+4 4 votes

Nason Ridge-Round Mountain-Alpine Lookout

Maps: View our topo map (8.5’x11” portrait/landscape or 8.5”x14” portrait/landscape). Note: use ‘Print Preview’ before printing to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.

Activity: Mountain Biking
Nearest Town: Leavenworth/Lake Wenatchee
Skill Level: 3-- Higher skill level needed for the loop (option 2)
Fitnees Level: 3
Recommended Season: Early summer through early fall

Option 1
The 18-mile ride from the Lake Wenatchee environs to Round Mountain is a preferred local ride. The details about this ride included in the two paragraphs below are from the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce (www.leavenworth.org). Click on the
link for a schematic of this route description.

Trail Description: This is a thigh-pumping, brake-burning type of ride that no sane person would attempt if it were not for the awe-inspiring views at the top. The trail is dry and hot so make sure that you have plenty of water for the journey and fill your belly with lots of carbos. From the trailhead, follow Nason Creek Trail #1583. After a short jaunt through the lakeside forest you will begin a grinding ascent. In 2 miles you will get glimpses of Lake Wenatchee and Fish Lake. At 2.6 miles, you reach an intersection. Go right following the trail signs up an old logging road. At 3.2 miles you will top out and begin descending. Alas, the descent does not last as soon you begin climbing again. Switchback your way up to Round Mountain which you will reach at 6 miles. This is an admirable turn-around point. You can continue further to a saddle in 9 miles, but only if you are true believer in finding pain in your gain. From Round Mountain, bear right to a series of thumping switchbacks. Ride all the way to the top of this ascent (at about 8.8 miles), catch your breath, take in the views, and eat a Power Bar. Turn around and get ready to test your brakes for an exciting descent back down to the car.

Driving Directions: From Leavenworth, start your odometer after you pass the gas station on the corner of Icicle Road and Highway 2 West. Drive 14.5 miles on Hwy 2 West and take a right on route #207 following signs to Lake Wenatchee/Fish Lake Recreation Area (or if traveling from Stevens Pass go 20.2 miles and take a left on #207). Go 3.6 miles and turn left on Cedar Brae Road (follow the signs to Nason Creek Campground). At 4 miles Cedar Brae Road turns left (follow the signs to Kahler Glen). At 4.3 miles turn left following signs to Kahler Glen. At 4.5 miles bear right at the fork. At 4.6 miles, you will reach the Nason Ridge trailhead. Park on the right.

Option 2
Advanced riders sometimes tackle an adventurous loop on Nason Ridge by parking off Highway 2 near the Merritt Lake Trailhead. We haven't actually done this ride so we can't give you bike-specific beta, we can only report that we've seen advanced riders on the route. To do this loop:
--At milepost 76.1, turn north off of US Highway 2 on a gravel road signed for the Merritt Lake trailhead and park near the highway.
--Ride 4 miles downhill (east) on Highway 2.
--Turn left on Road 6910 (immediately east of the Nason Creek Rest Area).
--Ride 4.5 miles up Road 6910 to the Round Mountain Trail (#1529).
--Follow the Round Mountain trail 1.6 miles to the Nason Ridge Trail (#1583) This is the steepest part of the ascent and will probably entail a fair amount of hike-a-biking.
--Follow the Nason Ridge Trail about 3.3 miles toward Alpine Lookout. (For more details about this trail, see the 'Alpine Lookout' trail description in our Hiking Guidebook.
--About .3 miles before Alpine Lookout, a trail splits off to the left and, over the course of about 3.5 miles, makes a traversing descent down to Merritt Lake. Note: the side trip to Alpine Lookout (elevation 6,237') is worth the extra time.
--Follow the Merrit Lake Trail downhill to its trailhead (about 3 miles). For more details about this trail, see the 'Merritt Lake' route description in our Hiking Guidebook.
--Take the gravel road from the trailhead back to Highway 2 and the car (about 1.5 mile).

Permits/Fees Needed: A Northwest Forest Pass is needed to park at the Round Mountain and Merritt Lake trailheads, but won't be needed to park near Highway 2 as described above.

More Rides: Maps and details of over 100 regional rides in our mountain biking guidebook.

Leave It Better Than You Found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse old fire rings (they encourage more fires), throw branches over spur trails and spurs between switchbacks (make it harder to do the wrong thing than the right thing).

Important Disclaimer: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change, conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers--they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. So forget about finger pointing: If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.