Dark Divide / Blue Lakes For Dirt Biking
The 10th most popular offroad motorcycle trail in Washington.
Tuesday 9 August 2016 04:47 GMT
Northeast of Woodland, the Dark Divide, Blue Lakes and High Lakes area has an extensive network of trails open to dirt biking.
#1 Boundary Trail (26 Miles – Moderate to Difficult) This varies in difficulty from more to most difficult. There are steep hillclimbs in either direction. Sections of the trail are on very steep side slopes, virtually cliffs. There are sections of lose ash which can be like sand dunes in the summer. The scenery is outstanding. The trail follows a jagged ridge between Mount St. Helens and Mt. Adams. The center section from Elk Pass to Council Lake is open to dirt biking. There are numerous stops for looking at the landscape in all directions.
#2 Dark Meadow on the Boundary Trail (9 Miles – Difficult) This is a challenging trail in either direction. It is one of the main trails for access to the Boundary trail from the Lewis River valley. Several tough hill climbs, wet areas and tree root sections. There are fallen trees, a problem early in the season. The trail is usually open by mid July, after volunteers have logged it out.
#3 Craggy Peak (4.5 Miles – Moderate) This is a good trail to get to the Boundary trail from the Lewis River valley. The lower section is the Wright Meadow (80) trail. There are several good camping spots in the Wright Meadow area. Road 93, off the 25 road is the way to get to this area. It is popular with horse riders, so be considerate of other campers in the area. Outstanding scenic views. The trail goes across open, high alpine hillsides, full of wildflowers. Popular with archery elk hunters in the fall. Watch out for other trail users.
#4 X - Snagtooth (4.8 Miles – Difficult) This trail has very steep sections in either direction. The trail was maintained last year. Not recommended.
#17 Platinum Creek (2.6 Miles – Easy) This is a nice trail through generally open forest
#18 Table Mountain (5 Miles – Difficult) The trail winds up a ridge, through large, old growth trees. It is a very picturesque route up and through the forest. There are some switchbacks and it is crossed several times by a road. The upper section goes around open natural meadows with small ponds.
#19 Cussed Hollow (3.3 Miles – Moderate) This is a challenging trail. Several steep rooted sections. The stream flow at the crossing is low this season. Be careful of sudden dips and turns.
#30 Spencer Butte (3.2 Miles – Easy) This is an easy trail but it comes right back out on the road. There is a nice view at the top.
#80 Wright Meadow (3.1 Miles – Moderate) This, more difficult trail leads from the 90 Road up to the Craggy Peak trail. Volunteers have done a lot of tread work to make the trail easier to ride than in the past. The trail is notable for numerous roots. It is still easier than trail 2. Most riders will continue on trail 3, however, the trail does go on down to the bottom of the Clear Creek Canyon. There is no bridge on Elk creek in the canyon and
the stream is quite deep. The trail ends on an unmarked gravel road, which is difficult to find.
#110 Green Mountain (2.5 Miles Moderate) This is a fun trail to ride in either direction for experienced riders. There are sections of narrow trail on steep side slopes, which may bother riders new to this type of terrain. The trail on the east side of the mountain is popular with horse riders from Keenes horse camp.
#115 X Spring Creek (2.9 Miles – Easy) This is a short trail leading out to a road. Popular with horse riders, it has little attraction to trailbike riders.
#116 High Lakes (3.2 Miles – Difficult) This is a most difficult and unique trail. It goes around very unusual lava formations. There are several steep, rocky switchbacks. Volunteer trail riders have constructed a bridge that crosses a deep creek. The trail passes by several small, picturesque lakes, with small campgrounds.
#118 Hamilton Buttes (3.7 Miles – Difficult) The trail has been reconstructed for trailbikes to a “more difficult” standard. It goes right from the “old chimney” camping area to the top of one of the buttes. The scenery is outstanding. Mount Adams is in the background. The riders are on the designated trail, it just does not show in the photographs. Watch for hikers near the top.
#119 Blue Lake Butte (3.5 Miles – Moderate) Sections of the trail have been rebuilt to a “more difficult” standard. There are sections, which are still rather narrow. While the Yozoo trail is more scenic and therefore gets more use, this trail is fun and worth working into a loop ride.
#259 Langille Ridge (8 Miles – Difficult) This trail is known for dramatic and breathtaking scenery. A very technical trail to ride. It is best ridden north to south, thereby riding (walking) several extremely steep switchbacks downhill. The trail begins at the end of the 2809, a short road down to the river. The road bridge washed out and now the stream must be ridden across. Follow the narrow trail down to the stream. The crossing can be quite deep during high stream runoff times. Across the stream, the trail is on the closed road for about three miles to the official start of the trail. The road is heavily overgrown with Alder. Along the ridge top the slightest error could be tragic. The brush on the high side of the trail has not been trimmed in many years and may hide hidden obstacles. When wet, the brush would soak a rider without good rain clothes. Some of the worst sections have been improved last year but many obstacles remain. Allow plenty of time to ride the trail. This trail can be ridden in combination with Juniper Ridge in the same counterclockwise direction. It would be risky to use the rough trail use as an “escape” route because fallen trees may block the trail. Check at the Ranger station on the access.
#261 Juniper Ridge (13 Miles – Difficult) This trail has wonderful views from high alpine ridges. While not as tough as the Langille Ridge trail, it is still “most difficult”. Snow blocks these high elevation trails late into the summer. There are several steep switchbacks, virtually unrideable coming from the north. There is one gully crossing that
is so narrow and precarious, that the prudent rider will get off the bike and walk it across. Failing an attempt to ride across it would surely result in the total loss of the bike, if not being fatal to the rider. The trail should be ridden south to north, starting off the Boundary trail.
#262 Sunrise Peak (1.4 Miles – Difficult) This is a short challenging trail which connects to a Road 2324. It is recommended only to ride this trail down to the road. This is the main access to the high ridge area for the occasional hiker.
#263 Dark Meadows (3.0 Miles – Difficult) There are several steep switchbacks about midway. The trail spur off to the 2325 road may no longer be an option because the bridge at the start of the road may be barricaded. The bridge is in poor condition. It is not known at this time if trail bikes will still be able to cross it. The main trail has been recently maintained and the tread is in relatively good condition. There are several stream crossings at the bottom.
#265 East Canyon Ridge (4.1 Miles – Difficult) This trail has a dramatic trail to experience, classified as “most difficult”. The upper section of the trail traverses the edge of the uplifted ridge. So one side is a slope and the other side is a cliff. There is a section of gravel road separating the upper and lower sections. Watch closely for the start of the trail at either end of the gravel road. At the south end of the gravel road, the trail begins 100' down a spur road. The trail at north end comes out on the 2322 Road paralleling the Cispus River. Watch closely for the start of the trail.
#270 Valley Trail (21.1 Miles – Easy) It is the earliest trail to be open as the snow melts. Built to an “easiest” standard and suitable for ATV’s from Blue Lake campground to the “old chimney” camping area. The rest of the trail is only wide enough for trailbikes. The trail is easy to ride. Several great viewpoints and small waterfalls. The trail parallels the road and is generally in the deep forest with large trees. The trail is also popular with mountain bike riders. Due to the easy level of riding, higher speeds are possible but not
recommended. The trail should not be ridden fast because of children on quads and minis, mountain bike riders and just a lot of riders in general are on the trail, including horses.
#271 Blue Lake Ridge (11.9 Miles – Moderate) This is a fine trail, suitable for the whole family, for trail bikes and quads. Watch out for other riders, horses and hikers. The trail up to the lake is very popular. The fishing at the lake can be good because there is no road access. This trail in combination with the Valley trail, makes a twenty-three
mile loop for trail bikes and quads. Pictured is a typical climbing turn. The radius is wide enough for a quad. All turns on the twenty-three mile loop have been reconstructed to this radius.
#272 Bishop Ridge (8.7 Miles – Difficult) This is a fine trail. Difficult but rewarding. Some of the most narrow and steep sections have been rebuilt but there is still plenty of challenge through some rocky sections. There are several large boulders to ride up and over going uphill. It is more easily ridden coming down. Outstanding scenery from high ridge viewpoints.
#273 Wobbly Creek (2.9 Miles – Moderate) A “more difficult” trail, but can be ridden by less experienced riders if ridden slowly. Many sharp turns. Unusual, open scenery as the trail winds down the canyon.
#275 Krause Ridge (4.4 Miles) This is an easy, general winding trail. A good climbing section. Popular with mountain bike riders.
#276 Yozoo (5 Miles – Moderate) This is a recently constructed trail, built to a “more difficult” standard. Compared to some others, it is easy. Outstanding, breathtaking scenery on a grand scale.
#283 X Rough (1.7 Miles – Difficult) This trail has numerous switchbacks. Someday, it may be reconstructed and connected to other trails.
#293 High Bridge (1.5 Miles – Moderate) A short connection from Juniper Ridge #261 to the 29 Road. The trail weaves thru the deep forest. Very nice.
#294 Tongue Mountain (5.5 Miles – Difficult) The lower section of the Juniper Ridge trail. Deep forest. Fun, giant “whoops” near the 2904 Road. Part of the trail has been rebuilt to improve the trail tread. Popular with hikers headed for Tongue Mountain.
Overall, Dark Divide / Blue Lakes is the 10th most popular dirt bike trail of all 36 dirt biking rides in Washington.