Palouse to Cascade Trail

The Palouse to Cascade Trail (PTCT, AKA Iron Horse or John Wayne Trail) is coming along well since the November 2015 public hearing I posted. Washington State Parks has successfully retained the right of way in question in the Crab Creek/Beverly area. Several big projects on the trail are in progress now. The western half will be completely ridable this summer, and the eastern half is gaining trail users. It’s still quite remote - use good judgement before you commit to it, and check the tunnel and bridge openings if you’re doing early season.

The Renslow Trestle now connects the car-free gravel route east out of Ellensburg with the segment down to the Columbia River through Army’s Yakima Training Center. The new trail over the old bridge is complete and very close to opening, probably this week or next for a soft opening, and then a formal ceremony for a crossing by the John Wayne Pioneer Riders club - horse-drawn wagons, the folks who got the whole PTCT project rolling - scheduled on 24 May.

Then there’s the Milwaukee Road Trestle, known as the Beverly Bridge, crossing the Columbia River. It was stripped of ties and rails for years, a section burned in 2014, and passable only to daredevils trespassing on the trusses and girders. Its re-hab is in progress with tentative completion in late June. That’s a huge connection for this trail, and for cross-state bicycling in general, because there is no Columbia River Crossing for pedestrians or cyclists for 80+ miles from Wenatchee to Vernita except for I-90 which has narrow lanes with no shoulder for about a half-mile of freeway across a high-side-wind span. Plenty of touring riders opt to pay for a local to drive them across; there’s no public option. This bridge, 8 miles downstream of Vantage, is for non-motorized use only.

The PTCT has several detours east of Beverly. Fires last summer took out bridges in the Crab Creek valley, and also near at the eastern end near the towns of Malden and Pine City. There’s a small section of active rail that can’t be ridden, and a couple other obstacles to a continuous, non-motorized route, but it can all be connected by bike.

The PTCT Coalition has great info on its website including maps with current detours that look reasonable to me (low traffic roads). They also have a comment/question section in the blog section of their website, and Facebook group. If you go, print out the traveler’s “biz card” PDF off their homepage to hand out along the way. And post a report here!

Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition:

Washington State Parks:

Snoqualmie tunnel is scheduled to close for the winter starting Nov. 1, 2020, and scheduled to reopen May 1, 2021. Schedule is subject to change depending on the weather.

wow! Thank you Alan. I’ve ridden North Bend to Ellensburg a couple times. Was thinking a loop from Vantage (up the old highway & down the trail) but there’s a bit of haze for me there in what happens with the firing range. Super great update and super helpful links! Thank you for the homework and the sharing!

That sounds like a good loop, JK! North of old Hwy 10 there are dirt roads that connect to Wenatchee over Colockum Pass, or loop around back into Kittitas County. I don’t have beta on the routes but I have heard of biking there.

The firing range requires self check-in at kiosks on the boundaries (near Renslow on the west or Doris on the east) for parties less than 20. For 20+ it requires a prior signed agreement. No camping on Army land, and I guess they would not like night time use of any kind. PTCT Coalition’s site has more info.

Anecdotally, over many years, I’ve seen A-10 jets, helicopters, tanks, and ground troops around various parts of the perimeter, and keeping out of their way seems like a really good idea. :laughing:

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Well, my granddad built the firing range ~70 years ago when he was CO on post at Ft Lewis. “Crowning achievement” sorta stuff. I’ve never been out there. Although, every time i mention that fact to some poor suffering infantryman at an airport bar as he’s trying to make his way out of here, they generally nod and move away from me at the bar. I dont have the idea it’s a popular place! Hoping to take a run at my little loop this summer. I’ll do some digging for some routes over Colockum Pass. Sounds like a fun field trip even if it is a bit more bad ass than I’m good for :wink:

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Small world department! My granddad - that’s what we called him, too - was Ft Lewis CO shortly before yours. I think he retired in 1949 or '50.

I’m curious what you come up with for routes. I know there are also day trail rides in Teanaway Community Forest and on Manashtash Ridge.

Wow! That’s very cool! Every time I drive down past the fort I always think about stopping at the museum. Tried once but they were closed. Think my grandfather retired in 1952 or 53. Most of the rest of his life in Tacoma. He had a place on the island across from Bills Boathouse on American Lake. My folks built a place out there too. They were always hiring guys from the fort to help out with bigger projects.

I’ve taken my kids camping in the Teanaway Community Forest (before they cleaned it up and made it respectable.) I’ll poke around and see what I come up with. I love that area. Hadnt really had the idea to do some gravel rides over there. Cool idea!

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