North of your above pic, and the ridge road that can be done as a loop from north of Center St. Maverick heading north along the freeway, to what Google has labelled as Cedar St, then SE along the ridge to upper Center St., which can connect to your above pic via the Cave trail, or trails in line with the upper unpaved section of Birdie Thompson.

  • Haha, wow, looks like I was just scratching the tip of the iceberg on the ISU area trails. Thanks, Jeff! You should mark up a map and send it to me and I’ll add it to this article with a “courtesy, Jeff Selfa” caption. ;-)

  • Jeff Selfa

    @Korey – I wouldn’t want you to have to do any extra work on my account. :-) I’m not a huge fan of all the advertising interference (or paying) with MapMyRide, but…
    I recommend satellite view with the following:
    Offroad I-15 east to Center St.
    Cave Trail / Headbanger
    Barton Rd to Red Hill

  • Whoa nelly, thanks Jeff. I knew about the Red Hill trail, but had no clue the other 2 existed. How’d you find them? Oh, and I use MapMyRide all the time despite its ads and pay crap. It’s a good tool.

  • Jeff Selfa

    @Korey – I work at ON. Back in the good ‘ol AMI days a group of IS/IT folks (I was an outlier in job title) would go ride at lunch, and these trails were our typical stomping grounds. Most of those folks have left the company, and I don’t know of any that still ride at lunch any more.

  • Ah, I see. Very cool, thanks for the info!

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