Taneum Creek Trail is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cle Elum, Washington that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.
Traveling east on I90, take exit 93. Turn left on Elk Heights Rd. and cross over freeway. Turn right on Thorp Prairie Rd. and follow it to where it ends at E. Taneum Rd. Turn right on E. Taneum Rd and cross over freeway. Turn right on W. Taneum Rd and go about 10.5 mi., entering Wenatchee Nat'l Forest (in the national forest West Taneum Rd. becomes forest road 33). forest road 33 ends at a 'Y', where forest road 133 branches off to the right and forest road 3300 branches off to the left (both roads are gravel). take the right branch (133) for about 1 mile and park at the turnout by the trailhead.
I sure am glad that this area is available for motorcycles and less used by bicyclists and hikers. Given this we are able to maintain a much higher speed and reduce the potential of running into somebody gawking at an owl or sniffing bark. In reality the outdoors were made by God for us all. What is sad is the often automatic rejection of the motorcyclist in favor of all other forms of outdoor fun. In the Teanaway Valley we are consistently amazed by the amount of damage horses do to trails etc. Oddly this is not perceived as a problem. Put a motor of some form on the machine and you a scumbag. Hey folks, did you notice there is not a category under "select activity" for motorcycles? I guess we will have to be satisfied with "Offroad Driving."
It's really too bad that the trails in the Taneum are mostly used by motorcycles. The trails are very rutted and in sorry shape for hikers and horseback riders. This used to be my "go-to" area to ride in, but not anymore. It's quite sad, really. I suppose mountain bikers would do well here as the ruts would not be a problem for their bikes. Hiking and horseback riding is problematic though.
Very low use at the time we were there. Only saw 6 dirt bikes and 1 mountain bike. We were the only hikers. Not much parking at the trailhead. The trail is outside of the fee use area for the state park. Pretty easy trail. Quiet. Nice tree cover kept it cool.
The trail covers easy terrain along the creek. It is a multi use trail and heavily rutted. If the weather has been bad, the trail can be a mess. About 5 miles in you can connect to a nice trail leading up to the ridge to the south and back around for a good day hike loop. Heavily traveled during hunting season with elk in the area.
This trail goes through old growth forest and is an excellent site to look for birds. We observed two owls, four woodpeckers, and numerous small forest species. The abundance of very large trees and diversity of plants was impressive; in some places the forest was so thick that sunlight didn't penetrate to the forest floor. I've never seen so many different kinds of mushrooms.
We shared the trail with trail bikes and mountain bikes. The birds didn't seem to mind the presence of humans, nesting in trees right beside the trail and resuming their calls as soon as the trail bikes had passed.
The trail was in very good condition. For hikers the trail is easy; for mountain bikers the trail is more challenging because there is constant up and down (although very little net altitude gain end-to-end) and the trail is narrow.