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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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    .~...|...\
    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
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    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  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.


    Rolland

  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..."

  9. #9
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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

  13. #13
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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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  20. #20
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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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