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Washington Trail Ratings

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Can anyone shed some light on how trails aquire their ratings. I've ridden trails rated "most difficult" and have been left wondering...Why? I've also ridden trails that really deserved such a rating, and scared the crap outta me. I lean toward slower, more technical riding, i.e. logs, rocks, etc. Steep descents scare the hell out of me, but I'm learning to cope. Just curious about how trails are judged & rated.

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Every forest district seems to have different criteria. Sometimes it's just one short section that upgrades the rating. Or the difficulty traveling one direction (coming back being easy) that changes it. You should watch the signs though if your not ready for the worse.

Same with the 4x4 trails difficulty signs, some of those can be pretty gnarly riding a heavier DS bike. Rock crawler jeeps can do some amazing stuff.

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i am with ya man. i have ridden one black diamond trail in particular that is a walk in the park. makes no sense.

Been thinkin' on it. I took a ride down in Gifford Pinchot, on Monday. We didn't get to high, but we did play above snow line. Incredible views, as it was a sunny afternoon on the southern slope. Other than getting over down trees, now & again, not very difficult. I will acknowledge, that I rode very little of the area, so I'm sure further exploration will kick the crap outta my minimal riding experience.

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Every forest district seems to have different criteria. Sometimes it's just one short section that upgrades the rating. Or the difficulty traveling one direction (coming back being easy) that changes it. You should watch the signs though if your not ready for the worse.

Same with the 4x4 trails difficulty signs, some of those can be pretty gnarly riding a heavier DS bike. Rock crawler jeeps can do some amazing stuff.

I have tons of wheelin' experence, and know pretty much all the time what I'm in for...I guess the only universal truth is...difficulty is really up to the rider/driver.

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Been thinkin' on it. I took a ride down in Gifford Pinchot, on Monday. We didn't get to high, but we did play above snow line. Incredible views, as it was a sunny afternoon on the southern slope. Other than getting over down trees, now & again, not very difficult. I will acknowledge, that I rode very little of the area, so I'm sure further exploration will kick the crap outta my minimal riding experience.

Gifford has some of the most demanding trails you will come across in the mountains so be careful if you REALLY ride there next fall :bonk:

Joe

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Gifford has some of the most demanding trails you will come across in the mountains so be careful if you REALLY ride there next fall :bonk:

Joe

I'm definitely going back, regardless of difficulty. I'd still be interested in how the trails get their ratings.

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If your buddy at the trailhead says "this is a great trail- you go first". Most difficult.

or if other riders coming the other direction have a blank zombie look and ask what's the fastest way back to the staging area.

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If your buddy at the trailhead says "this is a great trail- you go first". Most difficult.

or if other riders coming the other direction have a blank zombie look and ask what's the fastest way back to the staging area.

LMAO... that is a gooder

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LMAO... that is a gooder
If your buddy at the trailhead says "this is a great trail- you go first". Most difficult.

or if other riders coming the other direction have a blank zombie look and ask what's the fastest way back to the staging area.

Either way, I'm itching to go back!

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I think it's compared to the other trails in the area.

In Fort Rock, "Most Difficult" just means there are lots of rocks and whoops, not that the trail is actually hard to get through.

At Millican it means that there is one corner on that trail that can hurt you if you go around it at 60 without looking.

At Little Natches and Taneum (same area?) it means bring a winch.

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Seasonal issues, weather conditions and trail maintenance issues can play a big part in actual difficulty.

Because of that ratings can and will be misleading at times.

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If your buddy at the trailhead says "this is a great trail- you go first". Most difficult.

or if other riders coming the other direction have a blank zombie look and ask what's the fastest way back to the staging area.

:busted:

That reminds me... The only trail I know of that has a Double Black Diamond rating is the Hi-Yu Trail in the Mad River area. It was THE

very trail where I had a "private" talk with GOD way back in 1974 :awww:

I promised to buy a smaller bike if "He / She" would help save me and my 74 XL350 Honda from the cliff I was hanging on to.. :smirk::bonk:

That is the first event that steered me toward my Trials Career.

So years of experience later, That same trail became my favorite route in that area. I would use it to parallel the Mad River Trail while remaining above the noise and dust. Sadly for me, it is now on the list of trails to become off-limits and illegal to ride. :bonk:

On one ride going UP the most difficult part at the South end, we met face to face with two women in full-dress Enduro riding gear with horror-stricken looks on their faces. All they could say was WHERE IS THE WAY OUT!!??!! PLEEEASE?! They were so beat and terrified that there was no chance of any casual conversation. And when we told them that they were in the middle of the worst part and that 50 more feet would bring them to the end of the torture and the trail back to the main trail, that was all they wanted to hear and were off still bull-dogging their bikes down the hill.

We later found out that search and rescue was preparing to look for them as they were from New York and had gotten lost from their group... Probably made the very common mistake of following the easy looking Jeep trail south from Lost Lake.. The same Thing I did 35 years ago.. :banana:

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Probably made the very common mistake of following the easy looking Jeep trail

That was me on my first trip to Little Natches. I think I had done 80 miles up to that point, and just wanted to get back to camp, and the 4x4 trail looked easy on the map. Except for the 15 miles of rock gardens straight up the hills and 4 foot deep mud ruts, yeah, it was a piece of cake

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That was me on my first trip to Little Natches. I think I had done 80 miles up to that point, and just wanted to get back to camp, and the 4x4 trail looked easy on the map. Except for the 15 miles of rock gardens straight up the hills and 4 foot deep mud ruts, yeah, it was a piece of cake

I've never ridden that area on a bike. I have wheeled it in my cj5. Some trails are better left to the 4-wheeled kind. I have seen many dirt bikes push, pulled, and dragged out of The Elbe hills 4x4 area.

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hey... the jeep trail by lost lake goes to newyork?

Might as well if they close the Hi Yu, not sure why they want to :bonk:

It doesn't really need any maintenance, it just needs better signage explaining which way to go at that intersection, and identified as double black diamond. Coming up from the south is self governing.

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That was me on my first trip to Little Natches. I think I had done 80 miles up to that point, and just wanted to get back to camp, and the 4x4 trail looked easy on the map. Except for the 15 miles of rock gardens straight up the hills and 4 foot deep mud ruts, yeah, it was a piece of cake

Sounds like the kaner flats trail....."it aint flat and it aint a trail neither":smirk:

Joe

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Sounds like the kaner flats trail....."it aint flat and it aint a trail neither":smirk:

Joe

If I like 'em in the daylight, I've learned to hate 'em at night. Even a supposed

easy trail can easily take you out of the game at night. However, it can teach one a certain amount of humility. I've eaten my fill.

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