Iím planning on moving to Sandpoint in the next year or so and was wondering where you go wheeling? I have found some information about OHV use in the national forest, but it doesnít say anything about Jeeps and street legal vehicles?
I don't know. I plan on re-locating to Idaho in a few years and it doesn't look like there is much in the way of actual wheeling areas. (Most of the Northwest forums don't have much on Idaho). There are several thousand miles of Forest service roads in WA/ID and some might provide a challenge. But to find many actual 4x4 trails, you will probably have to head into WA or OR.
Check with these forums as well, some of the Idaho guys might be able to give you a hand.
The following opinion is for Southwestern Idaho, I don't know anything about Central or Northern Idaho.
I moved here from another state also and noticed the same thing. I was used to designated wheeling areas and signed trails that actually went somewhere. You won't find to much of that here. There are a lot of great wheeling areas and they are working on getting the trails marked and signed but there is still a long way to go. A lot of them are on private property or BLM land. The trails on BLM land are known by the locals and aren't really publicized. Like I said, they are in the process of being marked however I don't think any trail signs have been posted yet. The private property trails are great also, but could be closed down at any time if the owners decided to.
There is a book out now documenting back country drives but I don't think these are really considered four by routes. When you move here, I think you will find plenty of areas to go wheelin, but I agree, there is little or anything posted or documented. I'm just trying to figure out why you would want to leave lovely Houston for Sandpoint Idaho? I lived in Huntsville for about 10yrs, great largemouth fishing around there that's for sure.
What about National Forest? I have topo maps of all of Idaho and looks like unimproved roads all over. Can you use those?
Yes. I have done a few thousand miles on Forest Service roads. They vary from paved, to gravel, and some are pretty hard core 4WD roads only. National Forests all have or are working on Travel Management plans and are in different stages of implementation. Depending on the forest, you might have to get a map from the local ranger station showing what roads are open. Also what appears to be a road on a map (including forest service ones) might just be an overgrown trail.
Another point (since I ramble) Many forest service roads esp. the main ones are on some GPS's. The road #'s will not always match up to the maps, and non-forest service maps don't always agree with the GPS or the other maps, so you'll think you are on one road, when you are not.
Also be sure to check conditions on the website for that forest and be prepared for washed out roads, etc... I jokingly say that half of my miles on the Jeep are from backtracking. Still it's a great way to have fun and see the country.
There's Twin Sisters over in the Washington side of the Colville NF. There's also The Compressor down in Mullan. I'd get ahold of the North Idaho Trail Blazers. They do alot of runs in the area throughout the year and they'll be able to help you out in finding areas to go.
I'd say give it some time. We're more about actually wheeling up here and being in the outdoors than sitting at a computer all day. If he hasn't gotten back to you by the end of the week let me know and I can get you hooked up.
I use to live in Hayden Lake, just south of Sandpoint and was a member of the North Idaho Trail blazers. Great group of guys (and families). 8 years ago (wow that long!!!) there were some great areas to wheel. I really had a blast. I would recommend getting connected with those guys, they can show you where to go. I really miss wheeling up there. Good luck!
To start with Ė Awesome Jeep! I have already read both your build and Trip details.
I have detailed topos of the area and see lots of little ďroadsĒ in the national forest areas. Is there a permit Iíll need to drive these? Can I run these? I do like rock, but trail running is a lot of fun. Iíll take just about anything but mud pits. Iím just not into slopping around getting mud everywhere it shouldnít be.
Here is another question?? TA/KMís or TA/KOís
Iím due for some new tires and am looking to move up to at lease 32ís. I currently have TA/KOís and love them. Sure Bigger is always better, but what about MT vs AT in that area? Iíve also been thinking about the 33x10.50. I really donít have the money to regear and pull a small popup camper. The 33x10.50 are lighter then the 32ís and would get me the extra 1/2in under the axle. How are the cops on fender tire coverage?
Thanks. No permit required - anywhere I have ever been anyways...
Regarding tires... I would always opt for MTs and probably 33s if you have the set up to run that size of tire. Although I had 33s with stock 3.73 gearing and didn't like it much. If your TJ is your DD and you will be driving on the pavement 90% of the time than maybe an AT would be a better option. Where I live now, cops have never hassled me about tire coverage. Up North, I did get pulled over one time when I was a teenager while driving a lifted Nissan PU with 35s. and he did give me a ticket for coverage - but I was probably being a punk at the time and was probably pulled over for speeding and not the coverage... From my experience Idaho cops are usually not that tough on modified 4x4s.