© Tony Huegel/Backcountry Byways
Slide Ridge Road
LOCATION: Chelan Mountains, between Entiat River Road and Lake Chelan. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Chelan County.
HIGHLIGHTS: This is a component of the new Washington Backcountry Discovery Route, developed by Seattle-based adventure-motorcycling supplier Touratech USA. After climbing 4,000 feet, much of it on narrow mountainside shelves with long drop-offs, you will follow a ridge with panoramas that reach from the peaks of the Cascades to Lake Chelan and the vast, semiarid Columbia Basin to the east.
DIFFICULTY: Easy, on a largely narrow, high-clearance and often rocky mountain road. You may encounter rocks, deadfall and washouts due to wildfire damage.
TIME & DISTANCE: 2 hours; 35.6 miles.
MAPS: Wenatchee National Forest, North Half (K-L, 6-8). Benchmark Maps’ Washington Road & Recreation Atlas, pp. 59 (G-H, 10-11) & 73 (A-B, 10-11).
INFORMATION: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest’s Entiat and Chelan ranger districts.
GETTING THERE: To begin at Lake Chelan, the direction that is described below: Take ALT U.S. 97, the western branch of U.S. 93, about 3 miles west of Chelan. Turn right (northwest) onto South Lakeshore Road. Drive north along Lake Chelan for 15 miles, to Twentyfive Mile Creek State Park. Instead of turning into the park, continue to Shady Pass Road (5900) [N47.99249 W120.26339]. Follow Shady Pass Road southwest to the junction with Slide Ridge Road (8410) [N47.96519 W120.29016], which will be on your left where the pavement ends. Zero your odometer. Drive through the gate, and continue toward Ramona Park and Snowberry Bowl campground. To end at Lake Chelan: From Entiat, take Entiat River Road north about 11.2 miles. Zero your odometer. Turn right (east) onto Mud Creek Road (5300) [N47.75049 W120.36552]; turn north onto road 8410 [N47.79572 W120.28231] about 5.9 miles from Entiat River Road.
THE DRIVE: Slide Ridge Road (8410) descends into the canyon of Twentyfive Mile Creek. Then it crosses the creek and makes a long, serpentine climb, providing terrific views of Lake Chelan and the Chelan Mountains. Bear right at mile 1.2, at the junction with road 125/233 [N47.96090 W120.28536]. By about 8 miles into the drive you will be on Slide Ridge [N47.91868 W120.27146], above 4,500 feet elevation. From here, follow the ridgecrest south, meandering from one side of it to the other, enjoying outstanding panoramic views along almost every mile.
After about 14 miles the road will take you through a burned area, where wildflowers and other plants now sprout amid charred trees, called snags. Beyond that is the turn for Windy Camp; about 1.2 miles farther the road crosses a saddle, where, from almost 6,000 feet elevation, you will have a dizzying view across endless mountains and canyons to the northwest. If that’s not enough beauty, another such view awaits at another saddle a mile ahead. Then the road begins a long descent. Continue past the turn west for road 5380 [N47.82216 W120.31291], and continue on road 8410 to Mud Creek Road (5300) [N47.79572 W120.28231]. Turn right (southwest) to Entiat River Road.