Trail descriptions are general and are designed to assist you in making decisions on trail selections. The ratings are comparative; a rating of 10 is negotiable by vehicles with significant difficulty and high probability damage, even to vehicles that have much aftermarket equipment such as suspension lifts, limited slip differentials and aggressive off road tires. On trails rated 8 or 9 a fully stock vehicle may require significant assistance (winching, towing, etc.) and may be damaged. The ratings assume the driver has some off-road driving experience. Drivers will accept the assistance of other drivers and will drive under control and at speeds that will keep tires in contact with the trail. Ratings assume weather conditions have been normal and that the trails have dried, but have not yet become extremely dusty. Should it rain, the trails become more difficult. A vehicle width restriction is necessary and is enforced.
BALD MOUNTAIN/MANASTASH RIDGE (Rated 2-4 for short wheelbase vehicles; 4-5 for SUVs, 5-6 for full size vehicles). Easy to moderately difficult, depending upon vehicle type and actual route selected (options along the way). This route is suitable for full sized vehicles, but the difficulty is more pronounced. Trail is smooth in places, very rutted and bumpy in other places and rocky in other segments, as well as tight in lodge pole pine forest, contrasted with segments in open meadows. Scenic views of the Stewart Range, Cascade Crest, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and agricultural valleys to the south. Driving time is about six hours. There are several options in this area, depending upon the make of the group (vehicle type and driving skill), and depending upon the amount of available time.
DIVIDE (Rated 4-5; width restriction-75 inches) This trail is a popular family trail that is moderately difficult, but interesting. This is the only trip that offers a view of the general country over which many of the trails are located. It illustrates the contrasts between forests and meadows, and offers views of Manastash Ridge. Return is via the same route or logging road, depending on conditions. Due to the length of the trip, expect a long day.
HISTORIC NACHES PASS (Rated 5 for short wheelbase vehicles and 7 for downsized SUVs/trucks; width restriction-75 inches.) This trail actually follows most of the route taken by the Ezra Meeker Wagon Train (commonly called the Longmire Wagon Train) over the Cascade Mountains in 1853. Trail conditions are varied ranging from dry to wet soil to some loose rock. Some steep grades, but generally the trail is level. There can be significant amounts of water, depending upon the weather, so some sections are bridged to reduce rutting. A segment on the west end straddles a "knife" ridge, with commanding views, including Mt. Rainier and surrounding territory. Some of the trail is in clear-cut areas and some of it is old timber. If weather is wet, this trail can get "interesting." Trip subject to change by USFS.
CLOVER SPRINGS/MUD SPRINGS (Rated 5 for short wheelbase vehicles, 7 for downsized SUVs/trucks; 8 for full size SUVs with some trail rerouting.) Travel via USFS road to Clover Springs, approximately 20 miles. Stop along the way at Little Bald Mountain and view the Flatiron Lake-Old Scab Mountain basin. Travel along the ridge trail to Mud Springs. Return over USFS logging roads. Trail is very scenic and fairly smooth. Driving time is approximately four to five hours, round trip. Most of the four-wheel drive trail follows the William O. Douglas Wilderness boundary, offering commanding views into the wilderness and of the Cascade Crest in the distance. Forest scenes are varied, ranging from lowland forest types to high elevation, sub-alpine types. May be very dusty if weather has been unusually dry.
FUNNY ROCKS/MOON ROCKS (Rated 6-10 depending on vehicle and route chosen.) Funny Rocks is a large formation of smooth sandstone, not found anywhere else in the area. Nearby Moon Rocks looks like an asteroid plopped down in the middle of the forest and left a great place to play! This trip offers rock-crawling challenges for all vehicles, and includes off-camber sections and vertical lips. Difficulty level varies with routes chosen. THIS TRIP IS OFFERED ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY ONLY.
SHOESTRING/UPPER KANER-WESTBOUND (Rate 8-9; width restriction-75 inches.) This trip offers virtually everything in driving characteristics, from rocks, mud, side hill, tightness to challenging hill climbs. There are also several small creek crossings. Very scenic, extremely popular, but challenging. Definitely not recommended for Cherokee-sized vehicles, or for any vehicle with stock-sized or non-aggressive tires. CJ's with oversized tires can negotiate the trail in this direction, even with open, non-locking differentials. Driving time is generally at least eight hours round trip.
KANER/QUARTZ-EASTBOUND (Rated 9-10; width restriction-75 inches.) The rating is due largely to one long uphill on the Upper Kaner that is very difficult to negotiate with a stock vehicle, even with oversized tires and suspension lift. Winching assistance may be required. Most vehicles with OEM highway all season tires will require extensive winching and may be damaged. Quartz is a ridge top trail with commanding views of the Cascade Crest and the Stewart Range. Mount Rainier is the centerpiece.
ROCKY SADDLE (Rated 10; width restriction-75 inches.) This trail is for short wheel base vehicles with lockers front and rear, full roll cage, aggressive tires, CB and winch. For experienced drivers only! There is a high risk of vehicle and equipment damage. The trail host leader will determine final eligibility. Plan for a long day!
RIMROCK (Rated 10+; width restriction-75 inches.) These trails in the Rimrock Lake area are very difficult and are recommended for the experienced driver only. While the trails are challenging, (tight, side hills, hill climbs, etc.) the scenery is breathtaking and well worth the effort. Requirements: Jeep-type vehicles with maximum wheelbase of 94 inches, maximum 74 inch track width, street legal, full roll cage, aggressive tires, front & rear lockers, CB and winch. Due to the distance of the trailhead, approx. 40 miles, all vehicles must be able to do highway speed. NO EXCEPTIONS! Expect a long day.
RATTLESNAKE (Rated 6, width restriction - 75 inches.) This trail is on Bethel Ridge. The trail is technical and tight with a potential risk of vehicle and equipment damage. The trail is run one way. Return trip is via FS road 1500; and time permitting a side trip to Timberwolf. Timberwolf provides a 360 degree scenic panorama of the area.
Subject to change: Short wheelbase vehicles are less than or equal to 94 inches in length.