Mountain Biking Washington
by Amy & Mark Poffenbarger (Falcon Guides)
© Amy & Mark Poffenbarger/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
this is a trail that i ride about 2 or 3 times a month.This is a fun trail, and provides some technical riding and awesome scenery
This is one of the best known rides in the area, but not one of my personal favorites. It's good for people that don't want to climb, as it's mostly flat with a few ups and downs along the way. But if you are looking for a shorter ride to train on, or wanting to add to another ride in the area to form a longer loop (Dalles Ridge or Sun Top), this is a nice option to have.
The key to this trail is to go in the middle of September (if you don't mind cold and snow--we didn't)! My brother and I enjoy a weeks retreat each year backpacking in solitude. That's why we were leary about taking the trail from Elkart Park to Island Lake. All the books and trail descriptions we could find talked about how crouded it was on this trail. But it's not nessesarily true if you plan your trip around those crouds! We flew into Jackson Hole on September 15th and spent the first two nights enjoying the view from the National Forest of the Eastern Teton Range. After driving to Elkart Park campground on Spetember 17th, we recieved 2 inches of beautiful snow to welcome our entrence into the Wind River Range. Even though the snow brought on two nights of 17 degree temperatures, the effect on the peaks was more than worth the cold! At our age (50ish), we relax by only hiking 5-6 miles with our 60 packs (Eklund Lake) and day hiking from there. Spent two days hiking to Lake Seneca and trail blazing around Eklund and Barbara's Lakes along with the numerous ponds in the area. Views or the Range were numerous in this area, and we saw very few hikers. Horses are always a problem on this trail though and since hunting season was beginning, we witnessed at least 5 teams headed into the Pole Creek Lakes Trail. Also, the 5-6 cars at the trailhead was a far cry from a full lot talked about. So don't be scared away from these trails if you're looking for peace and quiet, just plan your timing. We've been making these trips for 6 years now, and the Wind River Range was one of our most enjoyable yet!
Skookum Flats was in great shape over the 4th of July weekend and bone dry. The trail is completely different when even slightly wet. The dry conditions made the trail considerably less difficult for some of the first time Skookum riders in our group. I prefer riding Skookum east to west and on this day it was a warm up for Sun Top.
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