From Evergreen Trail Guide
There are a few ways to string together Rock Creek area trails to make a nice day of riding. Anyway you do it though, be prepared for some grinding up fairly steep at times but relatively smooth singletrack. Your efforts will be well rewarded with big views of Glacier Peaks once you get to the top and fast and flowly descent that follows.
How to find it
Loop: Park at Finner Creek Campground (outhouse and water) on Chiwawa River Road in Lake Wenathee area, about 15 ~ 20 minutes drive after turning off Hwy 2 at Cole's Corner.
Out-and-Back: Park either at Finner Creek Campground or Rock Creek trailhead (no facility) further down on Chiwawa River Road.
Late June through October. Great Summmer ride, since ~ 3/4 of the trails are in the shade. Only trail system in Lake Wenatchee ranger district that is open to MTBs but NOT open to motorcycles.
9/25/10 - We rode Basalt starting on the Minnow Creek Trail. This trail gets little use and was some what overgrown and wet along the creek. There was barely any mud though. Basalt Ridge Trail is clear and in excellent condition. Basalt Pass Trail is also in great condition and only has mud at creek crossings. For a full trail report, go here .
9/27/09 - trail is very overgrown in places and in need of a good brushing. Watch your derailleur hangers! Would be wise to carry a spare.
Pretty much all clear as of 7/15/07, except for a tree down on Rock Creek trail and about 5 down on Basalt Ridge trail.
Loop Option: Park at Finner Creek TH, which really is a small road-side campground with an outhouse and water pump (NW Forest Pass required). Look for the beginning/end of Basalt Ridge Trail between the outhouse and the trail head sign. PLEASE, take a moment to register and let Forest Service know that this trail system is used by mountain cyclists! Push up your bike for a short distance until you reach the junction with Finner Creek Tie Trail on your left. Trail starts climbing gently, going through some brushy overgrown sections as it meanders above Chiwawa River Road, roughly on parallel. Trail continues to climb generally with some dips until it reaches the high point, then starts rolling with mostly downward grade and before you know it, you will be rolling into Rock Creek TH in less than 2 miles. Despite the ups and downs, you are back to where you started elevation-wise, at approximately 2,500 ft.
From Rock Creek TH, Rock Creek Trail goes up very steeply for a short distance, but if you grit your teeth and keep on spinning on granny, the trail will soon flattens out to a more reasonable grade. It gradually climbs way above Rock Creek for about ~ 3 miles, crossing small feeder creeks 3 times (climbs out of the crossings are bit steep). After the third crossing and a short distance later, reach the junction with Rock Creek Tie Trail, taking off on your right. This junction is easy to miss, so be on the lookout for a bare patch and a sign higher up on a tree to your right. If you hit stream crossing #4 you've gone too far. Rock Creek Tie Trail takes you away from Rock Creek, deeper into the woods as it meanders to the base of Basalt Ridge where climb begins. Trail begins to switchback back and forth, at first at a slightly easier grade but steepening as you go higher. On Rock Creek Tie Trail, you will gain about 1,800 ft of elevation in less than 2 miles. Grit and bear, and it will be over sooner or later. Milestone to look for: a steep and sandy switchback to the left with big uprooted tree in the corner.
Once past this corner, you have 5 more switchbacks to clear and you are at the first saddle. You will find a tree with signs at 5,200 ft letting you know you're at the place where Rock Creek Tie meets Basalt Ridge Trail. Turning left will take you to Garland Peak but you'll continue right and in about 100 yards you'll hit another signed junction. Go straight here (left will take you down Basalt Pass Trail which drops down to the road near Chikamin Tie TH) and trail continues up. From here until you reach Basalt Peak is probably the most difficult section because uphills on this trails are steep, requiring occasional hike-a-biking, but more importantly, there are few false peaks that raise your hopes up and then shatter when you find that trail still goes up. After the third major climb/false peak, the trail becomes rocky and bit more technical. When you come to a set of sandy, steep switchbacks on an exposed ridgeline, take heart in knowing that next uphill is your last climb of the day. Trail steeply goes up the last hump on the ridge and when you reach the top, you are at the junction with a short spur trail to your right that takes you around the rocky outcrop to your destination, Basalt Peak at 5,700ft, where view to East opens up and you are greeted with a huge view of White Mountains continuing into Glacier Peak Wilderness.
After you had enough rest, you have an option to go back the way you came, which will give you out-and-back total distance of amount 14 miles, or you can go back to the junction with Basalt Pass Trail and go right down to Chickamin Tie TH. The third option is to continue the trail up and over Basalt Peak which heads down the Basalt Peak Trail and spits you back out to Finner Creek. If you take this option, you will most likely pedal maybe 3, 4 times total because the trail goes downhill (sometime steeply but mostly swoopy, open-your-brake-and-go stuff) and keeps going down. There is a spur to your right a mile or so down which will take you to another viewpoint and adds about 2 miles to your trip. Another mile or so further down, Minnow Creek Trail comes in on your left, but unless you want to continue onto Minnow Ridge Trail and make a bigger loop, ignore this junction and continue going down. Before you know it, you are back at your car at Finner TH. Cumulative elevation gain is about 3,800 ft for the full loop, closer to 4,000 ft if you do out-and-back. Depending on the shape you are in, it will take anywhere from 3 ~ 4 hours to reach the peak, then 30 ~ 45 min to get back to the car.
Local Points of Interest
Once done with the ride, cool off at Finner Creek and head over to 59er Diner for juicy burger and the best milkshake in town!
Rock Creek Trail System is split between two Green Trails Map #145 Wenatchee Lake (top right-hand corner) and #146 Plain (top left-hand corner)
Rock Creek trail system is included in the proposed Wenatchee and Okanogan Roadless Areas, which, if passed, could pave a way to becoming Wilderness Area and could permanently lock out mountain bikes from this area. If you ride here, please make sure to sign in at the trailhead sign-in post to let Forest Service know that mountain cyclists value this trail system!!