Surfing the interweb moto forums, I saw a post from the Entiat Ranger District that said the first part of the upper Mad River Trail opened Saturday. (Sounds like the whole area will be open the weekend after next). Had planned to do an out and back of Lower Mad River Trail, but changed plans after hearing this because I love riding in the Mad Lake area.
Parked at Pine Flats CG, and pedaled up the paved road. Pavement goes for 10.5 miles, then another 4 miles or so to the Tyee Ridge trail at 6,500'. It is STEEP! I was pretty worked by the time we hit the trail.
Tyee Ridge trail takes off going west, and it is fun for a few seconds, then it is a bit of a mess. The trail mixes in all of my least favorite conditions, loose, dusty, rocky, with steep pitches up and down with the same loose, dusty and rocky conditions. I ended up walking quite a bit of this trail. Either the elevation, the trail conditions, or the effort from the climb to the top left me hiking with my bike. This goes on for about 4 miles, before the trail gets fun. As you near Cougar Mtn, there is one final hiking section that must be about 300- 400 yards, but when you reach the top be ready for some really fun riding. It's probably 3- 4 miles of firm, bermed rock free dirt trails, with a few roots thrown in for fun.
At the intersection of Tyee Ridge Trail, and Upper Mad River Trail, the Upper trail was taped off- still closed. So it we crossed the Mad River, and had 5 more miles of awesome singletrack. It rolls a bit, but is mostly downhill.
At Maverick Saddle, we again crossed the River, and took the lower Mad River Trail back to the truck. The lower MRT is in good shape, but is really getting brushy. The trail was fine, but you had to concentrate on not letting the brush grab your bars. The trail is rocky, but on my FS it was really fun. About 4 miles from the end, there was a short climb that I walked- really tired by now. And the switchbacks on the sandy hillside are totally blown out, but I don't think there is any way to make them better.
Overall it was a long, fun day. Brought a filter, and glad we did so we didn't have to carry a full day's supply of water. Mosquitos were out, and seemed to not be bothered by the deet we had sprayed on. It was almost 7 hours including lots of stops. 7,500' of climbing. And a bit of hike a bike. Really fun ride, would be an easy shuttle, especially if you could figure out a way to avoid the first part of Tyee Ridge Trail. I'll attach an elevation profile, so you can see that all the work is done at the beginning, then it's pretty much downhill.
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Thread: RR: Tyee Ridge Loop