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By: Dave Helgeson

Places to Ride: Shaser Creek near Leavenworth, WA

Easy Riding at Shaser Creek
Easy Riding at Shaser Creek

Great Views Along Shaser Creek Road
Great Views Along Shaser Creek Road

Shaser Creek Loading Area
Shaser Creek Loading Area

Typical Road at Shaser Creek
Typical Road at Shaser Creek
I have mentioned before, the US Forest Service in Washington State has been very slow providing ATV routes, while sales of ATVs soar in the Northwest. By chance, I happened to find a legal ATV route in the Wenatchee National Forest while doing a little gold prospecting. From information posted on the bulletin board at the trailhead, I learned “The Shaser Creek road system is one of only two road systems on the Wenatchee National Forest where ATV use is authorized.”

As mentioned, this is a forest service road system, not a dual track ATV trail. The road is gated to full-size vehicles--a gate keeper on the side provides ATV access. The road accesses numerous mining claims, with valid claim holders possessing keys to the gate. While unlikely, be prepared to meet a full-size vehicle at all times. The road system carries you up and over the shoulder of Iron Mountain ending at trailheads to several mines. Scenery abounds along the road, and the riding is suitable for novice riders.

Camping:

Camping is allowed on Forest Service land for a maximum of 14 days. There are nice campsites along the road to the trailhead with a large area just to the Southeast of the trailhead that would hold several RVs.

Getting There:

From Hwy 97 on the north side of Blewett Pass (Chelan County), take the Old Blewett Pass Highway (Jct. coordinates 47 24.094N 120 39.307W) and proceed south. In about one mile you will encounter road (FS 200) to the right (Jct. coordinates 47 23.539N 120 39.478W) and a bridge crossing Peshastin Creek. Take this road for about ½ mile to (coordinates 47 23.401N 120 40.036W) the trailhead on your right.

Note: There is an area that has been back filled behind a log on the north side of the trailhead. This makes an excellent loading ramp for your ATVs.

Services:

Food, lodging, groceries, and gas are available in Cle Elum to the south and Leavenworth is your closest full-service town to the north.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Travel with ATVs is only permitted on designated roads including North Shaser #7322 and Iron Mountain #7322-400 (see map). Operating ATVs on other roads is prohibited.
  • ATV use is prohibited off-road, including all trails in this area or high marking on the road banks.
  • All ATVs must have a U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrestor and current ORV registration.
  • Follow the rules of the road to prevent accidents:
    • Speed should not exceed 20 mph on straight stretches.
    • On curves or brushy\sections, maintain a stopping distance of 1/3 your sight distance at all times.
    • Stay to the right hand side; do not travel side by side.
    • Reckless riders will be cited under (36 CFR 261.13)
  • Maximum ATV width is 48”
  • ATVs shall not be operated between dusk and dawn without a lighted taillight and headlight.
  • No one under age 13 may operate an ATV on or across a highway or road except on a road designated for off-highway vehicle use under direct supervision of a person at least 18 who has a driver's license.
    Please note:
    • Recently the forest service received an $8,900 grant to provide a bike ranger to patrol the roads. Please stay on the authorized trail and obey the rules and regulations. These are the only authorized ATV trails in this area; don’t spoil it for everyone.
  • Some riders have started riding off-road and building their own trails. Please stay off these trails and stay on designated trails only. Ask others you encounter in your visit to do the same.

For Additional Information:

Wenatchee River Ranger District
600 Sherbourne
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Phone 509-548-6977
Fax 509-548-5817
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee/

Note: Currently there is no mention of this area on the website.

Be safe, enjoy, and I hope to see you on the trails.


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