Overall Route Rating
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4.6 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.6
10 Reviews

St. Joe River Scenic Byway

Motorcycle Route Author

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By MCR Contributor (952 McR Points) on May 23, 2011

Rider Reviews

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HaraldGS
2 McR Points
June 17, 2019
Rode this road from St Regis to St Maries today…
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aka Big Red
2 McR Points
September 25, 2017
My Wife and I rode this road from St. Regis to St…
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Written Directions

From St. Maries, ID, east along the St. Joe River for 75 miles. At the junction with Road 218, FS 50 heads north (left) and climbs 14 miles over the divide to the Idaho-Montana border. Be aware if coming from the East that the intersection in St Regis can be a bit confusing.Check out a good map. This road is deserted and much like the well know LoLo pass road which parallels it. Same type of road till you hit Avery,nice curvy route along the rivers edge! From Avery on it gets tighter and deserted and the road runs at higher elevations compared to the river, and has much higher drop-offs over the edges and a lot of tighter corners. Fun ride! Makes a great loop with the Lolo route.

Scenery

You will see beautiful Rivers, Mountains,Forest on this wonderful twisting lonely backroad nature tour!

Drive Enjoyment

100 miles of twisties and elevation.Follows the edge of the St Joe River. No traffic,usually deserted. If you can't handle some dust, then be aware there is a few miles of easy hardpack gravel surface on the MT side and you are in St Regis ,MT on I-90. No problem at all for our sportbikes. This is why you won't see many bikes on this route! Too bad more of the great roads didn't have a mile of gravel on each end! :) . Be warned, there is some hard pack gravel at the East end heading down the mtn towards St regis.

Tourism Opportunities

Lots at each end, not much in between. No need for a few hours anyway!

Top Images

St. Joe River Scenic Byway
St. Joe River Scenic Byway
St. Joe River Scenic Byway
St. Joe River Scenic Byway
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HaraldGS
June 17, 2019
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
Rode this road from St Regis to St Maries today with 4 other bikes (a Goldwing 2up, 2 Harleys and a NC700). The gravel section is all in Montana and is 10 to 12 miles long.
Conditions have changed since the last review because there was lots of loose gravel on the hard pack underneath. I'm thinking they spread fresh gravel at some point. If you don't like gravel, you won't like this section of the road currently.
With that said, the Idaho portion of the road was incredible and would be worth riding the paved section to the MT border and then riding back if you despise gravel.
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aka Big Red
September 25, 2017
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Cruiser
My Wife and I rode this road from St. Regis to St. Maries in August of 2017 two days after the eclipse. She rides a big Indian Chieftain and has a strong distaste for gravel. Based on another review of the gravel conditions, I almost did not risk leading her across this road. Turns out, the gravel portion of the road was graded and fairly well packed and neither of us had any problem with it. We did have to stop to let the dust settle whenever we met an oncoming logging truck but it really wasn't an issue. Once we hit pavement, this turned out to be one of the best rides we found in Idaho. The pavement was good, the curves were big sweepers and the scenery was fantastic! Perhaps best of all was the total absence of other vehicles. Great ride! Don't let the gravel scare you away.
Big Red
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GoCougs
July 11, 2017
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Other
Ride update. This route is amazing, but a few notes need to be made. **WARNING** If going west and starting from St. Regis you need to know you will riding uphill on a dirt, dusty, loose gravel (NOT HARDPACK) road for 15 miles, up to the top of the mountain, to the Montana/Idaho border. Inexperienced rides and those without physical stamina would be better served taking I-90 or the Lolo pass (U.S. Rte 12). The 15 miles on a sport bike, tourer or sport tour will be exhausting. Dual sports will love this road. Having said all this, you will be rewarded when you get to the top and to the Idaho border. Beautiful views stretching for miles. The road in Idaho is amazing!! Well maintained for the first 20 miles or so. A few rough patches here and there as you get down in elevation and ride along the river. This is a bit of a technical road. Lots of blind corners, but it is a lovely ride, especially at a spirited pace. Not much traffic. I only passed 1 car in the first 30 miles. After you get to Avery, you will find a few more cars. I highly recommend this route in conjuction with the Lolo pass if you want to do a loop, but plan on a 12 hour day with some stops and grabbing a good bite of food in Missoula.
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