Elbe Hills ORV Area

Location: 6.3 miles East of Elbe, WA off SR 706
Description:  This trail system has about 8 miles of trails and was built by volunteers.
  • The Busywild Trail is the most well known trail.  Named after the Busy Wild Creek that runs through part of it, this trail lives up to its name also. People say itís the most difficult trail in the area, and itís mostly true. From where it starts off of Mainline it rolls through a clear cut area, mostly just avoiding or driving on stumps, but with some little challenges here and there if you look for them. If you don't pay attention you might miss the left turn into the trees to take you up the trail, if you find yourself at a service road(92Road), turn around and take the first right. Some people just skip the lower section through the clear cut and come in from 92 Road anyway. The section of Busy Wild from where it first cuts into the trees until you get down past the bridge is the part of the trail where many stories are made. Lots of mud and water, lots of deep ruts that make you wish you had bigger tires. Not many bypasses because it doesn't take long for a bypass to get just as bad and the trail in spots, and some bypasses just dump into another hole. Lockers, winches, and big tires are needed when itís wet and tore up down there. Coming up from the bridge can be difficult, itís a tight area not real friendly to a longer wheelbase rig. Once you get to where the end of the service road is, the real difficult part is done, and the rest of the Busy Wild becomes a little more like the rest of the area, but still a little more difficult. Eventually it crosses the service road again, and then dumps onto 931 Road. In the summer this trail is passable by most 4x4 vehicles with 33" tires or larger, but the trail favors narrow, short-wheel base vehicles. Expect some body damage if you have a larger vehicle or don't have some body armor. In the winter the trail is run downhill only to reduce resource damage. With LOTS of mud in the winter tires of 35" or larger with aggressive off road tires are recommended with at least one locker and a winch. Body and mechanical damage is much more likely in the winter and full size vehicles are not recommended. This is a long and challenging trail with very few exits. Expect to spend up to a full day on this trail and during the winter, be sure to carry cold weather emergency gear.

  • The Sunrise Trail was recently adopted by the Timber Tamers 4x4 club. This has traditionally been a very easy trail that can be negotiated by a stock 4x4. Currently the trail is being revitalized with technical obstacles to make it more difficult. As this trail progresses, expect to seem more rock crawl sections that require large tires and lockers. Contact Karl if you have any comments or suggestions for this trail.

  • The Mainline Trail is a short section of trail that is negotiable by most 4x4 vehicles. Mainline is about the same difficulty running in either direction and crosses a bunch of roads and trails. Starting from the south end on 9 Road, it goes up through a clear cut on rocky ground, passes the north end of Sunrise, then jumps into the trees where its wet, watery and muddy. You can't get stuck in there though because the trail bed is hard and lined with logs to stem erosion. After a couple of bridges you come to another clear cut and a series of intersections. The first intersection is a right turn going up the hill, and is the mapped beginning of the Busy Wild. The next intersection is a "T" . Going left is the trail, going right takes you to the south end of the 931 Road. After you make the left the trail starts to look more like what Elbe is known for. When its wet there is some mud, and its always a little bit of a squeeze, and the bypasses are sometimes just as bad as the trail was. This is the point on the trail where you actually have to start paying attention and picking your lines to either make it a little harder or a little easier. The next road you cross is 931 Road, and it continues on about the same. At the end of this leg of the trail you will come across a right turn, but you can't go that way because that's the Busy Wild exit (one way). Just past that you come out onto the north end of 931 Road and cross it again. Shortly down that it intersects with Alder Loop and if you stay left it goes straight down to 9 Road. For the most part this trail is doable by all 4wd vehicles in the summer. Rocker panel protection may be useful. In the winter, the muddier spot will require aggressive offroad tires with a locker and winch recommended.

  • The Alder Loop Trail starts on the south end and goes up from 9 Road then goes up a rocky section to a nice mud hole and an intersection, stay to the right and it goes up a small v-cut, then go left to stay on the trail and it winds around and ties into Mainline extension. Go left to head back down to 9 Road. This trail can be negotiated by most 4x4 vehicles year round.

  • The Mainline Extension Trail starts on the south end from 9 Road it looks like a paved road, but its gets a little better as you go along. At the intersection with Alder Loop stay left. This trail is just a fairly easy and fun ride. Got to watch the tires a little in places, and with good rain and lots of use there can be some muddy spots. Eventually it links back up with 9 Road where Gotcha starts. This trail can be negotiated by most 4x4 vehicles year round.

  • The Swamp Trail

  • The Gotcha Trail is one of the longer ones, and crosses more types of areas like Mainline does. There are some tight squeezes between trees and some stump mazes, a long bridge in a low spot, and a great view of Mt Rainier from a clear cut on a ridge. Long wheel base and full size vehicles can expect some body damage on sections of this trail and aggressive off road tires a winch and locker are highly recommended for the wet season.

  • The Rainier Vista Trail lives up to its name. Its southern tip intersects with Gotcha and 9 Road, but this one doesn't have as many challenges as most of the other trails. It winds around for long enough to make you wonder where the mountain is, and then you come to a section that goes up hill with a bunch of loose rock on the trail. At the top don't forget to turn around and look or you will miss the mountain as you drive back into the trees for an easy ride out to 9 Road. This trail can be negotiated by most 4-4 vehicles year round.

Season: Open year round with some trail restrictions in the winter.
Map Elbe Hills 4x4 trails Compliments DNR
Elbe Hills ORV park Elbe Hills location
Fee: None
Amenities: There is a FREE campground but reservations are required.

The campground has outhouse facilities, a large shared shelter with 2 fire pits, room for 10-15 RVs and 10 tent only campsites. There is no running water or other RV facilities.

Restrictions: Check with the Department of Wildlife.
Contact: DNR - South Puget Sound Region
950 Farman Ave. N.
Enumclaw, WA  98022-9282
Phone: 360-825-1631

Trail Reports Want your trip report added? Email me.

Work Party Bridge repairs on the Sunshine Trail 09-21-2006
Trail Run JbJeep 08-2006
Trail Run Faithwheelers Off Road Club 07-28-2006
Trail Run PNWJEEP 05-19-2006
Trail Run Dogpound Off Road Father's Day 2006       Some good videos on this one.
Trail Run NWJeepn
Trail Run JP Magazine
Trail Run JbJeep 07-25-2005
Trail Run Oly Four Wheelers 05-14-2005
Trail Run Faithwheelers Off Road Club 08-07-2004
Trail Run LiftedZJ 11-02-2002
Rescue Report NAGCA 12-22-2000
Trail Run Chris Skate Fall 1996
Trail Run Chris Skate Winter 1994