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Sherman Pass

This is the highest, paved road pass, that the state of Washington keeps open all year round. It tops out at over 5 and a half thousand feet, and the trees reach at least another 500ft higher. The entire road goes through deep Washington State forest, not counting one "forest fire" overlook, which grants a limited view into the valley.

In the summer this does have a positive aspect. A healthy forest cover shrouds the road in a dark, deep green shade. Although I sometimes wonder if the ridge, just on the other side of the road has been clear cut. They seem to manage view sheds very carefully in the great northwest. It seems, where-ever you cannot see from a major road, they cut all the trees.

Some maps use the name Sherman Creek Pass for this shallow, steady, but long climb in the Kettle Range. This is a fairly popular ride. All the people I saw and talked to were solitary touring types with full paniers.

1.(00.0m,1320ft)START-END EAST:US20 bridge over Columbia River
2.(10.1m,2510ft)jct with South Fork of Sherman Creek Rd
3.(18.5m,4180ft)North Fork of Sherman Creek Rd crosses US20
4.(22.8m,5587ft)TOP: Sherman Pass
5.(27.3m,4260ft)jct with Karamip Rd on right
6.(37.0m,2420ft)jct with Wa21 on right
7.(39.7m,2440ft)profile turns left down Wa21, just before reaching Republic
8.(40.6m,2290ft)START-END WEST: low point on Wa21


Approaches

From East.
After crossing the Columbia River west of Kettle Falls, Wa20 climbs parallel to the river. But it is barely visible between the trees, Turning straight towards the west, the road passes two points designated as "heirtage sites". The first one pertains to logging and the second memorializes the CCC camp that once was there on the shore of Sherman Creek. A monument of a pair of boots on a rock memorializes the government work program after the great depression, as well as the many roads and beautiful public structures they built. But not everything they built lasted till today, though it sometimes seems that way. The dam that they built at this site for example was torn down and the original landscape restored, due to environmental concerns. The only CCC structure on display left here is a bathhouse.

The road and the trees continue unabated. The top is located in a rock cut without views, making a completely ordinary, not particularly attractive pass sign the forced focal point of celebratory actions, staged by theatrically inclined cyclists, arriving at the top of a new summit.

A separate information sign about the pass mentions old Indian trails, settlers, and pioneers, without offering any facts of anything that actually happened. Maybe the writers did not want to appear too heavy handed or "teacher like" to the casual vacation crowd.


From West. (described downwards). About 500ft down another turnoff celebrates "the rich fire fighting history" of the Colville National Forest. It seems this history is only going to get richer, with global warming and all that. But the signs don't mention that - probably too controversial in this conservative area. The trees continue in unabated thick splendor during the sporadic roll down. There is hardly a shoulder on this side, but traffic is easily bearable. The drop ends a the jct of Wa20 with Wa21, 3 miles east of Republic.

Riding those last three miles, the town Republic (2 grocery stores) is actually located on a small uphill, while Wa21 drops further, especially during the first mile. After that it follows a river valley downstream

Dayride with this point as highest summit:

( < FR5080 King's Lake Rd - Halfmoon Lake Rd s(u) | Wauconda Pass > )
Sherman Pass x2: Canyon Creek campground area on Wa20 <> Wa 20 west <> Sherman Pass <> Republic << <> separate short out and back down Wa21 to bottom of hill in Republic << : 68.0miles with 7070ft of climbing in 6:04hrs (garmin etrex30: r4:17.7.16)
Notes: thanks to Dana for a very enjoyable talk-ride direction west, about a million interesting places, as well as Mormonism, Trumpism, religeonism and conservancy. - the first comfortably cool day on this series of rides.




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