Pipestone Canyon Loop


Route Information

Pipestone Canyon is a popular destination for mountain bikers in the Methow Valley. This is an excellent ride early in the season before other higher rides have thawed out and before the snakes in the canyon get too active. The ride can be done as a loop of dirt roads or as a loop including singletrack along the rim of the canyon.

Distance:
Singletrack Loop: 14 miles, Dirt Road Loop: 16 miles
Difficulty Level:
Singletrack Loop: Intermediate, Dirt Road Loop: Beginner  
Elevation Gain:
Singletrack Loop: 2100 feet, Dirt Road Loop: 1700 feet
Suggested Maps: Green Trails #84

Current Condition:
Rattlesnakes are present. These trails are best enjoyed in the early spring and late fall due to rattlesnake activity. Avoid on a very warm day. The Ridge trail is a bit of a mess but many other trails are open and in great shape to take you around the canyon and back in. Please respect all ridge closed signs for nesting birds and again, watch for snakes on hot days.   [07/03/2013]
 


To the Trailhead:
From the center of Winthrop head south on Highway 20. Do not cross the Methow River. Continue straight 1/4 mile to the first cross street. Turn left. Go one block and turn right onto the Winthrop-Twisp East County Road. At two miles, turn left onto Upper Bear Creek Road. Follow this road to the end of the pavement, and park at the pullout there. Lester Road intersects Upper Bear Creek Road at this point.

The Rides: Both loops start the same way. Ride up Lester Road. Staying right at all the intersections will lead to Campbell Lake. Continue past Campbell Lake and onto the jeep track which will lead down through the canyon. Follow the jeep track through the canyon and the valley which follows. Before this jeep track intersects with another from the right at the end of the valley, the two loops diverge.

Singletrack Option: Near the end of the valley watch to the left for a trail which heads up the hillside. It may be marked with a cairn. The trail curves around and heads back towards the rim of the canyon. It may be difficult to follow in places, but it basically stays near the rim of the canyon and the high ground above. Eventually the trail drops back down to a well defined trail leading back past Campbell Lake and back to Lester Road. Once back on Lester Road, head back toward the start, but watch to the right for another single track, possibly marked with a cairn that starts within a few hundred yards. Follow this trail to Cougar Lake Road. Head downhill on Cougar Lake Road which will connect with Lester Road. Head downhill on Lester Road and follow it back to the start.

Dirt Road Option: Continue down the jeep track and bear left as it merges with one from the intersecting valley. Continue on this track out to Balky Hill Road. Turn left on Balky Hill Road and follow it until it tees out at Beaver Creek Road. Turn left onto Beaver Creek Road and follow it to its intersection with Lester Road immediately across from the Beaver Creek Campground. Turn left on Lester Road and follow it back to the start.