Amid the slopes of the Elkhorn Mountains are fields of granite boulders, thick groves of pine trees, and acres of lupines. But outdoor enthusiasts from around the world visit Anthony Lakes from more than it's beauty. They come for the ski resort, great fishing spots, challenging hiking trails and more.
But on the top of of many must-do lists is a fun, tough sport that relies on the miles of trails cross-crossing the mountain. Yes, I'm talking about mountain biking.
A great place to start is the Anthony Trail itself, located at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, 19 miles west of 1-84.
Grab your gear, your map (available at most trailhead kiosks), and start the ride. Pant uphill over granite slabs, and then race down the dizzying loops of sweeping turns. You’ll be rewarded by the panoramic basin of Hoffer Lakes, the fantastic view of Lees and Lakes Lookout Peaks, and miles of beautiful forest canopy. And don’t forget to look to the east for views of the Baker Valley and the Wallowa Mountains.
And the fun doesn’t end with the Anthony Lakes area, as hundreds of bike tracks crisscross the region. Highlights (according to seasoned adventurers) include the daunting 134.5-mile Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway and the scenic Elkhorn Crest trail. Some of these trails reach staggering hikes in terms of mountain biking routes, some as high as 8,000 feet.
Expect company at these elevations, including other bikers, and human-indifferent mountain goats. The shaggy little creatures will engage in antics of all sorts, from running up to greet bikers, to bouncing alongside riders, or staring coolly as bikers roll by. Rarer, but not unheard of, are elk herds--so keep your eyes peeled.
The existing trails are well-loved, and new ones are made every years. Check weather in advance, as mountain biking at those elevations is a seasonal sport. The Anthony Lake campground accommodates tents, trailers, and RVs and typically opens by the 4th of July. rates vary, from a single-family campsite set at $10 - $14.
Be sure to review the trails, prepare for elevation changes, and pack for a wilderness adventure before hitting the trails.
Directions from Baker City:
Take Highway 30 north toward Haines approximately 10 miles. Once you hit Haines turn left and follow the Anthony Lake Highway signs. this will turn into Forest Road 73. About 25 miles down will be the the Anthony Lake Recreation Area, turn left here to the Anthony Lake Campground.