Trail Length: 5.8 miles
Low-End Rating: 4
High-End Rating: 5
Because this trail is not as used as Yankee Boy Basin it ends up being a lot more private. It is a network of trails with lots of sights to see.
The network of trails starts right away after a climb on a shelf road. The whole area is fun to explore. As you are climbing the switchbacks keep your eyes peeled for a very well-hidden trail that leaves from the turnoff in a switchback as you climb and make a right turn. This is the place you will come back to if you make a loop around Sidney Basin. The trail at this end is narrow, off camber, and not traveled very often.
If you continue up the switchbacks and up and over the ridge you will come down into Governor Basin. The most noticeable thing is that you are surrounded by a very jagged and rough ridge of peaks. This is the Saint Sophia Ridge and it is a very impressive sight.
You can see the network of trails from the bottom of the basin. If you follow the trail to the north you will travel up to the Mountain Top Mine. It consists of a large, crumbling mine and a tin shack that actually has electrical outlets inside. There are the remnants of the mine shaft as well as tracks for an abandoned aerial tram. There is a lot to see up at this mine and the view of the rest of the trail network is helpful.
You can travel over to the Virginius Mine and buildings from the basin as well. A steep climb on another spur as you make your way down from the Mountain Top Mine will take you toward the Humbolt Mine, but as you get closer to this shelf road that skirts along the mountain ridge you will see that it has not been used in a long time and there are rock slides that have blocked the trail in places. You won't be driving on this spur but you could hike it.
The best part of this spur is the wildflowers. Because no one comes up to this area they are everywhere and the plants are much larger than they are on other trails like Yankee Boy Basin.
Continue back the way you came and instead of staying in the basin you can take a part of the trail that continues up the hill. This is where the trail begins to get difficult as you have to climb over some rocks and slide down some steep rock hills. Eventually you will find yourself in a flat area with an amazing view. This is Sidney Basin.
Continue across the basin on roads that get less and less traffic. The trail goes from a flat dirt track to wheel tracks with flowers growing between them. You will come to a hill top and see the trail continuing on a shelf road where it is off camber and looks like it hasn't been traveled in years. You will feel like you are headed toward a dead end but then suddenly you pop out on a switchback that you've passed before. This spur makes a full circle back to the trail.
This trail is a treasure with no traffic and complete solitude. It also has some challenging areas and the loop is not suitable for all vehicles.