FR43 Blackpine Lake s(u)
The North Cascades in Washington
State have one paved road corridor. Unpaved road
go out from it dead end somewhere in the forest.
The cyclists that I met in this area, all pretty
much did the same thing : the "Northern Tier
route" publicized by Adventure Cycling.
But just south of the North
Cascades there are several unpaved forest roads
that can be made into climbing loops with
interesting summits. This is one of the less
steep ones. The rocky peaks remain in the
distance, but at least one can admire them from
SOUTH: jct Wa153 - Libby Creek Rd
2.(11.5m,4160ft)TOP: FR43 Blackpine Lake
3.(12.9m,3980ft)jct with one way climb to
Buttermilk Butte on left
4.(19.5m,2440ft)profile turns right on
Twisp River Rd.
6.(32.8m,1600ft)START-END NORTH:jct US20 -
Wa153, east of Twisp
From South. The profile
starts at a major signed turnoff from Wa153 just
south of Carlton. Druing July the temperature
seems to drop noticeably, as seen as you climb
into the first trees. Several miles of pavement go
past nice houses, hidden in the wealth of forest.
After crossing the National Forest boundary, a
fairly hard surfaced dirt road climbs mildly in
bits and pieces. There is some washboard surface,
but - all in all - this is a fast road to climb on
with a bicycle.
At the top there is a small turnout and a view
down grass covered hills, dissolving into haze
before any details about the landscape can be
recognized. A few ft below the summit another
access road to Blackpine Lake joins from the
right, the Poorman Creek Rd.
The very first interesting view
comes just after this intersection. It is
Blackpine Lake with its campground and the peaks
of the Sawtooth Range in the distance. All
pictures on the page were taken at this
campground. The amazingly clear light to the peak
above is even more impressive when compared with
the equally strong haze, when looking down into
From North. (described
downwards) It is a fast roll down a good dirt
road, with little wear on the breakpads. Only
during the first couple of curves can slivers of
the peaks above be seen as background. Four miles
before meeting up with the Twisp River Road, the
road acquires a sort of pavement. The rough spots
may be difficult to recognize in time, when just
letting the bike roll.
The profile also includes the following, shallow
descend along the Twisp River road back to Twisp,
a nice peaceful country ride with little traffic.
Abundant vacation houses take advantage of deep
shade next to the river.
Out and back sidetrip to Buttermilk Butte.
Just a very short distance after passing the
Blackpine Lake, a singed turnoff goes up a oneway
climb to Buttermilk Butte. This road is
considerably rougher but has a very mountainbike
friendly surface, and hardly any "too steep"
grades. As I have become accustomed to from the
roads in the area, there is really not much to see
other than trees, until you get to the summit (not
counting one opening near the bottom). You can
even take the appearance of the first far views as
sign that the summit must be within a hundred feet
of climbing. Two short tracks lead to vantage
points onto peaks in the Sawtooth Range. During my
visit I had this entire vast landscape to myself.
EAST: jct Wa153 - Libby Creek Rd
2.(11.5m,4160ft)FR43 Blackpine Lake s(u)
3.(12.9m,3980ft)profile turns right on one
way climb to Buttermilk Butte on left
4.(17.3m,5470ft)END WEST: eastern top of
Dayride with this point as highest summit:
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED
( < FR8220
Cooper Mtn Rd s(u) | Hart's Pass
FR43 Blackpine Lake s(u) , additional
out and back: just inside National Forest
boundary on FR43 southern approach > up FR43
> FR43 Blackpine Lake s(u) > Blackpine Lake
campground <> out and back to Buttermilk
Butte, both branches >> down FR43 > Twisp
River Road east > Twisp > Wa153 south >
Carlton > back up FR43 back to starting point:
52.6miles with 4860ft of climbing in 5:29hrs
(garmin etrex30 m5:17.7.25).
SLIDESHOW of sidetrip to Buttermilk Butte
cLiCk on image , arrows
, or thumbnails to advance slideshow