I have a chance to move to either place, and wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts of the local mountain bike trails, length of season, overall experience in either place and would be willing to share.
Interesting questions. Looks like Farmington is about an hour from Durango and twin falls is about an hour and a half from Sun Valley. Does not look like you can go wrong with either choice. The biking in Idaho is better than Colorado or New Mexico!
I live in Twin, although I am from back east. I am curious where you are from and why you are looking to move here? Is it for a job, family or....?? Have you spent any time here? It is not for everybody. I would encourage you to really understand the city and the culture (forget about the biking) before relocating. It may be a very good fit and may not be at all.
To answer your questions:
Mountain biking opportunities are decent. Twin is an ag town and there are very few places to ride close to the city. The notable exception is the Auger Falls Park which is very new and very cool. It is in the canyon, only a few minutes from anywhere in town and great trails for a couple hours of riding. Many riders are down there several times a week. There are other threads about it on this forum.
The other place we typically ride is in the South Hills at Indian Springs. I live in the middle of town and it takes about 21 minutes to get to the parking lot. The trails there are much longer and involve a lot more elevation change. It is a good place to ride but ultimately a bit limited. Again, you can find Google maps of the trails and discussions on this forum.
Trails on more of a "destination" level can be found in the Wood River and Sawtooth valleys to the north. Think Bellevue/Hailey area all the way to Stanley area and beyond. The center of this area is Ketchum/Sun Valley and it is 1:45 drive time from Twin. There are numerous opportunities to ride there, from short evening rides right out of town to mega epic backcountry opportunities. There is a lot, a really lot. BCRD Trails can give you some idea.
Boise has a ton of trails right out the backdoor. I don't know a whole lot about riding there. You can get maps. It is 2 hours + and 125 miles to get to Boise from Twin.
As far as season, the good stuff up north is generally open from mid May to around the beginning of November, give or take a bit depending on weather and which trail we're talking about. Some are not accessible until well into June given elevation/snow. This year things are opening up a bit earlier than usual I think. The Indian Springs trails have a longer season, March/April until November. At Auger Falls we were able to ride every week of the year through this last winter. The desert sucks up the winter moisture pretty quickly. Of course this can vary with snow fall and temperatures.
gartenmeister thanks for the great reply. I am moving because of a job change, and I am looking for an area near the mountains with local riding options, rock climbing, and skiing. Always liked Idaho and thought it might be a good place for the outdoor lifestyle. I am moving from whitefish montana
gjbike, here are a few thoughts on Twin as a town. Keep in mind I moved here from back east in 2007 so I have an outsider's perspective. I really like some things about town, and dislike other things.
Twin Falls is an ag, manufacturing and retail town. It does NOT have a recreation economy like your area does. It is a very inexpensive place to live and many workers receive very low wages. About 1/4 of the population is Mexican or similar. Generally speaking politics are decidedly not progressive and the culture is pretty conservative. About 40% of population is LDS and the influence on the social culture is significant. There are a lot of large retail box stores and people come from well over 100 miles north & south to shop. It can be pretty busy for a city of its size because the population nearly doubles every day. Infrastructure is fairly good, hospital is new and big. Violent crime is low but property crime and drug stuff are pretty common. People are very friendly but social circles are well-established and can be tough to break into. The phrase I hear the most is "Twin Falls is a great place to raise a family!" I can see why this is true, but the flip side is that people are SO family-oriented that if you don't have any family here you might feel a little bit left out. It is a decent size town and if you like being in an ag town that is great, but if you always want to be someplace else like Boise then it feels pretty provincial. It is growing pretty rapidly, especially with Chobani and now Cliff Bar. The access to public lands for sportsmen of all varieties is really great. There are tons of opportunities to have fun outdoors in southern Idaho but not right out the back door of Twin. One needs to be willing to drive a bit.
Twin Falls is a pretty good ways from any skiing besides Magic which is a bunny hill. It stinks from all of the dairies and it is very windy in the spring. Lots of tweekers but that is probably true anywhere these days. There are tons of cool places in and around the Magic Valley, many that nobody really knows about. You can spend a lot of time and have lots of fun exploring around there. If it wasn't for the wind and the stink I would consider living there.
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