In a desperate push to ride our mountain bikes in actual mountains, my friend Kasen and I loaded our bikes in the truck the other day and headed for Harrison Pass to see what the Ruby Crest Trail might look like these days. The trail is actually open to bikes until you hit the wilderness boundary. Whether it's good riding or not is another story.
I've ridden this route several times in July, what counts for spring at that altitude, up to the Green Mountain saddle. And even though the pedaling itself is uninteresting at best and annoying at worst, the trip is worth doing for the views and wildflowers. It's just carpeted with flowers up there - arrowleaf balsamroot, mule-ear daisies, lupine, paintbrush, lots of snowberry bushes. The ATVs and jeeps have pushed the road 5+ miles up the trail, to the saddle on Green Mountain. It is trail past that point.
In September, I'm sorry to say, the pedaling turned into 100% annoying. For the most part, the road surface was loose gravel, sharp moto-loosened rocks, and bug dust. And once you hit the trail, it became all bug dust, all the time.
At any rate, I wouldn't recommend heading up there with a bike this time of year. We'll be back in July... even with the annoyance created by the ATVers, the flowers will be worth it and (hopefully) the bug dust won't have formed.
We'll be hiking the Crest Trail next week.