When you reach the gate, park the car. Continue riding down the road. Take a right at the bottom of the hill. Pass/cross the North Fork Taneum Creek trailheads and continue up, gradually, on the left fork of the two logging roads. This road is FS 4510. Follow it for 4 miles until you see a rediculously steep, unridable slope heading up (a left turn off of the road) to the ridgeline. Take this hike-a-bike route to trail #1326. Turn left onto the trail.
Ride up and down 1326, crossing a small road and climbing repeated steep sections until you reach a sweet lookout. From here, descend to the west (the only option) through the steep, tight switchbacks. You'll end up on a shoulder with trails heading in a few different directions. Take the trail on the left, the North Fork Taneum Creek trail. Follow it down through the forest. Pass Taneum shelter. Continue along the riverbed. Stay to the left when tempted to head to the right and up (this takes you to FS 3300). Just stick on the trail until you get spit out where you started (when you crossed the North Fork trailheads at the beginning).
Head East out of Cle elum on I-90. After 8 miles, take the Elk Heights exit. Go left, cross the freeway, and take a right onto Taneum Road. After a 3.5 miles, come to a T-intersection. Take the right. Cross I-90 and turn right again, onto West Taneum Road. WTR becomes FS 33 in a few miles.
Follow FS 33 past campsites, palisades and spur roads. Make sure to turn left onto FS 3300 and over a bridge when you reach the turnoff for Taneum campground. Pass the campground and continue on FS 3300. Follow 3300 even when you think you've gone too far. It takes 20-30 minutes to get to the parking pull-offs from I-90. You'll pass the Taneum Ridge Fishhook Flats trails.
Summary: Well, I have to admit I'm torn about how I feel about the trail. The 4 mile climb on the logging roads was enjoyable, not too difficult, but not too easy either. As soon as you leave the road and transition to the Ridge trail, it became nearly unrideable through many of the sections. Nothing but piles and piles of large loose rocks on steep, rutted climbs. After hiking the bike on and off for the next 3 miles I was starting to question whether the trail was worth the effort. I was loving the awesome scenic views, but hating all the unrideable (for me at least) sections. Right about when my annoyance was starting to turn into downright anger, the ridge trail joined the N. Fork trail, and the rocks dissappeared and turned into an awesome fast flowing, and fun flats to downhill sections. The forest service has recently installed a bunch of bridges over all but the last creek crossing so dismounting wasn't required for the final 4 miles to the road. The final 2 miles were my favorite part, the forest closed in on the trail and you had to duck and weave to avoid the heavy vegitation, super fun! Overall, I'd compare it to having an oreo cookie, but instead of cream in the middle it had horseradish. Great start, great finish, but the middle just didn't taste right. I would recommend it as a every now and then ride though, the good sections are worth it and the views are spectacular.
Recommended Route: see above.
Other recommended trails in the same area: N. Fork Trail out and back, Ridge Roller short loop.
Review Date September 28, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 4 of 5
Technical Difficulty 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: olsson_cable
Cross Country Rider
Summary: Good times. We underestimated the ride though. 10 miles didn't sound like much, and we've thought about riding this a few times when we've been on the North Fork. It's good. And there's a fair amount of climbing, particularly after you leave the logging roads. There's a great downhill though. Popular trail for motorcycles, but around here, they're all right. This trail gets funny reviews in Washington area cycling books. we think it's worth it, if you're tired of riding Taneum Creek and Ridge and Fishhook Flats. But, it can be combined with any or all of these trails for an epic ride.
Recommended Route: As described here.
Other recommended trails in the same area: N. Fork Taneum Creek, Taneum Ridge, Fishhook Falts