Old Stage Road & Midnight Ridge Loop Professional Review and Guide
"The national recreation trail that rolls 30 miles along the crest of the Kettle River Mountains north from Highway 20 at Sherman Pass can be accessed from 17 trailheads. This loop, however, is among the most diverse, enjoyable, and historical ways to visit the Kettle Crest. The route links two good trails from a single trailhead, making a trek to the crest an adventure in itself with no car shuttle required. In 1892, the Washington State Legislature built a trail for wagons from Marblemount to Marcus. This first state highway attempted to connect commerce west of the Cascades with the expanding frontier of the Upper Columbia River.
The demand for the road became more urgent in 1896 with the need to supply the mining boomtowns of the Republic gold fields. But this torturous route over the mountains proved to be impassable by freight wagon. It was abandoned in 1898, when an easier route was opened over Sherman Pass. From the west, Old Stage Road Trail 1 connects at the Kettle Crest with Trail 75, which goes down to the East Fork Mick Creek Road on the east side of the range. This 7-mile stretch is the only remnant of the road grade from the original state highway."