Rode Bernard Peak the other day. Started up the "normal" way, by riding the road up to the Scout Trail. Let me say that the road is in sweet shape. I know, you never hear me talking about roads being sweet. But this road has been in rough condition for awhile. To jump out your rig and start up that road on a hot day is never fun, but now it is nicely graded and smooth. The pain is somewhat eased.
Bernard Peak is a classic North Idaho mountain bike ride...whatever that means. But I will say that is the first "big" mountain bike ride I ever went on back in the day. It is probably my most ridden of the "big" rides in my rotation. I try and hit it every year. I always ride up the gated road and then ride as much trail up and back down as possible. Everyone I ride with does the same. However, I always hear from people that read such and such on the interweb that tells them to ride the "open" road up the backside of Bernard and then ride the trail down. I sure feel sorry for those people. The trail is a great ride up and down. so do it (yes it is hard).
Anyways, the Bernard Peak Trail is in amazing shape and riding great. If you have not ridden this year, make a plan and do so before the snow. You will be glad you did.
And back to the readings on the interweb. I also hear of people reading that they should ride the Scout Trail when doing Bernard. I try and ride Scout every few years, it seems to take a few years in between rides for my memory to fade on its suckiness. I would never recommend going up the Scout Trail to get to the Bernard Trail. If you really feel the need to work this trail in, I would say ride Bernard and then take Scout down the Farragut. Momentum helps on the large rocky sections. And even though I say you are going "down" Scout to Farragut, there is a nice steep climb in there. After riding up Bernard that climb on Scout can feel like a wall. Variety is good, so try Scout and formulate your own opinions.