A few questions about riding Gifford Pinchot...

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by Eldon, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    I've been trying to get down to Gifford Pinchot to camp and ride for a few years now, but just haven't found the time. With this year being no excptions, I've carved out a DAY trip to check it out on July 6th.

    I'm worried it'll be too early to ride the good higher elevation single track and would like to hear from anyone thats been up there recently. I'd also love to hear any suggestions on what trails to ride or a good loop to take. (I'll be driving to either Blue lake or Cat creek depending on suggestions)

    I'd be looking to ride anywhere between 45-65 miles of Single Track and I don't mind if it's steep, gnarly, or difficult. (I'll be on my YZ250).

    Thanks guys!!
    #1
  2. Dan950ser

    Dan950ser Two Wheeled Addict

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    I wanna go too. Can't wait to ride it with you buddy.
    #2
  3. rm_hm

    rm_hm Logging Road Cruiser

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    On Monday, June 24, the snowline, above which snow covered the ground, in many places was around 5,000 feet westside and 6,000 feet eastside. However, in the peculiar deep-snow Lone Pine area down south of Mt. St. Helens at 3,800 feet there was still a trace of snow. At 4,500 ft. such as White Pass, Potato Hill and Bumping Ridge there was no snow, except in the snowier Cayuse Pass area there were still two feet. Up higher around the Cascade crest above 5,000 ft. the snow depths were zero to six feet, except far over on the eastside at high places like Lost Horse and Green Lake there was no snow left.

    Forest Roads Westside
    All forest roads above about 4,700 feet still have snow.
    Roads formerly gated and closed to vehicles, open only to winter recreation, are now open to all vehicles, but many still have impassable snow.
    Call 360-497-1100 for information on Cowlitz Valley Ranger Distict forest roads.

    #1260 Packwood Lake Rd. is driveable to the trailhead parking lot.
    #21 Johnson Ck. 6/20 Open all the way from Hwy. 12 to jct. #23.
    #2150 Chambers Lake- 6/20 Open to Snowgrass Flats Trailhead, not open yet to Berry Patch Trailhead or Chambers Lake.
    #2160 Walupt Lake- 6/20 Open all the way to the lake.
    #22 North Fork- 6/20 Open.
    #23 Randle-Trout Lake- 6/20- Open all the way.
    #2329 High Lakes- 6/13- Rd. #2329 at elevs. 4,000 to 4,500 ft. is reported to be accessible from Rd. #5603 above Orr Ck. Sno*Park, and from there open to Muddy Meadows, Horseshoe Lake, Keenes Horse Camp, Midway Meadows, Killen Ck. CG and Killen Ck. Trailhead. The north end of Rd. #2329 is accessible from Rd. #56. The south end of Rd. #2329 is accessible from Rd. #23 and it’s open to Takhlakh Lake. Still has patches of impassable snow north of Takhlakh.
    #25 Iron Ck./ Elk Pass- 6/13 Open all the way!
    #26 Quartz Ck- 5/14 Reported vehicles can drive to Ryan Lake.
    #28 Yellowjacket- 5/18- Open to many small trees blocking the road at MP 12.8 at Elev. 2,800 ft., which is 1.8 mi. past jct. #2800.121, and about 4 mi. before Mosquito Meadows. There is no snow there.
    #29 McCoy Ck- 4/8 Cecelia Briggs of Randle reports to us that there is a washout about 12.5 miles up #29. Thank You Cecelia!
    #45 Cortright Ck- 5/16 Blocked at MP 2.9 by several 6” trees across road. Elev. 2,700, no snow there.
    #4510 Summit Creek- 5/16 Open 1.7 mi. beyond Summit Ck. Campground to MP 3.6, there blocked by 6” snowdrift just beyond the private driveways. Elev. 3,000 ft. On 5/30, #4510 reported open to “Summit Crk.” (we suspect they mean Soda Springs Campground) but campground not cleaned up.
    #47 Willame Crk.- 6/20 Open to 200 yards before jct. #4740 Long Lake.
    #48 Hager Ck- Open to a half mile beyond the slide, blocked by a couple of small trees across road at MP 6.7, no snow there. Elev. 3,100 ft.
    #52 Skate Creek Forest Highway- OPEN and in excellent condition.
    #56 Orr Creek- 5/18 Open all the way from jct. #21 to jct. #2160.
    #5601 Adams Fork- 6/20 Open from #2329 to Ollalie Lake.
    #5603 Spring Ck.- 5/16 Reported to be open all the way from jct. #56 to jct. #2329.
    #59 Copper Ck.- 5/24 Open to snow at MP 5.6.
    #5920 Lake Christine- 5/24 Blocked by snow at MP 0.4
    #63 Davis Ck.- 6/6 CLOSED by slide.
    #74 Nisqually Loop- 5/24 Open to Ladd Pass, deep snow beyond that.
    #7409 Ladd Mt.- 5/19 Open to root wad fallen on road at MP 2.6 at Elev. 2,700, which is 0.7 mi. past jct. #7409.105. No snow there.
    #76 Greenhorn- 5/18 Open all the way.
    #84 Silver Pass- North end 5/19 Open to dozens of small trees blocking road to most vehicles from MP 3.4 to MP 4.3 at Elev. 2,900 just past jct. #8420. There are many snowdrifts in timber nearby so a blocking snowdrift is not much farther ahead. South End- 5/24 Blocked by snow 200 yds. short of jct. 4740.
    #8440 Towhead Gap- 6/20 Open 3.2 mi.from jct. #85 to snow.
    #85 Catt Ck.- 6/20 Open 7.2 mi. beyond jct. #8440.
    #99 Windy Ridge/Wakepish- 6/20- Rd. #99 at elevs. 2,800 to 4,300 ft. is still not open, projected to be open around July 4.


    Don't forget to browse the GP MVUM MAP to see what roads are off limits this year.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/giffordpinchot/home/?cid=stelprdb5289777

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5410182.pdf
    #3
  4. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    Thank you for the report rm_hm!! I'll have to dig up some maps online now and plan out a loop. Or I might just have to wing it. Thank you again. I can hardly wait to ride there!!
    #4
  5. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    Still open to trail/loop suggestions. I hear the Dark Divide trail is nice as well as Juniper Ridge. Are there any "If you only have one day"... trails I need to hit?
    #5
  6. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Don't ride there solo - trust me, anything can happen! (buy a trials tire. Helps a ton and doesn't tear the crap out of the place)

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=823732

    It's all good now but there is NO WAY I could've gotten back to camp without my friends.
    #6
  7. Dorian

    Dorian huge carbon footprint

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    You have time, check out the website and get a GPNF map
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/giffordpinchot/maps-pubs
    All of the trails are shown so you can plan a ride.

    4th of July is about the earliest I've ever been able to ride without major drifts here and there (Jumbo Pk). Arguably some of the best (technical) alpine single track riding in the state - or anywhere for that matter. Views are breathtaking! Like Wachs says, not advisable to go alone! Fuel range can be a problem with longer, all trail loops. If you are street-legal it opens up more options to shorten loops via FS roads if you have limited fuel range ~50mi.

    Blue Lake Ridge, Cispus Ridge and Yozoo trails are pretty nice and tame with great views. Other side of the river go up Tongue Mtn trail to Juniper Ridge and beyond to Dark Divide etc. Langille Ridge and the Rough Trail are trials bike friendly :eek1. I'll see if I can dig up some trail numbers.

    Have fun! Dorian
    #7
  8. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    I don't like trail riding alone, even in areas I'm familiar with so I'll definitely be riding with good friends. I've got an idea of the loop I'd like to take but it sounds like there will be too much snow. (Reports from 6/14/13 say so at least)
    Does anyone know if Juniper Ridge is passible? If not I guess we'll have to ride over on the Blue Lake side but I really hope not. I'd like to ride from Langille Peak down to Yellowjacket then back up past Jumbo and Sunrise Peaks then down from Tongue Mtn.
    #8
  9. joeaverage

    joeaverage mediumcore

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    I was up on the Burley lookout about week and a half ago and it looked like there was still quite a bit of snow between the north side of Jumbo and Sunrise peak. We're supposed to get a heatwave next week so...

    There were some people riding the Tongue mt trail
    #9
  10. layzrider

    layzrider Layzrider

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    Here is the latest on the trails-
    http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/1027794-gifford-pinchot-national-forest-trail-up-date/

    The trails still have snow and fallen trees. With the snow, volunteers can not get to the fallen trees to cut them out. You can ride most roads with your street legal bike but not the trails. Even the basic Blue Lake loop is not open and probably will not be even with the hot weather coming. You can ride up to the snow line and then back down. Ride to the next one and repeat. But don't expect to make it through. Riding around snow drifts and fallen trees tears up the landscape and says to FS people that dirt bike riders can not be trusted to stay on the trails. Tread Lightly.
    #10
  11. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    I am not sure of your abilities but that loop is a rather serious undertaking.

    I imagine the Blue Lake stuff is probably open and if climbing up Bishop Ridge trail doesn't test you, I am not sure what will. The Blue Lake side is not so bad. I always like the Yozoo and then a visit to Hamilton Butte is always fun. Great views from up there.

    You may be too early for the high stuff. I have alway been down there in the first week of September.

    Have fun out there.
    #11
  12. Me_Rock

    Me_Rock Adventurer

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    If you get pulled over by a red bearded tree cop that drives a pickup with shiny toolboxes, he's really nice to motorcyclists. He gave me a warning for 23 over once.
    #12
  13. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    If you get pulled over by someone in a pickup that does not have flashing lights, don't stop.
    #13
  14. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    Thank you for the link to thumpertalk Layzrider and thank you MasterMarine for your suggestion on Bishop Ridge trail on the Blue Lake side as well as your words or caution for the route I hoped to take. I'm not one to be cocky about my riding ability as everyone has room to improve. But I do enjoy the rides that test my skills, endurance, and mind.

    After much research I've decided to bag the trip on the 6th and go the last week in August when there will be no question about snow being an issue (I hope)

    Thanks guys!!
    #14
  15. joeaverage

    joeaverage mediumcore

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    This is a pretty good source of info for the local area roads and trails http://www.highwayshopper.com/. The GP roads are on page 10 of this issue. I was able to sneak away this morning and burn a tank of gas on the 275 trail. Considering my last attempt a couple of months ago was a die zaster I almost doubled back. I'm glad I didn't. No snow this time and thank you to those who cleared the downed trees. It's a fun trail and not too challenging for a single track n00b like myself.
    #15
  16. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    Okay my plan to ride GP is back on for this Saturday only. I'll be going up Friday night with two close friends that happen to be exceptionaly skilled riders. Our plan is to ride #268 south past Langille Peak then east on #1 to #261 Jumbo Peak, past Sunrise Peak, and Juniper Ridge then #293 buzzing either a few miles of FS 29 to meet back up with trail 283 and loop back to FS 28 or just loop back on FS roads to the truck. Anyone think this is unrealistic to tackle in one day before making the 2.5 hr trip back to Olympia before 9:30pm or so? :ear

    P.S. I've never been to GP but did ride Nachez this year. (South way into Mt. Cliffty) and we keep a moving average of 14 mph for that loop. How might this loop compair?

    PPS. okay that route looks like only 30.8 miles of trails so I might add a side route to Badger peak and back to make it about 42.7 miles of trail riding.
    Okay lets hear it from the experts.
    #16
  17. layzrider

    layzrider Layzrider

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    Ride the Dark Divide trails with a 950? A, no. The Juniper - Langille loop is 47 miles, including 9 miles of road. Hence, the need to be street legal. I have done the loop on my DRZ 400. A 250 is better. Figure less than 5 mph average. Start early in the morning to allow for trouble, which you could likely have., Several riders have spent the night out there. Langille might not be logged out. There is one climbing section that is totally rutted, up to dragging the cases. Unbelievably steep hillsides, some would call them cliffs. Nobody does side trips to Badger. Unrideable switchbacks on the way. Volunteers have purposely not posted info on trail maintenance. Too many riders and not enough people fixing the trails. Not a good attitude, but one we have had to adopt.
    This is fun just thinking about riding this on a big bike, you are joking I hope. Riding the Blue Lake trails on a good dual sport bike is a good first time ride. 40-50 mile rides are possible. Not really rideable on an adventure bike. In theory, it could be done. PM me for a good adventure bike loop. Great scenery on some old dirt roads, with a little easy trail. I have ridden it on my Transalp. a good challenge.
    #17
  18. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    Oh no, not on the 950 this would be on the YZ 250
    #18
  19. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Your plan sounds perfect - might even have time to gobble down some huckleberries up by Jumbo. Take lots of pics! :freaky
    #19
  20. Eldon

    Eldon 950 ADV

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    Thank you everyone for all the imput (especially Layzrider.) We made it back from GP in one peace, and had an unforgettable ride. We got a late start due to bike problems and regrettably only had time to ride the Langille trail then bug out down Rough trail (the name summed up that 2 mile stretch. Lots of down trees) to road 29. It was definitely a skill testing ride. I"ll try and get some of the good pictures up and a little ride report posted here in a few days. I'll post a link to this thread.
    #20