September 3, 2011
White River Trail #1199
Noble Knob Trail #1184
Dalles Ridge Trail #1173
Palisades Trail #1198
Our loop started at Camp sheppard where we rode a counter clockwise loop starting with the White River Tr. #1199 to FSR 7174, then onto the Noble Knob Tr# 1184 to Dalles Ridge Tr# 1173 to the Palisade Tr# 1198 and finally back onto the White River Tr# 1199 to where we started.
View Noble Knob in a larger map
Using either Rt. 164 or Rt. 410 from Rt. 167 head east to Enumclaw. You can either park at Camp sheppard on the left (28 miles) or at the Upper Skookum Flats Trailhead on Rd 7160, Buck Creek Rd. (30 miles) on the right.
If you part at Camp sheppard you’ll want to take the trail leaving the parking lot which is about 100′ to the left of the bathrooms. Take this gravel trail to the White River Trail and go right.
If you part at the Upper Skookum Flats Trailhead you’ll want to ride back over the bridge, head west on 410 and almost immediately take a right on a single track trail. Take the trail to the right and uphill. It will run into the White River Trail.
Guide books and Maps:
Fees or Passes:
NW Forest Pass #Required
|Total trail||21 mi.|
Like most of the trails in the area this one is very dry and dusty. After our never ending Spring, Summer is here. Despite the dryness the trails in this loop were not blown out as one might expect. I think most people have been put off by the late Summer and the trails have not gotten the normal use they usually do.
Despite the dry conditions there are some mosquitoes but what’s worse is the flies. Be ready for house flies, deer flies and horse flies.
What to expect:
This loop starts with a great roller coaster of a trail in the form of the White River Trail. There are a few steep climbs but for the most part it’s a blast. FSR 7174 can be busy with car traffic so be careful on your way up. Like most FSR’s this one grinds on with switchback after switchback before finally easing up near the top. At this point you’ll get some get views of Noble Knob and where your headed.
Once you reach Corral Pass you’ll be in the sun for a while so be ready to be hot. As you roll out of Corral Pass on the Noble Knob Trail you’re treated to a great smooth trail up until you reach Mutton Mtn (which is what most everything thinks is actually Noble Knob itself. In reality Noble Knob is off the Noble Knob trail on a .4 mile out and back )where the trail gets a bit rocky and sandy. As you skirt around Mutton Mtn the trail narrows to true single track and meanders through dense forest. You’ll have a nice fast side hill to negotiate just before the turn to Noble Knob. After this turn you hit some tight switchbacks which may challenge some. Watch out for the rocks!
From the switchbacks on you’re in the woods only getting views while on the Palisades Trail when you hit the cliffs. The Dalles Ridge Trail connecting the Noble Knob Trail and Palisades Trail offers one a chance to really let loose. It has a great flow to it and long straight sections really let you pin it. Before you know it you hit more switchbacks and soon you’re dumped out at the Ranger Creek Shelter. At this point you can take the Ranger Creek Trail or the Palisades Trail.
We took the Palisades Trail. It starts with a few short climbs but I’d say 90% of this trail is downhill. Of all that downhill most is not very technical and can been ridden at speed. At times things get pretty rough from a spider web of roots but it doesn’t last long. Great views of the White River Valley and Rainier await you at the multiple of cliffs you’ll pass. Towards the end of the Palisades Trail you have a narrow ravine to negotiate. It starts with near impossible switchbacks that lead into a super steep set of stairs. The stairs drop you into more switchbacks but these were rideable at one time. Most are blown out from water damage and walking them is the safer bet.
Soon you’ll cross over the creek from the ravine and have your last climb of the ride of note. Shortly after this climb you run back into the White River Trail. Go left and head back to Camp sheppard. This end of the trail is mostly flat and offers a great cool down.
Overall this loop is a great mix of short punchy climbs, fire road (climbing), flowing single track and lots of moderate to fast downhill single track. Most of it’s in the shade but still bring your sunscreen for the road and the area on the ridge. Expect cars on the FSR and hikers on the Noble Knob and the upper part of Dalles Ridge Trail. The best part of this ride is you can camp across the street and ride Suntop and Skookum Flats the next day!
Local Groups/Clubs/Bike Shop:
Ski and Bicycle -Enumclaw
Get out there!