I and a friend have been scouting routes for the Mt. bike legal sections with the Cowiche Conservency's trail planner. He's got historical maps dating back as far as the 1800's when the routes were wagon trails. We rode a section last Saturday that had not been traveled in a long, long time. Hand dug side hill and hand stacked rocks. You'd never see it if we didn't have Goggle Earth to study ( or the trail planner's maps). Many sections of the William O. trail will be legal for mtb's. It will run from Davis High School (Where he went to school ( an old, now deceased friend of our family actually went to school with him- it was "Yakima High" then)); to the Yakima Greenway via a new paved path along N. 6th Ave.; along the Greenway to 40th Ave. From there it will probably follow the new extension of the greenway (under construction) towards Naches, crossing highway 12 at Painted Rocks or up Powerhouse Rd, not sure, eventually heading up Cowiche Canyon Road. At that point the trail is supposed to follow the old railroad bed up the canyon to the boundary of the C.C. but some property and funding politics need to be worked out; then through the C.Conservency to the west boarder. Not sure where the trail will go from there on it's way to the Snow Mountain Ranch section of the C.C. but it will most assuredly travel through it as well (BTW, not sure if the section going through Snow Mountain Ranch will be MTB legal- but there will be a bypass route); from the parking area at Snow Mountain Ranch is where we've been scouting. We took a couple trips last year- I posted a couple films- looking at routes through the Cowiche Segment of the Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Several Elk fence crossing's and some ambiguous private land that may be too much of a challenge to secure right of way. So, looking for a more "State land" oriented route... hence the cool old wagon route. It's rough, but has potential, and get's you off the Cowiche Mill Road within a couple miles or so. Anyhow, the plan is to travel up onto the Hatton Road, then on to Divide Ridge and up to Jump Off L.O.. from there, down an old single track section of the Divide ridge trail (Shiggy & I rode & filmed that section last July- it's on here somewhere) to one of two old, Pretty much abandoned trails leading down to the "Tieton Basin" (Rimrock Area). Not sure the route from there but it's headed (obviously) for The William O Douglass Wilderness... where mtb's will have to park and continue on foot or go home. The plan is for the trail to go from his high school to Mt. Rainier.
Here's the vid form Snow Mountain Ranch to Hatton Road and on up towards Jump Off L.O. The Wagon Route we took last weekend ends up directly at the second Elk fence crossing. The sentiment now is to follow the fence line along the maintnence crew's "trail" (will have to be "beat in") around to Hatton road rather than through the Elk fences and subsequent ambiguous land. In the vid, we hit Hatton just a little ways before the first gate we open rather than climb. The rest is Hatton Rd. to the end. At the end, we zoom in on a gnarly little "Pondi" Pine... This is the vary same tree Shiggy & I pass by and feature on our way to Jump Off L.O. in our film from last July.
Here's Shiggy & I's ride to Jump Off. We started up the Cowiche Mill Road quite a ways and took a steep spur up to Hatton. We pass the gnarly pondi at about 24 seconds into the film. From there it's a continuation of the Hatton Road route up to Divide Ridge and on to Jump Off as the W.O.D. trail is planned.
In Part 2, we head from J.O.L.O. down towards Louie Way Gap on a very, very old section of the Divide Ridge Trail (one of few remaining single track sections of the D. Ridge route). At approx. 2:15 we pass where an even more "forgotten about" route takes off to the north (camera right- not visible on the ground) and straight off the ridge towards Jump off Meadows- the route the W.O.D. trail will most likely take. Shiggy & I continue on down to the Louie Trail (which is the second option- also a very old, historical route and one we know Wiliam O. traveled) and on down into the Rimrock area (historically Tieton Basin).
Like I've said before (may not be so true on the west side), if your skipping the double track, your skipping allot!