By Steph Terrien.
Portions of the WABDR and NW Passage Adventure Route between Cashmere and Carlton, & Benson Creek Rd., August 18-21, 2016. There were 5 in our group. Day time temperatures were in the 90s.
Having ridden this part of the WABDR a couple times we wanted to check out some different terrain. As well, we had a novice rider in our group so we opted for a less technical experience. This report serves as a trail condition update.
Out of Cashmere we took Section 4 of the WABDR to French Corral. Just beyond the end of the pavement of Nahahum Canyon we encountered a few short-lived deep ruts. Riding in between the ruts (up the middle) provided the best option as there was usually plenty of space for smooth exits. Conditions were dry and hard pack, the views outstanding!
At French Corral we jumped off the BDR and took NF 5800 which is part of the NWPAR. 5800 is a typical non-technical forest service road and a quicker alternate than the BDR route that goes along Roaring Ridge. We camped at Pine Flats NF campground situated along the Mad River. There’s a sweet hike and easy places in get in the water at the far end of the campground.
From Ardenvoir we continued along the NWPAR down Mud Creek road along the beautiful NF5300. Again an easier alternate to the BDR’s Baldy Mt and Slide Ridge into the Chelan area. This area was dry, with one descent offering loose rocks and a couple ruts to negotiate. A couple of the corners were silty but not deep.
From Chelan we continued along the updated NWPAR which happens to be the same as the WABDR up Cooper Mt. Along NF4330-600 conditions got extremely dusty as we started to encounter areas of deeper fine silt on the other side of Cooper Mt.
There was no evidence of the big road washout that we encountered at the end of June. And the silt was nearly nonexistent. Heads up! The roads in this section have been recently grated and plowed which created stretches of 3”-6”+ deep silt. At the intersection of Fork Gold Creek we continued along the NWPAR on 4330-600 onto McFarland Creek Rd. taking us to the pavement of Rt. 153.
At this point in the trip we decided to hang out in Mazama for a couple days and do day rides from our base camp at Early Winters Campground. The dirt road up to Slate Peak over Harts Pass is in very good condition and well worth it! The 360 degree views are some of the most spectacular in the state. Make sure you walk up to the lookout tower for even better views.
Shal and I explored the NF41 (Goat Creek) to Chewich Rd loop from Mazama to Winthrop. Another easy forest service dirt and gravel road that ends on pavement with gorgeous views.
The next day our group headed home in separate directions. Shal and I rode the WABDR Benson Creek Rd section from the north to the south, starting off Rt. 20 up and over Woody Mt, down South Summit Rd and finally to Benson Creek Rd to Rt. 153. The Woody Mt two-track section was the most technical of this particular section with areas of deep silt and rocky descents. Nothing crazy though, just more so than the other two roads.
Water sources. We all carried at least 5 litres of water with us and didn’t have a need to source water along these backcountry sections. Ardenvoir, Chelan, and Twisp were close enough to fill our bags. You will come across low creeks and rivers at the lower elevations only so plan accordingly.
For more info and GPS tracks on the WABDR.
For info on the NWPAR and contact Dave for updated tracks.
Submit your ride report to SheADV.