North-South Area - Trail Updates
Near the North-South Divide is a singletrack called East
Dennis Trail. It is typically ridden as a loop with Sampson
Trail. East Dennis Trail has been closed for the past two years due to logging. Don't waste your time grinding
up that steep road (#377). Instead, I'd suggest the following:
turn right on Rd 377 (Palouse Divide Rd), cross the highway,
continue on 377 to the top of Three Tree Butte Trail 26.
Ride Tr 26 back to campground, a wonderful descent.
If there's any good news, it's that East Dennis Trail
will be re-routed and rebuilt (but don't count
on it until you see it here, or call the USFS in Potlatch
to confirm). The new route will start at the same East Dennis trailhead,
then angle to downhiller's left of the current route. I'm told that it
will join Meadow Creek Rd at Blakes Fork.
Remember to watch for horses and hikers on this route,
especially on blind cornes. Avoid Tr 224 along East Fork
Meadow Creek for a day or two after heavy rains.
Several sections of Tr 224 that cross private property
between Palouse Divide Rd 377 and East Fork Meadow Creek hve
been impacted by logging. Approximately 4.5 miles from the
old North-South Ski Bowl the trail will appear to end at
a newly-cut logging road. Good luck searching in the hunt-and-peck
navigational mode. I suggest taking along a partner who
has been there before, as it might be years before the Forest
Service reestablishes signs to guide you through.
Here's the description Chris Haagen of Moscow emailed
me, detailing the route through the new logging: I don't
know if you have ridden Piah Cr. recently, but trail #224
has definately been impacted by logging. After leaving Palouse
Divide Rd, there is a nice d/h for about 3/4 mi, which abruptly
ends in a skid road. Follow the skid road around several
turns until you come to a distinctivve Y in the trail; a
high road and a low road. Take the low road. After about
1/4 mi, it rejoins the trail. However, do not celebrate
yet! Only 300 yards of trail later you meet the skid track
again! Follow the track up to a local summit where it turns
sharply to the left and down. The trail is on the right.
But wait! The trail again ends in a skid road! Follow the
road down to its intersection with a more heavily traveled
road. The trail re-enters the forest here and continues
uninterrupted back to GWP CG. Despite having never ridden
the trail before, a half-hour of route-finding and a bumpy
ride later, we got into the really nice single track. I
hope this is helpful. Chris Haagen
Ride idea: substitute the Bald Mt Loop for the Piah Cr
Loop, especially if you've never ridden Piah Cr before.
Or ride up Sampson Trail and down Three Tree Butte.
Three Tree Butte
One of my favorite rides, if the weather has dried out the Sampson Connector, is to park at Giant White Pine and ride up Sampson Trail, then down Three Tree Butte. Distance is about 13 miles. Please watch for hikers on the fast, swoopy descents.
Bald Mt Loop
The dirt road (Palouse Divide Rd 377) that leads to Bald Mountain is very dusty from mid-summer on, but if you're up for a big ride, Bald Mountain is your ticket. Be forewarned that ATVs have widened the singletrack descent into doubletrack, but the Forest Service assures me that their new off-road policy will eventually restore singletrack on this route.
Gulch and Strychnine Ridge
Typo Alert! On page 54, in the ride description for Excavation
Gulch, the Beason Meadow Tr is number 228, not 224. This
error is repeated in the text on page 56. The trail numbers
on the map are correct. The error is repeated in the text
for the Strychnine Ridge ride on pages 60 and 61. Again,
the map is correct. Apologies for any inconveniences such
as hypo- or hyperthermia this may have caused. Thanks to
the astute reader from Couer dAlene who caught the goof.
Many four-wheelers use Strychnine Ridge Tr
319, so be prepared for an artificially wide and somewhat
eroded trail for the the first few miles below Bald Mt Saddle.
The bootleg section of the trail (along Strchnine Ridge
after Tr 319 ends) varies from excellent condition to semi-overgrown
to deeply rutted. Stick to Tr 319 unless you are a experienced
and adventurous (and slightly foolish) rider.
The Moose Creek Reservoir end of Sand Mt Tr 330 has been
restored (see Ride 11, Option 4). Although it can be dusty
after a long dry spell, it is nice enough piece of trail.
In recent years, overuse by four-wheelers has turned this
entire trail into a double track, but it's still a decent
Watch carefully for the trail head sign; as of early September,
1999 it had fallen over and still not gotten up. I suggest
riding the trail from near Moose Creek Reservoir to Sypah
Creek (near Laird Park) and back, then swimming in the ponds
noted in the guide book.
If you decide to attempt the Sand Mt Trail, write down
or print out the following instructions.
One change on Sand Mt Trail since the guide was published
involves the steep, overgrown climb through an old clearcut
between miles 13.7 and 14.3. At the top of the grunt there
was a switchback to the left that led to the Mica Mt junction.
The Mica Mt junction has been bypassed by a new section
of trail. Instead of switching back to the left, the new
trail bears right and traverses/climbs the steep east face
of the mountain. These new corners remain unmarked/unsigned
as of late Fall, 1998.
Tr 330 has also been obliterated by logging as it crosses
Plum Creek Timber land between approximately mile 16.2 and
17.1. The The US Forest Service assured me that signs would
be put in place some time in the summer of 1997 to help
navigate through the new cuts, but as of the June 2001,
the signs were still not posted. Heave a heavy sigh for
the slashed recreation budgets of the USFS.
Here's the critical scoop: At mile 16.2, the trail comes
to an abrupt end at a logging road. This road descends gradually
for about 0.4 mi to a Y-junction of dirt roads. Angle slightly
left and descend more steeply for about 0.5 mi to the junction
at a saddle of two roads on the left and one on the right.
Looking slightly to the right of the line you've been following,
notice a narrow double track, more-or-less straight ahead
through the slash, that will lead to the continuation of
the singletrack on national forest land. The trail then
skirts the right side of a high point of the ridge. Eventually
it drops past a junction with DeSalto Cr Tr 361. Good luck.
Here's a word to the wise regarding big loops like Sand
Mt. Check the guide frequently when approaching a junction.
For example, as mapped in the guide, the route begins with
10.2 miles of gravel, then 0.7 mile off-road. At this point
you reach a CRITICAL right turn, off Tr 330A onto Tr 330.
The problem is that the last bit of the 0.7 mile leading
to this CRITICAL junction is lovely, swooping downhill,
so people go blazing straight past their turn, thus ending
up at Moose Cr Reservoir, or worse yet, Bovil. Nothing against
Bovil, but it's about as lovely as its name, and one group
reported to me that they ended up there after missing the
CRITICAL turn....they finally got back to their car by hitchhiking