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  1. #1
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    Moses Lake Area Trails

    I am by no means an expert on the trails around Moses Lake, but I have discovered a few of them and since they're really no secret (a few other riders are around here) I'll post the ones I know and encourage others to post anything they are familiar with.

    A good in-town ride is to cross the lake using the railroad trestle/fill. Begin where the railroad tracks cross Broadway at S. Milwaukee Avenue (where the locomotive sits). Drive east and try to move to the north side of the tracks where a dirt road leads you along the tracks to a parking area where fishermen often park. On your bike follow the tracks east and walk across the bridge then ride on the single track path that runs to the north of the tracks. At the east end you follow the tracks to Linden Ave. which is the boat launch for Montlake Park. You'll see a gate that is usually closed across the road. Go around the gate and follow the double track all the way to the cut under I-90. A variation is to continue up the tracks to the trestle across I-90. Sneak across the trestle and turn left up the steep hill and follow the road to Division and ride back to Linden and down the hill and back to your car across the trestle. Don't worry about trains... the tracks are in such bad shape that they go only about 2mph and only once a week or so. I have only seen on once.

    About 3 miles. Trucks and cars on the other side of the fende on I-90 but it's not a bad ride otherwise.

    I'll post more after I have dinner.

  2. #2
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    National Wildlife Refuge West of Mardon

    If you drive west from Highway 17's junction with Highway 262 just north of Warden you'll come to a large parking lot/boat ramp on the right and an entrance to a National Wildlife Refuge on the left. Turn into the Refuge and drive past the Soda Lake Campground turnoff and the Soda Lake dam turnoff. About a mile down the road is a parking lot with trailhead to the north. South of the parking lot is a gate with a turnstile. There is a "no vehicle" sign with a jeep depicted but nothing to indicate bicycles are not allowed. The doubletrack jeep road goes in for several miles with gentle hills, lots of wildflowers, herons, and other wildlife. You'll pass several lakes on your trip.

    This trail intersects other trails/jeep roads that eventually connect back to Highway 262 just east of Mardon Resort.

    Campsites are almost always available at Soda Lake Campground. Check for rates (cheap!)

    The website for the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge does not mention permits or payments and I have been unable to get an answer from them. Neither have others we've met inside the Refuge.

  3. #3
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    Living in Moses Lake leaves quite a bit to be desired when it comes to riding. If you want to get any sort of climbing or distance in, you need to go to Beezly Hill in Ephrata. The trails there are not the greatest, but there have been people doing quite a bit of trail work in that area the last couple of years (I don't know who they are, but I would really like to thank them) and they are vastly improved over what they used to be. I'm pretty sure there is a group ride that takes place every Wednesday, but I'm not sure on where they meet up, as I have never done it before.

    From Moses Lake, Beezley Hill would be about the same distance as going to the Wildlife Refuge, and the riding is much better. I can't think of much singletrack anywhere in the refuge.

    If you are looking for a quick ride in town, you can do what I do. Go to the top of Division, up from the train tracks you were mentioning, and ride down. Just do loop from the top to the bottom as many times as you can stand. It is the best and longest downhill area I have found around here, and the climb to the top is just enough to give you a good workout.
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  4. #4
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    My pal that goes to Sun Lakes every year says there's quite a bit of doubletrack to ride around there as well. It would certainly be interesting if there was a ride that took you down into and along the edge of the Coulees along that stretch. Be it at Sun Lakes or Steamboat Rock...
    i know i'd hit that on my way to Kettle Crest every year.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    My pal that goes to Sun Lakes every year says there's quite a bit of doubletrack to ride around there as well. It would certainly be interesting if there was a ride that took you down into and along the edge of the Coulees along that stretch. Be it at Sun Lakes or Steamboat Rock...
    i know i'd hit that on my way to Kettle Crest every year.
    I actually scoped out Sun Lakes a couple of weeks ago but it was too late to take a ride. There are even single track trails up into the coulees from the State Park (turn left where the road into the park divides). There used to be a cowboy trail (the "Cariboo Trail") that led east of Sun Lakes and up into Coulee City. I've mooched around Google Earth trying to find the traces of that. If they took wagon-loads of supplies for the gold miners in BC up that trail then it seems to me we should be able to ride a mtn bike along it. If we can find it.

    While a majority of the posters here seem to be avid downhillers there has to be a place for riders who (at least occasionally) like a nice, scenic x/c ride; maybe along with a picnic lunch somewhere. My fitness level (at 67) is not what it used to be but there are still rides I can take and enjoy. Right now those are the trails I'm looking at.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    While a majority of the posters here seem to be avid downhillers
    It's a bit inevitable once you climb up something you have a tendency to go down as well.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mosquitoman
    Living in Moses Lake leaves quite a bit to be desired when it comes to riding.
    Isn't there a trail on the north side of I-90 a bit west of Ritzville that's open to MTBs? I think it's roughly 14 miles out and back, but for the life of me can't remember WTH I was doing when I came across the trail head.

    It looked like a nice ride on the plateau, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Of course, I could be wrong and it was the Spokane side of Ritzville, which would do you less good, but it's worth checking out if you know the trail I'm thinking of.


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  8. #8
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    I was once out in the Sun Lakes area for a company camp-out, and while certainly rather pedestrian we enjoyed towing the kid around in a trailer on the dirt roads below Dry Falls. There's a bunch of interesting scratches on the GE sat photos of the plateau above that would have been nice to explore but probably not kid-trailer-friendly.

    Rattlesnakes and ticks would be concerns in just beating around through sagebrush, and there's a TON of poison oak down around the lakes and seeps in the area... but... we'd like to check it out more one day. My parents keep trying to talk us into doing a family camping trip out there. Maybe next year....
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  10. #10
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    Somebody should go check out the Odessa & Pacific Lake Trail:

    http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recr...php?siteid=275

    It might be worth a gander.

    And if you do, edit the info here:
    http://evergreenmtb.org/wiki/index.p...fic_Lake_Trail
    Last edited by The Sagebrush Slug; 09-08-2010 at 09:57 PM.

  11. #11
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    It looked like a nice ride on the plateau, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Of course, I could be wrong and it was the Spokane side of Ritzville, which would do you less good, but it's worth checking out if you know the trail I'm thinking of.

    The Columbia Plateau Trail is east of Ritzville with access from several places (including Cheney and Sprague, among others). This is an abandoned railroad grade and runs from Cheney (actually Fish Lake if you include the Fish Lake Trail - the portion north of Cheney) to Pasco, WA through some serious scablands and wetlands. This is about 130 miles so I don't think it's the one you're thinking of. But it's a nice ride (although paved in places).

    I looked around using Google Earth and can't find anything matching your description so I dunno. Sounds intriguing though.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    I looked around using Google Earth and can't find anything matching your description so I dunno. Sounds intriguing though.
    I'm pretty sure it was the Odessa & Pacific Lake trail I was thinking of. I used to do some random stomping around in that neck of the woods and I couldn't find any other trails besides the Columbia Plateau Trail which you mentioned, and it definitely wasn't the CPT.

    And here's what appears to be a trip report for that trail if it makes it more or less interesting.

    (The snide will notice the hiker traveling off-trail with an unleashed dog who harasses the cows by barking. )

    http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewt...985&highlight=


    Rolland

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    Sand Dunes

    South of Moses Lake there is a large ORV area locally known as the Sand Dunes. Yesterday I decided to see if a standard mtb (my Trek 4500) could make any headway on any of the doubletrack trails. My hopes rested on the fact that we had received some rain over the past couple of days and I though that perhaps this had firmed up the sandy places. And it might have helped a little. I took the major road leading south from the main access road just north of the "pond" and rode about 2 miles in. This doesn't seem like much but I was pushing my bike through deep sand for about 25% of that. However there was 75% of the road that was rocky (grapefruit sized to bowling ball sized) and if I stuck to that I could ride; so I stuck to that as much as I could.

    The area is beautiful once you get past where all the motos have ignored the signs asking them to keep to the trails. I spooked a heron who complained loudly despite my apologies. No coyotes on this trip but they are common along with deer and, reportedly, a moose!

    Access is via I-90 exit 174, turn right on Westlake and then take the next left (Sage Road). Turn right again at the "ORV" sign (Sand Dunes Road) and drive between a subdivision and scrubland about 3 miles in to the area. Lots of trails fan out through small gaps in the fence that would be good candidates for fatbikes.

    I would have inserted a photo but this forum's methods for doing that seem somewhat confused (wants a url).
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    I would have inserted a photo but this forum's methods for doing that seem somewhat confused (wants a url).
    LOL... well I guess "uploading" a photo works... but just doesn't appear on the preview. This is a photo of yours_truly on the doubletrack at the Sand Dunes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    LOL... well I guess "uploading" a photo works... but just doesn't appear on the preview. This is a photo of yours_truly on the doubletrack at the Sand Dunes.
    If you want pretty double track, there's some in Beverly, at Lower Crab Creek Rd SW. Bring your fishing rod!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    A good in-town ride is to cross the lake using the railroad trestle/fill. Begin where the railroad tracks cross Broadway at S. Milwaukee Avenue (where the locomotive sits).
    Here are a couple of photos of this trail. First is an arroyo trail just north of the tracks that's fun (but short). Then a photo of the trestle and fill showing the tracks with the path on the north side. There are places to get out of the way if there is a train but the trains travel at about 2mph due to all the pedestrians and fishermen who hang out on these tracks. Then there is a shot of the doubletrack just east of the park. Finally the single track (formerly doubletrack but overgrown) leading to the cut under I-90.

    It's about 4 miles round trip from the beginning of the trestle to the end and back.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Moses Lake Area Trails-arroyo_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-trestle-looking-east_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-trail-just-north-park_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-single-track-formerly-doubltrack-leading-back-i-90-right_a.jpg  


  17. #17
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    Thanks WDR & etc... for the great Moses lake area leads! Have two fat bikes and have been planning to head up that way for a while now (I'm in Yakima). Still have some mountain riding I want to do before the snow flies... But going to try to get up there in Oct. Any FB'ers out there want to join me?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    My pal that goes to Sun Lakes every year says there's quite a bit of doubletrack to ride around there as well. It would certainly be interesting if there was a ride that took you down into and along the edge of the Coulees along that stretch. Be it at Sun Lakes or Steamboat Rock...i know i'd hit that on my way to Kettle Crest every year.
    There is an immense area of scablands, palisades and arroyos north of Soap Lake to the east of highway 17 and lots of "trails" that you can see and trace using Google Earth. As I indicated before, the old Cariboo Trail is in this area (there is at least one "historical marker" along highway 17 that points out traces of this trail.

    I can't check it out this weekend (we're going to pedal the Route of the Hiawatha while the weather is still at least rasonable) but next week I plan to check out one particular trail that I can trace on Google Earth.

    North of Soap Lake there are several lakes along the highway including Lenore Lake, Blue Lake and Park Lake. The Sun Lakes Resort and the State Park are at the northern end of Park Lake. There is a road that runs up the eastern shore of Park Lake called Park Lake Road that used to connect to the state park (but is now blocked at the park). If you turn right on Park Lake Road and drive just past the southern end of Park Lake you'll come to a resort called "Laurent's Sun Village Resort". Leading out from the eastern edge of the resort is a well defined trail that heads NE a mile or so where it intersects with another defined trail headed SE into a large arroyo (or "coulee"). Google Earth shows some "arches" well inside this coulee and the trail looks very interesting. I'm hoping to get a chance to ride at least part of this trail next week and get some photographs.

    It helps to be semi-retired. :P

  19. #19
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    What about out at the Potholes? Any potential out there? We used to jump off the cliffs at Goose Lake and I remember the road itself being pretty rugged to get out to it. I would think that area would be decent for some singletrack potential if any were to exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uruk-hai
    What about out at the Potholes? Any potential out there? We used to jump off the cliffs at Goose Lake and I remember the road itself being pretty rugged to get out to it. I would think that area would be decent for some singletrack potential if any were to exist.
    There are quite a few doubletrack jeep roads that are closed to the public that connect one side of the refuge (this is the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge). One has a gate and a turnstyle right off the highway across the top of the Potholes dam that descends into a nice little valley. It's a decent climb back so don't get too tired.

    The road into the Refuge (across from the big boatlaunch area) passes a parking area after you get past the Soda Lake campground and then the dam. There are some singletrack tails east of that parking lot (you can see the sign/map from the parking lot) but they are fresh gravel and fairly loose. Ok for hikers but unless you have a fatbike, not so great for bicycles.

    The jeep roads (doubletrack) are terrific. though. Quiet, lots of birds and critters, places to have lunch are plentiful.

    This is a video of one of the doubletrack trails:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/CraigJun.../2/vguY0tI_cDw

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    Another area that hasn't been mentioned yet is Job Corp Dike. It is more double track and a gravel road to get there, but I find it much more tolerable to ride than going across the Sand Dunes. It has the bonus of being able to ride there from town, so you don't have to load up your bikes into a car.

    To get there, head west out of town to the old state park (I think it is now called Blue Heron Park) and carry your bike over the pedestrian bridge that crosses I-90. Continue heading west along South Frontage Rd. for a couple of miles until you pass a gravel quarry. Take the next left on an unnamed gravel road. There are a few different roads that branch off of here, but I always take a series of right turns that will eventually lead back to S. Frontage Rd. You will pass through a wildlife refuge here where deer and bald eagles are a common sight.

    However, I would not recommend this route from May through early July. The water level is high enough then that you will have to cross a small pool of water that can be up to 3 ft. deep. I know when I want to get a longer ride in, and I don't feel like driving to Ephrata or Wenatchee, I prefer this route. I would describe this area as a mix of riding through the Sand Dunes, and the jeep roads in the Colombia National Wildlife Refuge near Mardon.

    If anyone from this area would like to meet up and try riding there, send me a P.M. Besides I could definitely use a riding buddy here, as I haven't met any other riders from Moses since I moved back here in January.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mosquitoman
    Another area that hasn't been mentioned yet is Job Corp Dike. It is more double track and a gravel road to get there, but I find it much more tolerable to ride than going across the Sand Dunes. It has the bonus of being able to ride there from town, so you don't have to load up your bikes into a car.
    This sounds like a nice ride. I'd be happy to ride with you. I ride every day but usually only 5 or 10 miles. It's my physical therapy for a total knee replacement I had in June trying to get flexibility back. We're gone this weekend in Idaho doing the Hiawatha trail.

    I haven't found anyone to ride with (other than the cute 8-year-old girl across the street who can move along pretty well on her pink Barbie bike LOL) either. Ephrata has a bunch of people who get together but no one that I know of here.

    We can meet somewhere in town and decide how to go about getting out on trails with other locals.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    My pal that goes to Sun Lakes every year says there's quite a bit of doubletrack to ride around there as well. It would certainly be interesting if there was a ride that took you down into and along the edge of the Coulees along that stretch. Be it at Sun Lakes or Steamboat Rock...
    i know i'd hit that on my way to Kettle Crest every year.
    I mentioned that Google Earth showed trails headed into the badlands east of Sun Lakes State Park. Today I biked into one of them. You can access this trail by parking at the north end of the Park Lake Trail at Sun Lakes State Park and then riding about .6 miles south along the paved road til you pass a pair of basalt outcrops on the left (east) side of the road... just past those there is a partially overgrown double track leading up the hill to the left. Ride up the hill and then down... at the bottom take the doubletrack leading south and follow it until it intersects with the trail coming from the resort. Keep moving up the hill and through the fence then head directly up the arroyo on the good trail. This trail is excellent riding with the only problems being some rocky spots and sagebrush growing close to the trail.

    I did not go as far as I could as it was 5:30pm by the time I turned around. Getting back I rode fast downhill into Laurent's Resort where I was told we could park and ride by just telling them at the office. This would cut at least 3/4 mile from the trip to the rim of the canyon.

    The uphill is not too strenuous but my bike would not shift into the lowest two gears and I ended up pushing up the steepest bits. Once into the arroyo itself the trail is fairly level all the way to at least the first lake (where I turned around). Views are beautiful. It's quiet and the smell of sage permeates the air. Google Earth shows a photo of a double arch well into the badlands and I plan to get there before the snow flies. Lat/Lon of this photo is 43 deg 34 minutes 07.84 seconds North and 119 deg 22 minutes 31.38 seconds West.

    There is a state park (Sun Lakes State Park) at 3 commercial campgrounds within a mile of the trail (including Laurent's which is directly next to the south fork of the trail). The weather should be good through October. This is desert so bring sunscreen and lots of water. Wildlife includes coyotes (lots of scat on the trail), deer, quail, and rattlesnakes. I saw no rattlesnakes but they do live in this area. Stay on you bike; if you dismount pick a clear spot. Snakes commonly rest under bushes or on and under rocks. 'Nuff said on that.

    Photos follow showing the trail and the rimrock of the canyon.

  24. #24
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    Pick up any goatheads out there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr
    Pick up any goatheads out there?
    Nope... surprisingly enough I didn't even see any plants. The trail was mostly clear except for rocks and sagebrush growing next to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mosquitoman
    Another area that hasn't been mentioned yet is Job Corp Dike. It is more double track and a gravel road to get there, but I find it much more tolerable to ride than going across the Sand Dunes. It has the bonus of being able to ride there from town, so you don't have to load up your bikes into a car.
    I scoped this out one Saturday in a pickup truck and discovered the back (qucik) way in to this ride. Much of the road mosquitoman describes is thick gravel and open to motor vehicles (there was a group in there shooting trap when we were there!). But there is a 3-mile section that is closed to vehicles that runs north/south along the western boundary of the refuge. On the S. Frontage road between exits 169 and 174 turn south at Road. C NE and drive about 1/2 mile. There is a large building with a paved parking lot on the right near the end of the road. Parking is no problem.

    Cross the cattle guard and over the wire-rope barricade and you have a nice 3-mile ride into wetlands and trees along a pretty decent doubletrack (with some sandy places about 1/4 mile from the northern end). Makes a nice six-mile ride in and back; about an hour of riding with a couple water breaks. Lots of coyote scat, herons, ducks and egrets on the ponds. I didn't see any deer but they are all through here.

    This would make an excellent trip to take kids, wives and girlfriends on as the track is not strenuous and you ride into trees. I saw no snakes and it's a little late for ticks but there were some overhanging branches and encroaching grasses along the way. As always in the desert it pays to be aware of where you put your feet when you stop but it's nothing to be overly concerned about. I'll try to get a photo or two next time.

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    Thanks again for all the great info guys! Again, planning to spend some time in your area as fall/early winter sets in. Just bought dune flags for my FB's for riding at Beverly dunes/Crab Creek area. If any of you are interested in Fat Bikes (or not) I would be glad to meet up with you. They are awesome in the desert! And alot cheeper w/ the advent of the Salsa "Mukluck".

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    Quote Originally Posted by ward
    Thanks again for all the great info guys! Again, planning to spend some time in your area as fall/early winter sets in. Just bought dune flags for my FB's for riding at Beverly dunes/Crab Creek area. If any of you are interested in Fat Bikes (or not) I would be glad to meet up with you. They are awesome in the desert! And alot cheeper w/ the advent of the Salsa "Mukluck".
    I've already told my wife that I want a Mukluk. She rolled her eyes. I may have to sell something. LOL

    Ward... I'd be happy to meet you and take a look at your FBs and chat. While many of the local trails are good enough for the standard dirt MTB tires (and quite a few can be ridden with MTB street tires) there are some (like the wildlife trails on Dodson Road) that are too sandy to be ridden with a standard MTB. (Trust me... I've tried!)

    I am not even close to a well-toned mtn biker. and generally ride a 5-mile trip.. sometimes 10 so you should not expect a marathon rider. Although I'm sure that some in Moses Lake are.. Send me a message here when you know your schedule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    I scoped this out one Saturday in a pickup truck and discovered the back (qucik) way in to this ride. Much of the road mosquitoman describes is thick gravel and open to motor vehicles (there was a group in there shooting trap when we were there!). But there is a 3-mile section that is closed to vehicles that runs north/south along the western boundary of the refuge. On the S. Frontage road between exits 169 and 174 turn south at Road. C NE and drive about 1/2 mile. There is a large building with a paved parking lot on the right near the end of the road. Parking is no problem.
    I would advise against parking here for very long. I have to be in that area weekly for work, and after my truck had the window broken out while parking there (its actually an old landfill) I decided it is just too visible from anyone along I-90 that wants to see what is in an unattended vehicle. I normally just ride from town and get a few road miles in, but if you wanted to park out there, I would either recommend finding a spot that isn't visible from the freeway, or parking at the state park/Blue Heron Park and riding along the South Frontage Rd.
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  30. #30
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    As a student of BBCC in the mid 80's this is where I first started riding mtb's. Lived and rode mostly around Airmans beach and the trails between the airport and Ephrata, seems like there was fun (in a dessert sort of way) doubletrack everywhere.
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2 or 3. Cunningham Racer.

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    there is a trail near steam boat rock, just north a couple miles called Northrop Canyon. not too long but technical. rattle snakes and a good chance of goatheads. first bit is double track, then single track up to a pond, just above the pond is parking that you can get to another way. fun trail but not a destination trail. the are also some other little trails you can explore there in the canyon.

    I grew up in grand coulee area. I also road lots of cow trails around the area and lots of road to get to said trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aemmer
    As a student of BBCC in the mid 80's this is where I first started riding mtb's. Lived and rode mostly around Airmans beach and the trails between the airport and Ephrata, seems like there was fun (in a dessert sort of way) doubletrack everywhere.
    If you love the desert (and I do) then Moses Lake has a lot of riding available to you. Mostly, as you said, doubletrack; old jeep trails or even old wagon trails. To find them Google Earth is your friend. By using the zoom and tilt functions I have been able to trace trails and roads and get a good feel for the terrain, any obstacles, the access points, etc. Really useful for mtb folks.

    By re-orienting the pages youc an even "ride" a trail virtually in your living room. Very cool.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mosquitoman
    I would advise against parking here for very long. I have to be in that area weekly for work, and after my truck had the window broken out while parking there (its actually an old landfill) I decided it is just too visible from anyone along I-90 that wants to see what is in an unattended vehicle. I normally just ride from town and get a few road miles in, but if you wanted to park out there, I would either recommend finding a spot that isn't visible from the freeway, or parking at the state park/Blue Heron Park and riding along the South Frontage Rd.
    I agree that the parking here is in full view of the freeway (I-90) both east and west bound plus the frontage road. If someone is uncomfortable about parking here there is parking at the potato packing outfit at exit 169; you'd look like an employee here. During the week you might want to check for permission.

    I will probably continue to park here as it's only a 90 minute ride (max) and I hate to put road miles on my off-road tires. Plus the 5 or 6 miles in-and-out is plenty of a workout for me. There is almost always another vehicle here even during the day but I've never seen anyone else; I wonder where they go.

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    Odessa's Lake View Ranch and Trails

    I took a short (60 miles from my house in Moses Lake) jaunt to Odessa to see how the Lake View Ranch trail system was. This is BLM-managed land about 7 miles north of the small town of Odessa along the highway to Wilbur. The turnoff is well marked (turn left after the cell-tower farm) and then there is a 3 mile drive on gravel road with some tight 90-deg turns. The ranch itself is still intact including the main house with outbuildings across the road and a shady picnic area. It's not marked for camping but the shaded area would be ideal place to bivy. A guy from Seattle was there when I arrived and told me he had stayed overnight.

    My visit was at the end of September and the weather was still warm (80s). This is desert, of course so take plenty of water. There is water at the area but I cannot vouch for its potability. Water and groceries are available in Odessa.

    The Seattle guy told me he was buzzed by a rattlesnake near the outbuildings and my guess is that there are lots of mice in those buildings so walk with caution.

    The BLM reader board has maps on a shelf under a hinged lid. They explain the area well and show the trails. The main trail begins just west of the reader board past the storage yard. It's marked with a post that says "trail". There is a left-leading fork that goes nowhere.

    The trail is a rough jeep track that is crowded with grass and sage. I did not ride all the way around it. The map shows a trail leading 12.9 miles back to Odessa but I could not see this on Google Earth. The "loop" is pretty clear. There are some technical bits on the trail with loose rocks but nothing really difficult but, unlike many government sponsored trails, the track is not suitable for road tires... even fat road tires.

    The "lakes" in the area are dry but apparently had water in them as recently as ten years ago. Local farmers have been pumping water out of the aquifer to the extent that even *they* are having problems getting it to the surface. Pacific Lake was once stocked with trout and crowded with fishermen as well as local water skiers. Today you can clearly see where the lake once was but is no more. They are refilling the aquifer from water out of the Columbia Basin Reclamation District but it will take years before it returns to where it was in the 1970s.

    The ride is beautiful desert riding with valleys and rimrock and lots of sage and grasses. Pure cross country suitable for practically anyone. There is camping just east of the ranch house at "Pacific Lake" but, frankly, I think that pitching a tent on the grass at the ranch would be nicer. Or camp at the golf course/rv park in Odessa just 7 miles away.

    If you love cross country riding in the desert and wide vistas with rimrock and sage then this ride is a jewel. It has everything you need but is almost completely unvisited even by local riders. Best riding is in the fall (right now) with the rattlesnakes going dormant in the cool temperatures. Even so, watch where you plant your feet when you stop.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Moses Lake Area Trails-picnic-area-ranch_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-lakeview-trail_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-lakeview-trail-odessa_a.jpg  


  35. #35
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    Neat trip report.

    The BLM page showing a map is here:

    http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recr...eview_Site.pdf

    The trail definitely existed ~4 years ago at the Odessa End.

    Sucks that the surface water is gone; a restored Crab Creek would be awesome!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Sagebrush Slug
    Neat trip report.

    The BLM page showing a map is here:

    http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recr...eview_Site.pdf

    The trail definitely existed ~4 years ago at the Odessa End.

    Sucks that the surface water is gone; a restored Crab Creek would be awesome!
    Thanks for the link to that map; it's the one available at the BLM readerboard at the ranch. Looking closely at it I see that I missed an important detail. The trail (with the post marked TRAIL) is just a link to that main trail leading up from Odessa. This may explain why it was pretty rugged (plus it's not much used even by locals).

    I forgot to mention that the elevation difference between the Odessa end of the trail and the Lake View Ranch end is only ab out 300 feet. Of course, there could be a bunch of ups and downs in between. Looking at Google Earth I still cannot follow the trail but I can see bits and pieces. It's also worth noting that a portion of hte trail is shared with motorized vehicles; although apparently few people go up there since the lakes all evaporated.

    It would be nice to get a few of the area x/c riders together and maybe hit this trail as well as others.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    It would be nice to get a few of the area x/c riders together and maybe hit this trail as well as others.
    I'm a local (well, Eburg) every other Sunday, I'd be up for that. :-)

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    October 9th at Lake View Ranch

    My wife will be out of town next weekend so I'm planning to camp at the Ranch and explore .

    This morning we drove up there and found the main trail (the north trailhead is about a mile up the road past the ranch house). That trail is pretty good doubletrack for at least 3 miles. About 2.5 miles in is an intersection where there is a loop off to the right. We didn't take it but are saving it for another trip. Another 1/2 mile south is where the trail from the Ranch itself intersects. Sue and I turned onto that and decided to wait for more riders. There are two small lakes (with actual water); we made it to the first and then the trail cuts up the hill to the left along lots of loose rock, then down with more loose rock. Oh... and it turns to singletrack. Pretty steep and very technical with a bit of exposure.

    So we turned around and rode back to the main trail and back to the car. A bit over 6 miles total with most of it on the well-kept doubletrack jeep road (which is open to motor vehicles at least as far as we went along it).

    The trail to the ranch is marked "CLOSED" but the small print implies "vehicles" only. There are posts with the word TRAIL every few hundred yards. Lots of rim rock, loose rock, and single track once you get to the first lake.

    The main trail is a relatively easy ride but still lots of exposed rock outcroppings. I expected this trail to dip into the rim rock canyons but it had not done that by the time we got to the ranch track. Next week I'll be up there Saturday morning most probably with my 21-foot 1972 Streamline trailer (looks like an Airstream). Anyone who wants to ride along will be welcome.

    Ihave to say that this looks like x/c heaven. So far no serious climbs or descents just riding along often two abreast on doubletrack chatting and watching the scenery. The maps indicate many trails going in to craters, pot hole lakes, dry lakes, arroyos and canyons and all public (BLM) land. See ya next weekend!

  39. #39
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    Palisades Area NW of Ephrata - Douglas Creek Canyon

    Between about 1920 and 1980 the Great Northern Railroad ran grain trains from Mansfield, WA through Douglas, WA (just east of Waterville) and then down the scenic Douglas Creek Canyon where it emerged near Palisades, WA. Most of these towns are small in comparison to their stature in the early part of the 20th century and some, like Palisades, are nearly ghost towns. In the 1980s the Burlington Northern pulled the tracks up and deded the right-of-way over to adjacent landholders and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).

    The Canyon is a spectacular gorge cut from the basalt rock by the now-diminutive Douglas Creek (which is one of the few year-round waterways in central Washington). Roads access the canyon from Highway 2 east of Waterville and from Palisades reached from Moses Lake via Sagebrush Flats Road leading out of Ephrata, WA to the intersection with Road 12NW where you turn left and drive down into the Moses Coulee. About 6 miles west is the intersection (look for the bridge with guardrails and the obvious railroad grade on the hillside ahead).

    The road north from Palisades runs adjacent to the old railway bed and bypasses the old collapsed tunnel near the entrance to the gorge. This area is shared use and you can expect to find hunters (in season), off road vehicles, hikers, and even the occasional jeep; especially on weekends.

    The road into the canyon leads across a portion of Douglas Creek (where you must ford the creek - which is not difficult in most SUVs and pickup trucks except after a heavy rain. After the ford the road turns to the right (north) and begins a steep climb crossing the old railroad grade and passing a BLM reader board (with a map) and a parking area. In the right vehicle you can drive to the remains of the old tunnel where some ORVs have continued on. At this point it's not a bad idea to ride your bicycle.

    I did not ride far into the canyon due to time constraints but I have been told by locals that it's possible to ride all the way to Douglas (and even possibly to Mansfield) as long as you're willing to cross the creek from time to time. They also reported that it's even easier to ride down the canyon from Douglas. The trails and roads and old railroad bed are easily visible leading out of Mansfield and Douglas and north from Palisades into the canyon which makes planning your ride easier.

    Ford across Douglas Creek near Palisades, WA

    Looking North into the Canyon

    Old Palisades Country Store (Now a Weekend Retreat for Seattlites)

    More images here: http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/558308117jCxHRj
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Moses Lake Area Trails-douglas-creek-ford_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-douglas-creek-canyon_1.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-palisades-store.jpg  


  40. #40
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    Palisades Area NW of Ephrata - 3 Devils Gorge

    Reached by driving west on Sagebrush Flats Road (past the access to Beazley Hill) to the intersection of Road 12 NW and then part way down the hill into Moses Coulee there is a BLM double track leading to the left (west) before descending to the ranch buildings.

    The 3 Devils refer to rock formations in the area. The trail is entered via a classic "ranch" style gate from a parking area just off the road leading from Rd. 12 NW down into the floor of Moses Coulee. You can see the gate with Great White (my bike) resting against it. It takes a bit of push to get it closed behind you.

    I have to admit that I did not ride this trail to its end (which, from Google Earth, appears to end in a steep descent down to the floor of Moses Coulee several miles west of the trailhead) because I frittered away a fair bit of time talking to locals about the trails in the area; and about goats, cattle, tourists, school bus driving, and other topics. Nice people.

    The trail is relatively flat leading between basalt rock formations on either side and is marked "no motorized vehicles allowed". This, I am sure, deters all the moto drivers. But since the trail is not much of a challenge for a moto (or a mtb rider for that matter - but it's very scenic) there were few problems in the bits I rode (about a mile in). Lots of sagebrush and rimrock. Probably rattlesnakes in season (spring, summer, early fall) but the locals told me that they had not seen one all year except recently when, they think, the snakes were heading to their dens due to much cooler weather.

    I have this ride on my schedule due to its proximity to Moses Lake (about 40 miles).

    First photo is my mtb at the gate. Second photo is the trail continuing on from where I stopped and turned back.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Moses Lake Area Trails-west-3-devils-trail_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-3-devils-trail-head_a.jpg  


  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by washington_desert_rat
    My wife will be out of town next weekend so I'm planning to camp at the Ranch and explore .
    Just to confirm, I plant to arrive at the Ranch House on Saturday morning, October 9th and will stay there in my RV (1972 Streamline) unless a ranger kicks me out; in which case I'll be parked at the Pacific Lake camp area which is accessed by turning right onto the marked gravel road just north of the Ranch House itself.

    I've invited several Moses Lake mtb riders but they're an eclectic lot and whether they'll show up is uncertain.

    I plan to ride the loop west of the main Lakeview Trail as well as maybe hit a couple of the trails shown heading into the dry lakes. Some of the lakes, by the way, still have water in them but I'm not sure which ones yet.

    A .pdf map of the area showing access from Odessa was posted by the Sagebrush_slug but I'll copy it here just in case you're thinking of coming along.

    http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recr...eview_Site.pdf

    I will be leaving some time Sunday afternoon.

  42. #42
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    Update - Lake View Ranch north of Odessa

    This morning, despite a crappy weather report, I loaded up my 21-foot Streamline trailer with bike, gear and two dogs and headed to the Ranch. My plan was to stay there Saturday and Sunday and ride as many trails as I could. Rain with predictions of even more rain put an end to that plan but not before I got in a nice 5.3 mile loop including a lightly used trail leading from the Ranch up to the main Odessa/Lake View Trail. This was the trail that my wife and I had abandoned last week because we were afraid it would get too technical for us.

    Mtb riders in the Puget Sound area might scoff at a little rain, but we get 300 days of sunshine a year over here and... well, let's face it... some of us are wimps.

    A family of equestrians pulled in with an incredible RV which carried a couple from Moses Lake, their grand-daughter, and three horses and gave them all living space. Nice folks too. The Ranch has facilities for securing horses in corrals formerly used by the cowboys. Just a reminder that we share these trails with others. They hadn't been on any of the trails before so I spent a little time to show them where I had ridden and where I would like to ride.

    I started at the Ranch and headed almost due west on the one trail that leads away from the outbuildings. I wanted to ride as far as I could along that trail and then connect up with the main trail from Odessa and loop north and then east and back to the Ranch. I figured I'd probably meet up with the equestrians at some point.

    A look at the photos below shows just how faint this trail is in places. But it's all passable although I did have to hike-a-bike twice in steep rocky cliffs. Most of this ride is uphill and I stopped to drink lots of water despite the light rain showers. There are posts with the word "TRAIL" on them about every 100 yards on this trail so that helped when the path blended in with the grass and sage. When I could see the place Sue and I turned around last time I knew I would make it around the loop.

    Well worth visiting if you like desert rides. It's also excellent training ground for riders trying to improve skills.

    The rain began in earnest about the time I was riding down the road back to the Ranch. After lunch and a short nap we took a walk (the dogs and I) in a lull and then took another nap when the rain started back up. Finally I asked for a vote: "Everyone who just wants to go back home get up and get on the floor." Both dogs immediately got up, jumped down onto the floor, and looked at me. That was good enough for me and we headed home at 6:30 pm in more rain. I got home and, for the first time since last spring, turned the furnace on. But we will return to Lake View Ranch; its just too nice an area not to go back to.

    The last photo shows just how difficult it can be to discern the trail without the marker posts (which is at the top of the rise).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Moses Lake Area Trails-ranch-trail-lake_a.jpg  

    Moses Lake Area Trails-hidden_trail.jpg  


  43. #43
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    More Lakeview Ranch (Odessa)

    This area continues to attract me. It's only an hour from my home, it has a nice camping area (for free), there are stores (and a tavern) 7 miles away over not-too-bad roads, and the trails are a nice combination of short and medium with a mix of single-track along with places where you and your best friend can ride side-by-side and chat. Wildlife abounds with mule deer, herons, geese, and the odd coyote (coyote sign is everywhere). Rim rock canyons, scattered lakes (some even have water), and NO SHOOTING.

    Here is another photo taken on the trail leading from the ranch headquarters west to intersect with the "Lake View Trail". This is the path around the western-most lake before the last little climb up to the main trail and is barely discernible even when you're riding it. Lots of loose basalt rock, a steep incline to the south (down to the little lake), and a short but steep downhill before you get to the part of the trail that climbs out away from the lake.

    This is a great place for anyone to gain experience.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Moses Lake Area Trails-single-track_a.jpg  


  44. #44
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    Quincy's Ancient Lakes

    The basalt layers next to the Columbia River often offer "benches" which stretch for miles with canyons leading off to penetrate the layer above. Just west of Quincy, WA lie the "Ancient Lakes". Take Road 9 west from the White Trail Road and follow it past the orchards and down the hillside to where it heads south for a few miles and ends at a big parking area and a gated entrance to trails. This is easy to find on Google Earth

    This trail (and I have no photos because the battery on my cam died) goes for about 20 miles with basalt cliffs to the east and the Columbia River to the west. Some offshoots head down towards another plateau lower down nearer the river and others head west into the rim rock with lakes, waterfalls and steep trails out at the ends. Crescent Bar can be seen at times off to the north as you drive in.

    The day we rode this we met equestrians and hikers (both with friendly dogs) but had long sections to ourselves. Our plans were to take the first canyon trail east in to a series of small lakes at the head of a canyon which lies just north of the one that holds "Dusty Lake". We missed the main doubletrack and instead took a single track farther south which was a real adventure with disappearing trail overgrown with sage and grass and strewn with lots of loose (and not-so-loose) rock. Both of us were knocked off our bikes by obstacles hidden in the grass obscuring the trail but no damage done. The old ruts of the doubletrack are quite deep and steep-sided. If your front tire hits one at the wrong place it can shake you up a bit; this combined with the rocks can make it a challenge for new riders but nothing really serious.

    After passing one lake we headed off cross-country (no trail) and down to the larger trail we had missed. Campsites litter the area near the lakes and a decent waterfall extrudes irrigation runoff from the Columbia Basin Irrigation District which feeds the hundreds of farms on the next level up. We both had to push up a steep hill littered with loose rocks but were rewarded with a gentle downhill ride almost all the way back to the main trail where we raced two equestrians with "the look" of old time ranchers. (We, too, are old time ranchers but I doubt they realized this since we were on mountain bikes.)

    You must have a $12 parking sticker to park here without penalty. If you are a fisherman (or woman) or hunter the sticker comes with your license. If not you can buy one at many sporting goods stores.

    We were there on one of the last glorious days of the 2010 Autumn (last weekend) and it was, quite frankly, one of my best bike rides ever. New trails (to us), temps in the low 70s, no clouds, single and double track into the wilderness, lakes and rim rock, sage and no snakes (they're denned up). Plus Corey, at Allsports in Moses Lake, had tuned both our bikes (and revamped mine) so they were performing better than ever for us.

    A total distance of about 6 or 7 miles and a time of almost 2 hours (hey, we stop a lot to look at the scenery - and there is a lot of it on these trails).

  45. #45
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    Anyone know how conditions in the basin are holding up? Trying to decide on sneaking in one last dirt ride on Sunday or heading up towards Chinook pass with the old beater back country XC skis...
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr
    Anyone know how conditions in the basin are holding up? Trying to decide on sneaking in one last dirt ride on Sunday or heading up towards Chinook pass with the old beater back country XC skis...
    I haven't ridden Beazley for a while but I rode the Job Corp Dike into the billabongs Wednesday and it was fine. The sandy bits were firmed up from the rain and not grabby at all. So, depending upon where you want to ride, I'd say that right now it's not that bad.

    My iPhone says we're expecting 30% rain on Sat/Sun but the temps are mid-to-upper 50s so just a rain cape would keep you dry in the sprinkles.

    Of course, a trip to Chinook Pass for x/c skiing sounds like fun too. Unfortunately I can't do back country any more and have to wait for enough snow to groom the trails (and hope that they've improved the grooming on Cabin Creek).

    We should have great riding on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday with temps near 60 and sunshine with lower rain chances... but I am semi-retired and can take advantage of that.

    Plus the Moses Lake ice rink (free!) opens on November 5th. Did I mention that it's free?


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