Itinerary: Rimrock Lake Recreation Loop

Length: 50 miles

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TJ Mullinax
Time to Allow: 4-6 hours

Open Season: June through mid-November (closed in winter)

Driving Directions: Near milepost 168 on Highway 12, turn north on Bethel Ridge Road FR 1500. Follow Bethel Ridge Road for 25 miles until the road intersects Nile Rd. Return to Highway 12 via the same route. Another option for a return trip is to turn right onto Nile Rd. and continue 1.4 miles to Highway 410, the Chinook Scenic Byway. Continue 7.9 miles on Highway 410 to Naches where Highway 410 and Highway 12 intersect.

 

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Get off the beaten path and explore the backcountry of the Wenatchee National Forest. Wind your way over 5,000 foot Bethel Ridge through cool forests, beautiful meadows and fields of fantastic alpine wildflowers. See outstanding views of the valley, ridges and peaks of the mighty Cascade Mountains. Discover the narrow, rock-walled canyon of Rattlesnake Creek where anglers fish for rainbow and cutthroat trout. And be on the lookout for mountain goats!

Start: This journey begins as you leave Highway 12 near milepost 168, turning north onto Bethel Ridge Road, FR 1500.

Side trip: Forest Road 1500-324 to Bethel Ridge - As the first opportunity for a side trip presents itself, already you have reached the top of the ridge. Turning right off of Bethel Ridge Road, drive FR 324 a little over two miles arriving at Bethel Ridge microwave tower. Look out at the outstanding views of Kloochman Rock and Rimrock Lake below. A stunning sight to behold.

Side trip: Forest Road 1500-199 to Cash Prairie - Turn left from Bethel Ridge Road onto FR 199 and arrive at the lookout in just over two miles. Visitors are in for more fabulous forest views as far as the eye can see. An area with an interesting history, sheepherders once knew this land well. Cash Prairie is in fact named for a herder nicknamed “Short and Dirty” Cash.

Side trip: Forest Road 1500-190 to Timberwolf Lookout - From Bethel Ridge Road turn left on FR 190 and drive 2.5 miles to Timberwolf Lookout. On a clear day, this side trip may be the highlight of the trip when it comes to the fantastic views. The road climbs up passing open meadows and an old cabin. At the end of the road is an old forest fire lookout, although nothing remains of the original structure. The 360 degree views are unbeatable. In the distance, see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, the Goat Rocks, and the Cascade Mountains. Look hard and you can even see into the high desert of Eastern Washington. Also a great place to make a call if you have your cell phone. The coverage is excellent!

Notice: Rattlesnake River Canyon - A little after 18 miles along Bethel Ridge Road find yourself on a now paved road down through Rattlesnake River Canyon, a popular cutthroat and trout fishing area. Enjoy great views to the surrounding peaks the canyon below.

End: Termination of Bethel Ridge Road, FR 1500 - Two-thirds of Forest Road 1500 is unpaved, therefore parts of the road can be slow and rough. Always drive with caution, drive defensively, and expect wildlife. Motorcyclists should be especially careful. Please check local Ranger Stations for seasonal access dates and conditions. Due to gravel road surfaces, higher clearance vehicles and stronger tires are advised.

Download this information for the Rimrock Lake Recreation Loop Itinerary [PDF file pdf 73 KB]

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White Pass Scenic Byway - cabin rentals and lodging near Mt. Rainier

America's Byway - National Scenic Byway Program