The Book

Ellensburg, Washington 98926

The Book

The Book Professional Review and Guide

"At the top of the tough 4.4-mile, 1,800-foot, rocky, gravel-road climb, rest your legs, stop at the rocks, and tell the world you came. It's a tradition to write your name, and anything else that strikes your fancy, in the notebook in the metal box there. The Book rewards you at the top of the climb, but the real reward is the fast 2.1-mile singletrack descent that follows- a plunge form the rocks to the road that parallels the South Branch Irrigation Canal and the end of the loop.

The route is through dry, sun-exposed sagebrush country overlooking Ellensburg, the Kittitas Valley, and beyond. The views get better as you climb higher, and are another reward for your efforts. Advanced-level climb; without tree cover, overheating becomes a factor on hot days."

The Book Reviews

3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
I'm new to mountain biking so take this for what it's worth - but I rode the whole loop *almost* exactly by the directions / map. I parked off of "McNeil" road (actually did not see a sign called McNeil - but there was a sign for "Strande") near where the trail / road forks right from the private property. The climb does seem quite long, in some areas steep, and the trail condition is not that great (double track big rocks / dried up mud / ruts cut by lots of off road motorized vehicle use). I ended up walking quite a bit. The view is not that great until you get up a little higher on the ridge (lots of posted / keep out / no hunting signs along the properties on both sides made me a little nervous that maybe I should not be there). There are forks onto these properties that are pretty well marked - just stay on the main path. I did make one wrong turn taking a wrong right turn up this monster-steep hill but was able to reconnect with the trail later. The trail continues past a sign that says "no unauthorized vehicles", and it's just ridge after ridge of climbing. Good views of the valley and snow capped mountains in the background as you climb. Finally you reach the top, and the view is great - look for the book in a metal case on the large pile of rocks just off the the trail. The descent is challenging (at least for me) steep single track but lots of fun, nice wildflowers in bloom right now. When I finished, I rode back to the main road instead of going right by the canal, as there are more "keep out" and "dogs on property" signs there. I would probably park at the designated trail parking near cove road - and then start by going back down manastash road to get to strande road. Overall an "ok" ride (there are certainly lots better in this state I imagine) - took me just under 3 hours to get up (with lots of walking and chatting with a hiker I encountered) and only 45 minutes to get back down and back to my car. I'll post some pictures.
Set out for the trail early last week, It's only about a 15 minute drive from where I live so I was really excited to check out something so close. Unloaded the bike at the parking are at Cove Rd. and headed out east along the irrigation ditch. The first 3 miles were really fun, starting with a quick rush down a smooth double track. After that though, things get ugly. The road turns south and connects with a super rough dirt road that climbs at a very steep angle up into the ridge. It's rideable, but ruts and big-ass loose rocks make up the majority of the turrain, so even if you are strong enough, good luck navigating all the crap that tries to throw you off your bike. After about 1.5 miles of the nasty climbing over rocks, you are dumped out into a wide-open ORV park where the rocks dissappear but the ruts turn into canyons. There was a road that led to another steep climb on the right, but I'd had enough at this point and decided to turn back. I'm not sure if the trail has since been fenced off or if the map and instructions provided were just that bad but I was very confused and didn't feel like riding 10 miles to get to the descent part of the loop on a trail that was only supposed to be 6 miles in the first place! I'm not abandoning this ride totally as you can take the first three miles and turn them into a loop by heading downhill instead of uphill at the end, which dumps you out on a gravel road. Head through the gate at the bottom (make sure to take care to close it because there are free ranging cows in the area. Follow the road to the left and your back along another irrigation ditch for about 2 miles where the road veers to the right back out to Manastash Rd. for a 1 mile ride on the street back to Cove Rd. That loop is a nice 6 mile ride with minimal elevation change that I've started doing 2 or three laps on for my daily exercise. Only reason it gets two stars is because the directions suck, and the climb is super difficult.

The Book Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
1,800 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Early spring to late fall.
1,780 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,580 feet
Top Elevation
Recycle Bicycle Shop, 509-925-3326
Local Contacts
USGS 7.5: Ellensburg South and Manastash Creek
Local Maps