September 25, 2010
Location: Lower Chiwawa Tr. 1548, Minnow Ridge Tr. 1524, Minnow Creek Tr. 1539, Basalt Ridge Tr. 1515, Basalt Pass Tr. 1530, and Chikamin Ridge Tr. 1534
Central Cascades – Entiat Mountains; Leavenworth Ranger District
Guide Books and Maps:
NW Forest Pass Required
We started our ride on Road 62, Chiwawa River Road just east of the Grouse Creek CG. We took the Lower Chiwawa Tr. to Minnow Ridge Tr. following it up to a side trail which brought us out directly across from the trailhead (TH) of the Minnow Creek Tr. Up to this point the conditions were fantastic. There were one or two small muddy sections in a couple of the low areas on the Chiwawa.
The Minnow Creek Tr. does not get much use and the section along the creek is, you guessed it, wet at times. The rest of the trail is dry and quite steep. Be prepared for lots of pushing on your way to Basalt Peak, (the peak is accessed via a short side trail offering incredible views of Glacier Peak, the Entiats, Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Mt. Rainier).
The descent off of Basalt Peak on the Basalt Ridge Trail is challenging with some tight switchbacks and steep sections that will test both your skills and your brakes. When we exited the Basalt Ridge Trail we took Road 6210 downhill a short way to a connector trail which brought us back to the Minnow Ridge Tr. This section was probably the muddiest and at that it wasn’t really muddy. We follow Minnow Ridge .3 miles to Chikamin Ridge Tr which brought us back to the Lower Chiwawa Trail. Chikamin Ridge is not on the ridge until the last mile or so, but side hills with short grinding climbs that are just long enough to hurt. You’ll cross 5 small creeks, be prepared to shift down at each since each is followed by a steep climb.
The descent after the 5th creek is one of the BEST I’ve ridden ever! Motorcycles have created perfect berms and the follow of the trail is awesome. This one section makes the whole ride worth it.
We lucked out and only saw two dirt bikes as we started and two mountain bikers the whole day. The best time to go is late September. Summer time would be very sandy and you would run into lots of motorcycles.
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*Ignore the the stopping point on the above Garmin map. We stopped at the same point we started.
Ride Recap with video, here.
Get out there!