OverviewFreestone Ridge is an older trail in the Ridge to Rivers trail system which began life as a jeep trail climbing into the Boise front. And as such, suffers from lack of design or forethought, so is frequently loose & eroded. The trail is also something of a test piece for climbers. There are trails that gain more elevation (Hard Guy or 5 mile) and there are trails that are more technical (Three Bears) but this trail has the hardest single hill push in the foothills. In fact, that first hill is as difficult as I can handle; even half a degree steeper and the front end would leave the ground for too long and I would eat it.
Trail DescriptionThis trail is reached at a junction near the bottom of Three Bears. Once you get on the trail, it begins the climb. The first mile is consumed by the 'big nasty' hill. The most difficult section of this is just after you pass the first high tension power line, where the trail turns eroded and loose. In this section, watch for downhillers.
The climbing does not end at this point, as you will still encounter several short, steep sections but nothing as sustained as before. Stay on your toe (staps) as there is some loose rock and ruts.
After about a mile and a half you will reach the junction with Hard Tail. You can either take this traverse trail or continue on to finish the loop.
Mile 0: Trail (and climb) begins.
Mile 1: End of first climb, beginning of slightly easier sections.
Mile 1.5: Junction with Hard Tail.
Mile 2: This is technically the end of the trail. The best way to ride this is continue for a short while up trail 6 until the junction with 4. Here you can either ride 4 down or up (if you'd like to suffer) and complete a loop. Note that both of these are open to motorcycles.
Getting ThereThe easiest way to access this trail is to begin in Military Reserve and make your way up Three Bears, past the gun range. You will reach the beginning of this trail just past the old 'no trespassing' fence. The trail is to your right.
A more scenic route (and the one that I prefer), is to climb one of the access trails to the central ridge trail (# 22), then to the junction with Shane's Loop. Take the right hand section to Three Bears and backtrack to the junction with Freestone. Begin your climb here.
VideoA quick video of a rider heading down Trail 5. Note: this is from MTBR user Ivan the Terrible. The video begins at the junction with Hard Tail, not quite the top of Freestone. At approximately 1:35 the rider begins the descent of the nastiest section of the climb.
When to Bike
Mountain Biking Idaho gives a decent overview of some of the trails.
The Ridge to Rivers site has much useful information, including an online trail map (although the hard copy is always more up-to-date).
SWIMBA is the go-to source for all information related to the area's mountain biking. Check it out if you're going to be in the area!
Or you always head over to Steady Grind's great pages for more info.