fish creek road

Matt Queen pauses along side the Fish Creek Road east of Ashton on Saturday to take a photo of wild roses and lupine. Queen was part of a group riding the paved road.

Ashton is a great town and not just because it grows lots of spuds and grain to keep us all fat and happy.

Ashton is a launch point for some great trails and access to nearby adventures. The town is not too far from the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park and the Bechler Ranger Station.

Also nearby is the Henrys Fork River, Fall River and Warm River. Don’t forget Mesa Falls, Cave Falls and all the falls in this less visited part of Yellowstone.

On Saturday, I joined a group looking for a long bicycle ride. In Ashton there are a few great biking possibilities. There’s the Warm River Trail that starts from the Warm River Campground and follows an old railroad bed track all the way to West Yellowstone, Mont. This trail is multi-use, meaning ATVs also use it.

Another popular trail starting near Ashton is the Ashton to Tetonia Rail Trail. This non-motorized mountain bike trail goes for about 30 miles one way and is a beaut. It offers wonderful high trestle bridges and outstanding views. The trailhead is just east of North Fremont High School on Main Street.

Our group was looking for pavement to ride our road bikes. We drove to Ashton, then to the Warm River Campground. Just before the campground is a bridge across the Warm River. This bridge is the start of the Fish Creek Road. It leads uphill through shady forests heading generally north for close to 25 miles where it then becomes a gravel road that leads to Big Springs (one of the main sources of the Henrys Fork River).

We rode most of the morning to the end of the pavement, turned around and headed back. Then took a side road, Baker Draw Road (also paved), that leads steeply downhill for about 10 miles where it connects with the unpaved Warm River Trail. Here, we turned around and road back up the hill, and returned to the Warm River Campground. Total distance for me was 67 miles with more than 5,000 feet of elevation gain.

The ride is pleasant, but some sections have expansion cracks that aren’t nice to bike riders.

I did have to wonder why the road to the middle of the boondocks was paved — I’m not complaining, mind you — just wondering. There aren’t many structures or even campgrounds out there. I’m just guessing that perhaps it was a paved logging road.

I hope to come back and take a mountain bike on the dirt rail trails before the summer is through.

One benefit of coming to the Ashton area to play, is eating at the Frostop Drive-In restaurant on the way home. It’s alongside the highway and features that huge root beer mug sign.