Distance: 6 miles Great for: Run, Hike, Bike, Horse
Elevation Gain: 600 feet High Point: 2,946
Mountain Bike Difficulty: Easy. The first quarter mile of the trail is a little rocky, but then it’s a nice smooth double track the whole way out and back.
Parking Pass Needed: None
Trail Overview: An out and back trip through Pipestone Canyon is a lovely way to spend a spring day. The canyon is narrow and deep before the bottom opens up into wide ranch land. And if you crane your neck skywards, you can look up high to the cliffs, possibly spotting peregrine falcons. If you don’t want to travel the full distance, the best part starts almost immediately. So just go as far as you want.
Getting There: From the 4-way stop in downtown Winthrop, follow Highway 20 east for .4 miles. Instead of crossing the river on a bridge, bear left on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road. Drive this road 1.8 miles, turning left onto Bear Creek Road towards the golf course. Travel uphill on Bear Creek Road until it turns to dirt in 1.7 miles. Take an immediate right onto gravel Lester Road and drive it uphill for 2.3 miles. Bear right at the only junction and travel until the road stops at a trailhead 1.25 miles later.
Note: Occasionally, the upper reaches of this road wash out in the spring. If that is the case, just find a wide spot to park in and hoof it up to the trailhead. It’s longer, but still pleasant.
Route Description: From the trailhead, head through the gate and descend into the dark reaches of the canyon, gradually descending the whole way.
At mile 1.25, cross through a gate. Now you are in the bottom reaches of the canyon, with a much bigger sky.
About a quarter mile after passing a large and unmistakable piece of derelict farm machinery, a single track trail takes off uphill to your left. This would be the trail up to the ridgeline if you wanted to explore farther. Your trail continues straight ahead for about another ½ mile before reaching the southern trailhead and parking area.
Return to your car the way you came. Reaching it at mile 6.0
For trail info, gear, or to pick up a map stop in to Cascades Outdoor Store. We look forward to seeing you before or after hitting the trail!