Wenatchee National Forest
Wenatchee offers classic mountain winter mountain scenery and cross country skiing facilities ranging from the minimal to true northwest style luxury. See you there!
Wenatchee Ranger District
The highlight of the Lake Wenatchee Ranger District is Chiwawa Sno-Park Area, where the Forest Service maintains three trails, but there are other cross-country skiing opportunities as well. If you're heading to Chiwawa, please do not park on County Road #22 (Chiwawa Loop Road). The loggers might run over your car.
See & Ski Trail
This easy trail starts just across the road from the Chiwawa Sno-Park. It follows the meandering course of the Wenatchee River and offers beautiful views of the river. Wildlife that make the river and its shore their winter home can often be seen along this scenic trail. Dogs are prohibited on this trail since it is occasionally groomed and tracked by the Lake Wenatchee State Park's tiller equipped groomer. This trail is marked with blue diamond trail blazer and is closed to snowmobiles. Round trip distance from the Sno-Park is approximately 5 miles.
Squirrel Run Trail
This trail starts from the northwest corner of the Sno-Park and is an easy rolling ski trip through mostly forested terrain along the base of the ridge slope above County Rd. #22. It crosses snowmobile trails in several places, and snowmobiles may be encountered on the short loop at the far end; 60 look for the blue diamond trailblazes in those areas. Round trip distance from the Sno-Park is approximately 4 miles.
Flying Loop Trail
This fairly challenging trail takes off from the Squirrel Run Trail and is marked with blue diamond trail blazes and is closed to snowmobiles. It climbs about 600 feet in elevation in 2 miles and then glides along a ridge top (shared by snowmobiles for 1/4 mile) which on a clear day offers great views of the Plain Valley, Entiat Ridge and Chiwaukum Mountains. The descent back down to the Squirrel Run Trail can be difficult in icy or breakable cruet conditions, 60 Judge conditions and your experience level before skiing this route. Round trip distance from the Sno-Park is approximately 5 miles.
Other skiing opportunities can be found in this area on the many Forest Service roads groomed for snowmobile use. These groomed routes usually receive heavy use by snowmobiles on the weekend, but mid-week skiers may find some pleasant tours on or near these roads. Maps of groomed snowmobile trails are available at the Lake Wenatchee Ranger Station. Since grooming of this system is funded by snowmobile registrations and off-road vehicle gas taxes and is intended primarily for snowmobiles, skiers and dog sleds should always be alert to snowmobile traffic and give right-of-way. Suggested roads to try for ski tours are the Chiwawa River Rd. (FS RD. #62) or Meadow G. Rd. (FS RD. #6300) - parking available at Fish Lake Sno-Park (with permit).
Many of the district's roads and trails are not easily accessible for ski touring. The roads noted here are the more popular and accessible routes used by skiers. Skiers should carry a good accurate map (a district map may be purchased at the Ranger Station) and compass when skiing on unmarked roads or trails. All of the forest roads listed here are also used by snowmobiles, but these routes are not as heavily used as the groomed snowmobile routes in the Chiwawa area. When logging activities are in progress, some of these roads may be plowed and not open for skiing. Check with the ranger district for current updated information.
Smithbrook Road - FS Road. #6700
Smithbrook Road is located off US Highway 2 approximately 4.5 miles east of Stevens Pass. Some parking is available off Highway 2 about 1/2 mile east of the road junction, but if snowplows are working in this area then parking here is not recommended. Road ascends gently in the beginning, climbing through mature stands of Fir and Hemlock. After approximately 1 mile the road steepens. Travel on this road is not recommended beyond 2.5 miles due to extreme avalanche hazard on the last few open switchbacks before Rainy Pass.
Whitepine Road - FS Road #6950
Whitepine Road is located just off of US Highway 2 near Ray Rock Springs. This gentle grade road is 4 miles long but in some winters may be plowed for 2 miles up to the Cascade Meadows Church Camp. When the road is not plowed, skiers may be able to arrange parking at the Ray Rock store (private). Parking to access this area may sometimes be unavailable. Experienced skiers sometimes travel beyond the road and up the White Pine Trail.
Natapoc Peak Road - FS Road #6601
This complex of roads is accessed via Plain off Highway 209 and Wenatchee River Road. Parking is sometimes available along Highway 209 but, at times, winter parking to access this area may be unavailable. this road system has moderate to steep grades and provides excellent views of Entiat Ridge and the area surrounding Plain.
White River Road - FS Road #6400
Parking is sometimes available where snowplowing ends on the White River road. This road is a relatively flat grade and offers good views of the surrounding mountains. Avalanche hazards exist beyond Tall Timber Ranch. Stronger skiers sometimes ski several miles up the 5% to 10% grades of the White River Viewpoint Rd. (FS #6403) to obtain good views of the Lake Wenatchee area. The White River Viewpoint Road is accessible 2.7 miles up the White River Road.
Little Wenatchee Road - FS Road #6500
This road sometimes remains unplowed and available for skiing. Parking is usually available where snowplowing ends at the gate 1 mile past the White River Bridge. If there is winter logging activity, this road may be plowed, 50 check with the ranger district office for the current status of this road. The first few miles of the Little Wenatchee Road provide a relatively flat grade for ski touring and offer good views of Nason Ridge.
Cle Elum Ranger District
Cle Elum River Valley
S.R. 903 leads one up the valley of the Cle Elum River and ends at the Salmon la Sac guard station, about 18 miles up river from the town of Cle Elum. S.R. 903 is plowed all winter and provides access to any number of interesting ski/snowshoe destinations. An official WA State Sno-Park is maintained at the end of S.R. 903. Sno-Park sticker required.
Salmon La Sac Campground Loops
In winter, this U.S. Forest Service campground, which is situated at the confluence of the Cooper River and the Cle Elum River just across the Cle Elum River from the Salmon la Sac guard station, offers about three miles of marked ski/snowshoe loop trails which follow the summer access roads through the campground. One approaches the campground loops via a bridge across the Cle Elum River just upstream from the guard station. This is an ideal spot for kids and parents to enjoy traveling together on skis or snowshoes through a snowy forest on flat ground, with the possibility of fine views up and down the valley. The campground loops are restricted to non-motorized use and are marked by orange snow poles. .Ski track will be set on Fridays during the 1999/2000 season by a USFS volunteer. No fee is charged for the use of these trails. Parking can be found along S.R. 903 at end of plowing (Sno-Park sticker required) or in the Sno-Park.
Cayuse Camp/Sno-Park Trail
From the Sno-Park at the end of S.R. 903, (right turn off of hwy.) follow blue diamond ski trail signs which will lead you from the Sno-park to the Salmon la Sac guard station via a forest trail in about 1 mile, passing on the way the Cayuse Horse Camp which is the summertime staging area for the USFS horsepackers. This trail covers flat ground and is a fine alternative approach to the Salmon la Sac campground loop trails for those who would rather not share the road with snowmobiles.
Jolly Mt. Road
This logging road leaves the Sno-Park at the end of S.R. 903 (2400 ft. elevation). Follow the blue diamond ski trail markers which should be visible from the Sno-Park. The road starts out on flat ground but very soon begins to climb and switchback up through some truly enormous clearcuts which can offer fine downhill runs once all stumps are covered adequately with snow and conditions are favorable.. Views up and down the valley are impressive. Adventuresome and energetic travelers can continue from the end of the Jolly Mt. Rd. (5200 ft.) to the top of Jolly Mt. along a ridge which can be windblown, icy, corniced and generally inhospitable. Snowmobiles are politely discouraged from traveling on the Jolly Mt. Rd. but are not officially banned. Usually there will be a curious few snowmobilers who will venture up the road a short ways and then turn around.
Road #4309/4301 (north and south from french cabin cr. Rd.)
The French Cabin Cr. Road is a left turn off of S.R. 903 about 15 miles upriver from the town of Cle Elum. The shoulder of the hwy. at this point is part of the Sno-park system and drivers with Sno-park stickers can legally park here. Cross the Cle Elum River on the bridge and proceed for a short distance along the groomed snowmobile route which is maintained on the French Cabin Cr. Rd. Watch for roads leading left and right off of this main groomed route. Road #4309 heads north (right) along the river bottom for about a mile, crosses Thorpe creek on a bridge and soon after that begins to climb into clearcuts which can offer some fun downhill runs once the stumps are covered. Although snowmobiles are allowed here, it is not a popular or heavily used route. The views can be great once one climbs out of the riverbottom and the Cle Elum river provides a buffer from the bustle of the highway and the Sno-Park. Adventuresome sorts who enjoy off road travel may want to continue along the river for about another mile without benefit of road or trail to the Cooper River Rd., at which point one can recross the Cle Elum River on a bridge and reach S.R. 903. Road #4301 heads south (left) off of the main French Cabin Cr. Road and leads out onto the flats at the head of Lake Cle Elum. Snowmobiles occasionally venture out this road but it in not a heavily traveled route. There are fine opportunities for flatland touring here along the Cle Elum River. Absence of tree cover at the upper reaches of Lake Cle Elum allows for long range views up and down the valley.
Teanaway River Valley
The North Fork of the Teanaway River is accessed by the Teanaway River Rd. which leaves U.S 970 about six miles east of Cle Elum. The road is plowed as far as the fish rearing ponds at mile 14. This is an official WA. State Sno-Park and a sticker is required for legal parking.
Jungle Cr. Rd
The Jungle Cr. Road begins at the Sno-Park at the end of plowing on the North Fork Teanway Rd., crosses the Teanaway River on a bridge, and climbs to the ridge crest which separates the North Fork from the Middle Fork of the Teanaway River in about 4 miles. The Rye Cr. Rd turns left off the Jungle Cr. Rd. just past the bridge. Rye Cr. is a popular snowmobile route. Although the North Fork Sno-Park is increasingly popular with snowmobilers, one will seldom find a snowmobile venturing even a short way up the Jungle Cr. Rd. An official non-motorized designation is proposed for this road but is not yet a reality. The road climbs at a moderate grade along Jungle Cr. through forest, ending at an area known as Liar's Prairie. For those in need of further adventure, Teanaway Buttes can be reached from here by climbing southeast through scrubby timber and clearcuts. Be forewarned that although Teanaway Buttes is a worthy destination, this area is infested with snowmobiles on almost any winter or spring weekend. Weekdays are much calmer up there.
North Fork Teanaway Rd
This road leads due north out of the North Fork Teanaway Sno-Park. Unfortunately, it is a popular snowmobile route which accesses high, challenging terrain and is heavily used by the so-called highmarkers; snowmobilers using very powerful, fast and LOUD sleds to climb as high as they can on steep slopes. Non-motorized travelers on this road should be prepared to get out of the way of speeding snowmobiles, particularly on weekends. Interestingly enough, the first mile of road can be handily avoided by traveling either along the river bottom or on a bench above the road. No trail here, but the road is within sight most of the time and there is little chance of getting confused. The Stafford Cr. Rd. cuts to the right along Stafford Cr. in about a mile and follows the creek on an easy grade for about three miles more to the Miller Pk. trailhead. This road usually has a snowmobile track on it but is not a heavily used route and can be a most enjoyable ski or snowshoe route, especially mid-week. There is often a snowmobile track wide enough to skate on if one is so inclined.
Swauk Cr. Valley/Blewett Pass
U.S. 97 connects the Cle Elum area with the Cashmere/Leavenworth area via Blewett Pass. Traveling north on U.S. 97 one follows Swauk Cr. up to the pass (4000' elevation).
Iron Cr. Rd. #9714
About two miles north of the Mineral Springs restaurant and campground on U.S. 97 the Iron Cr. Rd. leaves the highway. Although there is no official Sno-Park here, there is often a well cleared parking area thanks to the WA. State DOT. The Iron Cr. Rd. follows an easy grade along the creek for about three miles. Snowmobiles are not restricted from this road but it is not a popular snowmobile route. Often there will be a trail broken by snowmobiles but little chance of being terrorized by speed demons. This road may soon be designated an official non-motorized route. Its starting elevation of 2800' means it is not one of the first routes to be skiable in the fall but it offers essentially flat terrain in a pleasant, forested setting with a modest six mile round trip to road end and back. A spur road at about mile two climbs steeply up to the right and connects with the old Blewett Pass Hwy. by a circuitous route.
Old Blewett Hwy. Ski Trail
This trail, which was blazed originally by the Ellensburg Ski Club years ago, begins at the junction of the old Blewett Pass Hwy. with U.S. 97, about three miles north of the Mineral Springs restaurant. From the sign board at the plowed parking area at the junction, the trail, marked by blue diamonds and skier signs, heads northeast across a small creek and follows an old skid road parallel to U.S. 97. The trail gradually climbs and leaves the highway, leading through ponderosa pine forest and open meadow areas. Blue diamond blazes show the way.The route does not lead to spectacular high points or offer broad panoramic views, but it is a fine short tour without much elevation gain. Although the Old Blewett Rd. junction is often dominated by the snowmobile crowd, this route quickly leaves the smoke and commotion behind for the solitude of snow-filled forest. The trail is a loop of about three miles.
Swauk Campground, Porky Basin
About one mile further towards Blewett pass from the Old Blewet Hwy. junction with U.S. 97 is the turn-off to the USFS Swauk Campground, (closed for winter). Although this is not an official Sno-Park, there is almost always a plowed parking area kindness of the WA. State DOT. The campground sits on flat ground below the highway and bordering on Swauk Creek. There is lots of opportunity here for trying out those new skis or snowshoes or even doing a winter campout either in tents or in the magnificent CCC era shelter. Although the campground area is close to the highway, it is remarkably quiet because the highway begins to climb above the creek valley at this point and the heavy timber also seems to soak up the road noise. Snowmobiles rarely if ever venture into the campground. Nonmotorized outdoors-lovers will have the area all to themselves. From the upper end of the campground one can continue along the creek and reach the Porky Basin Rd. #121 in about 3/4 mile. A bridge leads across Swauk Cr. and up into clearcuts in Porky Basin. If one proceeds directly from the Campground parking area down to Swauk Cr. blazes will be seen leading across the creek on a foot bridge and then up a trail which climbs to large sandstone outcroppings above the campground. This trail is a bit steep and narrow for skis, but snowshoers will enjoy climbing up to the rock lookout. The blazed trail continues past the sandstone outcroppings and continues to climb almost to the ridge crest where it connects with an old logging road, skirts the head of Porky Basin and eventually leads to the head of the Pipe Cr. drainage and down along Pipe Cr. to the highway. Excellent views can be had from this route in good weather though the climb and descent can be treacherous for even accomplished skiers.
Pipe Cr. Sno-Park Routes
On the Cle Elum side of Blewett Pass is the Pipe Cr. Sno-Park. This Sno-Park has the distinction of being one of the very few totally non-motorized Sno-Parks in the state. From the parking area there are two routes marked by blue diamonds. One follows Swauk Cr. to Swauk meadows, the other follows Pipe Cr. and leads to the crest of Swauk Ridge. A bulletin board at the parking area displays a map of the area. The Swauk Meadows route has a less severe grade than the Pipe Cr. route. By following either route one can connect eventually with Rd. # 9716. There is no doubt when one reaches this road as it is a groomed snowmobile route. It begins at the Blewett Pass Sno-Park. If one chooses to travel outside the designated non-motorized Pipe Cr. area, constant vigilance is required to avoid the buzzing snowmobiles.
Wenatchee Ridge Rd. #800
At 4000 ft. Blewett Pass on U.S. 97 there is a large Sno-Park south of the highway. This Sno-Park is entirely dominated by the snowmobile crowd and is a favorite jumping-off point for snowmobilers wanting to travel the many miles of groomed routes on Table Mt. USFS Rd. # 9716 begins here. It is not a good choice for non-motorized travel. Just opposite the main Sno-Park, on the north side of the highway, is a smaller Sno-park area which on weekends may be just as jammed with snowmobile trailers and RV's as the larger lot but usually has some parking for the non-motorized snow traveler as well. (If not, a weather station just north of the pass is always plowed out and the parking is free.) From this Sno-Park Rd. #800 leads out Wenatchee Ridge. For the first half mile it is a shared route with snowmobiles but the traffic is much less than on Rd. # 9716 across the highway. After a short climb away from the highway, one reaches a junction. The right fork, Rd.# 7324, heads down Scotty Cr. and is traveled by snowmobiles, though not heavily. The left fork, Rd. # 800, heads further out Wenatchee Ridge and is an unofficial though generally well-observed non-motorized route. There is some elevation gain on this road. Some ups and downs. Nothing seriously daunting. The views of the Stuart Range and the Enchantments area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness can be outstanding on a clear day. Large clearcuts sloping north from this road can offer fine downhill opportunities once the stumps are well covered with snow. The road winds along the ridge for about four miles. A spur road continues at a higher level for another two miles, almost all the way to the old Blewett Pass highway. The road ends at a log landing in an immensely large and steep clearcut but one can pick ones way down the ridge or ski to the bottom of the cut and reach the old Blewett Pass highway summit in less than another = mile. From here an energetic skier can descend to U.S. 97 either by a four mile road ski to the south or a six mile road ski to the north (some snowmobile traffic).
Tronsen Meadows Non-Motorized Area
Just north of 4000 ft. Blewett Pass on U.S. 97 is the Tronsen Meadows non-motorized winter recreation area.. This area is part of the Leavenworth Ranger District. There is a maze of roads and trails in this area offering all levels of technical challenge and having in common the official protection from encroaching snowmobiles and their attendant noise and stink. Two roads blocked by iron gates access this area. Road #7245 is nearest the pass and Road #7240 is perhaps 1/8 mile further down the highway. Neither is an official Sno-Park but the WA. State DOT often does a fairly thorough job of plowing parking spots anyway. When it is actively snowing there is the possibility of being plowed in by DOT plows clearing the highway. Carry a shovel in your car! Maps of this area have been posted at the road heads from time to time but weather and neglect have made them more or less un-readable. Rd. #7240 leads up and away from the highway through timber and reaches a clearcut in about = mile. Either follow the road or climb directly up the cut to access more roads which wind back into Tronsen Basin. Rd. #7240 also climbs away from the highway. A spur veers right in about = mile and leads to a junction with Rd. #7245. A spur veers left in about another = mile and leads to a large clearcut which can offer some fun downhill runs. By continuing on the main road one will eventually connect with Rd. #7245 and can complete a loop back to the highway. There are summertime trails out of Tronsen Basin which lead up onto Tronsen ridge but they are poorly marked and quite steep. Diamond Head, the prominent rock outcropping which hangs over the basin to the south, can be climbed by scrambling directly up from Rd. # 7245 but caution must be exercised here as the terrain steepens and avalanche becomes more of a threat.
Lake Wenatchee State Park Area
The Lake Wenatchee State Park grooms and tracks ski trails within the State Park and on surrounding Forest Service and private lands. Snowmobiles and dogs are prohibited on these groomed ski trails. Support winter ski trails and parking lot snow removal by purchasing a Sno-Park Permit.
Parking is available at Sno-Park lots (permit required) within the Lake Wenatchee State Park just off of Highway 207 near Coles Comer. Lake Wenatchee State Park welcomes your comments and recommendations on the ski trail grooming program.
Several connecting loop trails are marked and groomed on State Park property. Ski these loops in the direction of the blue diamond trailblazes and directional arrows. These loops (Lake Shore Loop, Camp Loop, Backwoods Loop and River View Loop) are each approximately 1 to 2 km in length. A 4 km loop (Nason Creek Loop) crosses the South Shore Road and traverses Forest Service land near an old gravel pit site and ties into 9 groomed loop trails at Kahler Glen Golf Course, located south of the State Park.
Echo Nordic Trails
Lake Chelan Ski Club
Echo Valley Lodge
This facility is operated through the cooperative effort of: Lake Chelan Nordic Club, Lake Chelan Ski Club, and the U.S. Forest Service. Your $6 donation ($3 for members of the Lake Chelan Nordic Club) goes directly for plowing the road up to Echo Ridge and for grooming the Echo Ridge trails.
The trails are rated from easy, more difficult, and most difficult.
Lolly Pop Loop round trip - 2.2 km (1.4 miles)
Single Loop - 2.7 km (1.7 miles) round trip. Trail 1291 we suggest to ski up Upsy Daisy and down Chickadee.
Southern Double Loop - 5.4 km (3.4 miles). Trails 1291 and 1292, beginners will find it easiest to ski the trails in the following order: Upsy Daisy - Wingsinger - Zippidy Do Da -Chickadee.
Purte View - 7 3 km (4.6 miles) round trip. Purte view is a short spur that overlooks Purtman Gulch. We suggest Chickadee -Windsinger - Alley Oop to the view point trail - Purte View Return on the same trails. Caution beginners: The Alley Oop trail is easy from Windsinger to the Purte View trail. Past the Purte View trail Alley Oop is more difficult.
Echo Summit - 5.4 km (3.4 miles) round trip. If you enjoy panorama views, this is a must. Great views of the Columbia River Basin to the east and the splendid views of the Cascades to the west. Ski the following trails out to the view point: Chickadee - Ridge View Run - Echo Summit. Return on the same trails.
Northern Double Loop - 6.0 km (3.7 miles) round trip. All of trails 1291, 1294, and 1294B. This includes Upsy Daisy, Morning Glory, Ridge View Run, Echo Summit, and Chickadee.
Northern Triple Loop - 7.6 km (4.7 miles) round trip. All of trails 1291, 1294, 1295, and 1294B. This includes Upsy Daisy, Morning Glory, Litter Critter, Ridge View Run, Echo Summit, and Chickadee.
Southern Triple Loop - 8.6 km (5.4 miles' round trip. All of trails 1291, 1292, 1293, and 1293B. This includes Upsy Daisy, Zippidy Do Da Alley Oop, Purte View, Windsinger and Chickadee.
Outer Rim Loop - 8.6 km (5.4 miles) round trip. Ski Chickadee, Zippidy Do Da, Outer Rim, Morning Glory, and Upsy Daisy.
The Lake Chelan Nordic Club is responsible for the operation of Echo Ridge. If you would like to volunteer to help ski in tracks, work as a trail host, plow snow, or donate money to help pay for the new grooming equipment that is being purchased this year, please contact the Lake Chelan Nordic Club.
Stevens Pass Nordic Center
Entering its fourth season, the Stevens Pass Nordic Center is located 5 miles east of the Stevens Pass summit on highway 2, where Mill Creek enters the Stevens Pass highway corridor. You'll find the day lodge, the 'Cascade Depot', adjacent to the parking areas, where a full range of rental equipment is available, including classic, skating, compact skis, and snowshoes. The staff can also wax and give a quick base prep for your skis. The 'Depot' also houses a retail shop, nordic ski school and trail pass sales.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication