East slopes of the Cascades

Posted by: Cascade

East slopes of the Cascades - 10/26/04 07:37 PM

The eastern slopes of the Cascades can make for some fun trips. The other weekend I had a three day outing with some friends. The first was Devil's Gulch outside of Cashmere, WA. It's an old motorcycle trail that's largely been taken over by bikes but you see the occassional motorcycle. You start with a 12 mile, 3,200 ft ride uphill on Forest Service roads, then drop on to the single track for the 12 mi drop back to the trailhead. The trail is excellent and fast, except for those areas that are a bit exposed with a cliff on the uphill side and steep talus on the downhill. There are several challenging stream crossings with a stiff uphill on the far side - sites that used to have bridges that got blown out. Don't be tempted to wimp out and do the car shuttle thing you have to earn the turns.

We then headed to our "secret spot" where we have never seen other bikers. This is a 15 mi, 5.300 elevation gain on state lands along the Columbia River. From the top are stunning views of the Enchantment Range. After some contouring on roads while in the big chain ring you drop on to a gated double track. The road is closed to minimize disturbance to big horns on the grassy/sagebrush slopes. You continually wind around the sagebrush hills at about 30 mph, which is pretty quick for a dirt road! Looking downward into the Columbia valley is pretty amazing. Then off to Leavenworth for beer and bratwurst.

We usually camp and then take any number of short rides outside of town before heading over to the rainy side of the Cascades. Squeeked the ride in this year just before the snow arrived so now it will be time to tune the tele-gear. Check it out if you have a chance. Stop in Leavenworth at "Der Sportsman" for tips on where to ride - there are several bike shops in town for rentals if you don't drag your rig out here.