Fall/winter musings. - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Four Wheeling Forums > Wheelin' Neighborhood > North West USA > Washington Jeep Forum > Fall/winter musings.

Rough Country Lift Kits and Parts!XJ Rail Sale!The Ruffstuff NOT Universal 4 Link Kit!

Reply
Unread 11-17-2012, 11:49 AM   #1
Sclay115
Registered User
1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 91
Fall/winter musings.

Good morning WA section. Been here for a few months so far, wondering if there might exist a listing somewhere of some less intensive trips I can take with a more or less stock ZJ. I know that many of the passes/trails/routes are going to be covered with snow for the rest of the year(I think), so I am trying to get some good stuff lined up for the spring/summer.

At the current time, I'm not really into tight trail runs or crawling, just some limited access roads where I can get out of dodge for a bit. I have seen, in this section, some photos of locations that look like what I am searching for, but can't really seem to find a solid listing(if there is such a thing) of them. Really this would be for legality purposes, and knowing what the route has in store before I get to a point where I feel as if it is over my capability.

I have been up and down the Cascades on various hikes this summer, and think in my head there has got to be some roads out there.

Also, don't take this as me trying to find out where everyone's secret run is where they never see another soul, definitely not my intention, so some publicly known routes that are well marked is what I am after.

Thanks guys!

Steve

Sclay115 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-17-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
Eron
Registered User
1993 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
Posts: 189
May I suggest getting a Washington St. Gazetteer. Great book that will show you nearly all streets, an most forest service road's. Then it will be easy for you to track what roads you have been down. Thats what the family and i do. The old lady play's co-pilot and the kid just talks.....and talks....

Being in Seattle you are close to 100's of forest service roads you can duck into pretty quick. I would think heading for Issaquah would be the fastest for you. Then your right in the thick of it. The further west ya go, the better it gets.
Eron is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-19-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
1982cj8
Registered User
2005 LJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Everett, WA.
Posts: 626
I would recommend Liberty for some good easy wheeling, it is easy to do in your ZJ, not all of the trails but quite a few. Check out this site for maps and other trails, the trails on the upper end of Lake Cle Elum are a good choice also.
http://www.nwjeepn.com/index.htm
__________________
Always bring a compass, it is awkward to have to eat your friends.

4X4XNORTHWEST.COM
1982cj8 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-21-2012, 12:48 AM   #4
3JeepsOffroad
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 147
Next year I'd recommend the Upper Naches Trail, starts at Government Meadows and goes east over the mountain. Nothing crazy and great scenery. For probably 95% of the trail you can get away with 2WD, but it's still slow going, so you might as well go with 4-Lo as everyone will crawl through over the bumps and ruts it does have. It's only open July 15-November 15 every year though.
__________________
[URL="http://www.3jeeps.com"][B][SIZE="4"][COLOR="DarkGreen"]3Jeeps.com[/COLOR][/SIZE][/B][/URL]
Like us on [URL="http://Facebook.com/3Jeeps"]Facebook[/URL] or follow us on Twitter: [URL="http://twitter.com/3JeepsOffroad"]@3JeepsOffroad[/URL]

[B]3 Jeeps Offroad is honored to donate a portion of every sale to help our wounded heroes. For details see our webpage: [URL="http://store.3jeeps.com/Articles.asp?ID=252"]Charity Support[/URL][/B]

3 Jeeps Offroad is proud to be a [COLOR="Red"][B]Warn Authorized Retailer[/B][/COLOR].
3JeepsOffroad is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-21-2012, 04:24 PM   #5
RaggedOleMan
Registered User
2005 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: , Sane's Ville
Posts: 2,340
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3JeepsOffroad View Post
Next year I'd recommend the Upper Naches Trail, starts at Government Meadows and goes east over the mountain. Nothing crazy and great scenery. For probably 95% of the trail you can get away with 2WD, but it's still slow going, so you might as well go with 4-Lo as everyone will crawl through over the bumps and ruts it does have. It's only open July 15-November 15 every year though.
I completely agree. The Little Naches is a benign trail, and beautiful scenery along with some historical markers, too. It closed for the season on November 15th, and I "think" it opens again on July 15, 2013, ground/trail conditions permitting.

There's also a place near Belfair, WA (near Bremerton) called Tahuya. It's DNR land, and Discovery Pass is required, however it's open year round. 95% of the trails are utterly benign. Go with someone that's been there before and you'll likely have yourself a wonderful time.

Other than that there's lots & lots of forest service roads off of Hwy 12, Hwy 410, I-90, US 2, US 20, US 97 and many more, once the snows are gone.
RaggedOleMan is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-21-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
ChadH
Registered User
2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Kent, WA
Posts: 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaggedOleMan View Post
...The Little Naches is a benign trail, and beautiful scenery along with some historical markers, too...

...Tahuya...Discovery Pass is required...

I've seen some awesome pics of Naches - want to try that next year!

I totally didn't realize Tahuya was a Discovery Pass park the other weekend until I saw the ranger handing out tickets! Luckily my stock TJ hid behind all the behemoth JK's and I didn't get cited!
__________________
Life is Good

My Build:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/majestic-eagle-1434780/
ChadH is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-21-2012, 10:20 PM   #7
cycleguy04
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Federal Way, WA
Posts: 450
I second Liberty! It's a great trail! And if you're interested in shooting, the road will take you to Table Mountain which is excellent! Continue further and the road will dump into a residential/pasture area and will eventually lead to Ellensburg.

My bachelor party last year was a trip to the Leavenworth brewery then down to Liberty, through the trail mentioned above, did some shooting, blew some ***** up, camped out near the shooting spot, then back home the next day via I-90. Great time! One guy that was with us had a 2WD Ford Ranger, so you would have no problem!
__________________
[COLOR="Black"][FONT="Showcard Gothic"]'98 Wrangler Sahara - SOLD[/COLOR]

[COLOR="White"]'91 Ranger XLT 2WD - 4.0 V6, A4"hell"D, contemplating twin turbo 5.3[/COLOR]

[COLOR="Red"]'79 C10 Big Ten 2WD - 350, TH350, contemplating rebuilding to 355ci with supercharger and programmable EFI[/COLOR]

[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]'12 Subaru Forester (AKA: Arctic Cat) - 2.5, non-CVT, wife's, still begging her to let me get an exhaust system[/FONT][/COLOR]

[FONT="Showcard Gothic"][COLOR="Blue"]'01 SV650 - snorkelectomy, ebay slip-on, cam swap and re-jet in the near future [/COLOR][/FONT]
cycleguy04 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-21-2012, 11:43 PM   #8
3JeepsOffroad
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 147
Liberty's not bad, usually great scenery. A fellow Jeep guy I was chatting with recently mentioned that he's not sure what's open up there right now or what will be good next spring due to the massive wildfires they had sweeping through there..
__________________
[URL="http://www.3jeeps.com"][B][SIZE="4"][COLOR="DarkGreen"]3Jeeps.com[/COLOR][/SIZE][/B][/URL]
Like us on [URL="http://Facebook.com/3Jeeps"]Facebook[/URL] or follow us on Twitter: [URL="http://twitter.com/3JeepsOffroad"]@3JeepsOffroad[/URL]

[B]3 Jeeps Offroad is honored to donate a portion of every sale to help our wounded heroes. For details see our webpage: [URL="http://store.3jeeps.com/Articles.asp?ID=252"]Charity Support[/URL][/B]

3 Jeeps Offroad is proud to be a [COLOR="Red"][B]Warn Authorized Retailer[/B][/COLOR].
3JeepsOffroad is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-22-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
1982cj8
Registered User
2005 LJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Everett, WA.
Posts: 626
Liberty is closed until next year, remains to be seen how much will open next year.
__________________
Always bring a compass, it is awkward to have to eat your friends.

4X4XNORTHWEST.COM
1982cj8 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-26-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
lupinsea
Registered User
2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Kenmore, WA
Posts: 3,587
There is a sticky in this sub-forum with some good areas to go wheel'n. But perhaps I should update the info on the different trail areas, as well as add some new areas I've been learning about. Here are some recommended areas, not all of them will be passable during the winter months:

Easier Trail Systems
Naches Trail, particularly the eastern half
North Cle Elum Trails
Durr Rd / Umtanum Ridge
Liberty / Table Mountain Area
Manastash Ridge (selected areas)
L.T. Murray Wildlife area
Wenas Wildlife area
Naneum Ridge State Forest
Ahtanum State Forest
Tahuya
Washington Backcountry Discovery Route


Land Management Agencies / Passes
The trail systems within the state are managed by basically two land agencies, the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) and the federal National Forest Service. Each requires their own passes:

Discovery Pass (DNR)
$10 per day or $30 annually, can be used with up to two vehicles. This is the pass for state lands and state parks. The DNR manages the following trails where you'll need the pass:
  • Durr Rd / Umtanum Ridge
  • Wenas Wildlife Area (co-managed with State Dept. Fish / Wildlife)
  • L.T. Murray Wildlife Area
  • Naneum Ridge State Forest
  • Ahtanum State Forest
  • Tahuya
  • Walker Valley (tougher 4x4 / ORV area)
  • Elbe Hills (much tougher 4x4 / orv area)
  • Reiter Hills (new, much tougher 4x4 / orv area)

Northwest Forest Pas (Forest Service)
This is $5 per day or $30 annually, and it can be shared among any vehicles you want. This pass is for "some" federal land throughout the northwest. Mostly needed if you park at trailheads. There is some confusion if it's needed for actual trail riding. Disbursed camping doesn't require the pass. And improved campsites have their own separate daily fees. 4x4 areas that (may) require the pass include / are on federal land include:
  • Naches Trail
  • Manastash Ridge
  • North Cle Elum Trails
  • Liberty / Table Mountain Areas
  • Rimrock (much tougher 4x4 trails)





Naches Trail
Detailed in the sticky. It's a fun trail but not super challenging or tight. The toughest portion is the western end with the hill climbs, some a number of narrow bridging (that the Grand Cherokee can easily handle) toward the summit, and muddy areas in the dark forest portions. The eastern half tends to be more dry and more open but with a rock/dirt mixed trail base with the occasional small root. It makes for very bouncy and slow travel but other wise easy. Near the summit is Government Meadows and a log cabin, both of which are about 200 yd off the Jeep trail right where the Pacific Crest hiking trail crosses. As mentioned, it's open from mid-July to mid-November. 3-day holidays and opening weekend are busy on the trail.



The very start of the western end of the trail. A semi-steep hill climb.



Some of the bridging near the summit



This is as tough as most of the eastern part of the Naches gets



North Cle Elum Trails
There are four trails north of Cle Elum / Roslyn, and beyond Salmon La Sac. They are easy enough for stock SUVs to drive up. The Fortune Creek Trail in particular leads up to Gallagher Head Lake which makes for a nice lunch spot at a pristine alpine lake. You can continue on beyond this on the Hawkins Mt. Mine trail for steeper hill climbs but nothing should otherwise be too challenging. Ditto for the Van Epps off-shoot. Seasoally closes mid-October throuh mid-June. However, given the 6,000 ft elevation there may still be snow on the trail well into July.



Fortune Creek trail in the N. Cle Elum area.



At Gallagher Head Lake.



This is as tough as most of these trails are.
Beautiful scenery but very passable trails.




Durr Rd / Umtanum Ridge
This is part of the Wenas Wildlife area and is an old wagon road from the late 1800's between Ellensurg and Sellah to the south. Durr Rd is easy as it roll across a plateau, them drops through a cut and pops out mid-way up a steep canyon. The road then switch-backs down to the canyon floor, crosses Umptanum Creek (shallow water ford) and climbs up to Umtanum Ridge to the south. Then run the tridge east and west as far as you want. The whole route is easy an can be run in 2WD if you want. It also offers great views over the sparse, arrid hills of eastern Washington. I don't know how accessible this is in winter. If there is snow, it would be wise to stay off as the road into and out Umtanum Canyon is very steep.



About as gnarly as Umptanum gets. Coming up out of the canyon.



Fording the creek at the bottom of Umtanum Canyon



Driving up out of Black Canyon which is a short side
detour from the top of Umtanum Ridge




Liberty / Table Mountain
More 4x4 trail type conditions in this area. Brush and trees can encroach on the trail but otherwise the trails are easy in the dry. In the wet, however, it's slicker 'n snot. There are lots of trails in this area and you could easily spend about 2+ days exploring all of them. There are also some decent camping options, too. However, this whole area was ravaged by some massive wild fires this summer. I have no idea what will be open next season.



As wild and wooly as most of the trails get at Liberty in the summer.



Beautiful views, though.




Manastash Ridge
This is a HUGE ORV area that sprawls over 115 sq miles of territory south of Cle Elum between I-90 and Hwy 410. There is enough trails here to keep you interested for about 4+ days of solid wheel'n. Most of the trails are not bad and many of them a stock SUV can handle. . . though you might wish to take care. There is also a cool cave south of Hwy 410 that is fun to explore. LOTS of camping in the area.

You can also take the Naches Trail from Enumclaw to Manastash. And, to the east you can drop down Berber Springs Rd. to the Wenas area.


L.T. Murray Wildlife Area
These "trails" are quite easy. They are mostly unimproved roads in the state DNR green dot road system. You won't find much in the way of obstacles but it gives you a chance to get off the pavement and gravel roads. Right adjacent to the Manastash Ridge ORV area south of I-90 between Cle Elum and Ellensburg.


Wenas Wildlife Area
Green dot road system managed by the DNR. The Durr Rd / Umtanum route is part of this system. Again, nice exploration for stock rigs as there isn't much in the way of challengine terrain. The Wenas area ranges over the arrid, barren hills between Ellensburg and Sellah / Yakima. Immediately east and adjacent to Manastash Ridge area.


Naneum Ridge State Forest
Another green dot road system with trail / road conditions similar to Umtanum Ridge / Wenas area. They aren't super challenging but they'll be more fun than gravel roads and take you into remote areas. Naneum Ridge "forest" is north of Vantage and I think some of the road get you close to the Columbia river. Never been here. Might be a good place to check out in the winter as I don't think it'll get much snow. No doubt it'll be cold.


Ahtanum State Forest
Another Green dot road system between the Rimrock ORV area south of Rimrock lake and stretching east "toward" Yakima. Never been here but I think it'll be burried under snow in the winter. Most trails shouldn't be too challenging I've never been here to verify that.


Tahuya
This is an ORV area down near Belfair. It's mostly set up for motorbikes / ATVs but they do have two loop trails. One is an easy loop that doesn't require 4WD apart from perhaps some BIG puddle crossings. The other looks a bit more challenging. I went here years ago before they opened the new loop and . . . was bored. Haven't been back in well over a decade and the single new challengine loop is only 1 or so miles long. Not worth the drive to me. However, being only a couple hundred feed above sea level it should be open year round.


Washington Backcountry Discovery Route
A friend tipped me off to this and it would be fun to do some time. It's more of an overlanding route than a 4x4 route. The BDR starts at the Columbia Gorge and stretches to the Canadian border and runs right through the middle of the Cascade Mountains. There is some pavement travel but most of it is on some poorly maintain gravel mountain roads. Parts of it cross the Manastash Ridge / Umtanum Ridge (depending on which route you take) and another cuts through the Table Mountain area (near Liberty). It'll take some research on the specific route you want to take, though. If you did the full route it takes 4-5 days. But you can pick and choose particular segments.
__________________
- Jay
lupinsea is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 12-09-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
Sclay115
Registered User
1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 91
Man! It must have slipped my mind that I had made this thread! To see all these great replies when I came to check it out was a nice surprise. Lots of awesome information that I will browse over and get some plans together for the Spring. Definitely looking forward to it. Thanks for all of the great information!

Steve
Sclay115 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools






Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.