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Teanaway Community Forest - Cheese Rock

Mountain biked 2023-07-07


Outside of Cle Elum and Roslyn, WA is the Teanaway Community Forest. It is laced with mountain biking trails maintained by the Kittitas chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and the Roslyn Trails Alliance.


We left Seattle around 4pm on Friday after work. Traffic delayed us somewhat, and about 6:00pm we were in Easton, WA. We stopped for burgers at Mountain High Burgers in Easton and, since it was a sunny evening, ate in the outdoor picnic area there. Then we resumed course for our destination.

Around 7:30pm, if I remember right, we arrived to the Teanaway Campground. It was my first time staying in a Washington Department of Natural Resources-managed campsite, and I was surprised to find that with only a standard Discover Pass, camping is free of any additional charge. This is a huge difference between our state parks-run campgrounds which often cost $40 a night. We selected a large campsite in a flat meadow right next to a river access trail, with a fire ring and picnic table and across from the restrooms. I was surprised at finding an open site on a summer day in sunny weather because in my experience with USFS and state parks campgrounds, they are generally full by 2:00 in the afternoon. I was doubly surprised that we seemed to find one of the good ones available.

We set out on the bikes for Cheese Rock after some unpacking and setting up tents and so on. Cheese Rock is on a point that overlooks the campground. The ride out to Cheese Rock is a little difficult to track because there are multiple trails and roads criss-crossing each other along the way. Here is the route we took.

I hope it helps with any navigational issues for anyone reading. Essentially, turn left out of the camp ground, ride past the gate, and stay on the main road until a fork where you bear right. At the next big fork, take the sharp left onto Upper Orso Road, and you'll see the trail going up to Cheese Rock about half a mile after.

Both Upper Orso Road and the trail to Cheese Rock up from it are a punishing climb. I did stop to walk my bike at several points, particularly when the hot, dry ground was either sand or something close to it. Even on the plus-size tires of my Salsa Timberjack there wasn't much traction to be had, and the steep grade is one that only a disciplined rider would appreciate.

But, since the trail to Cheese Rock is only 0.3 miles long, you are soon rewarded with a rock that looks like it came from the moon.

Furthermore, at about 8:30pm on a summer evening, this is definitely one of the best views to be had in all of Washington state. The sunset was epic.

There's a great point to the north of Cheese Rock. where you can take pictures on the edge of the granite slab, which make it look like you are at the edge of the world.

Next up was the "Sandstone Slab." Mountain bike trails are notorious for having—shall we say—highly-metaphorical names like Return Policy, Deja Vu, and Side Hustle. "Sandstone Slab" is the first trail I've seen whose name is an exact description of its content, except that my friends and I were pretty sure it was a granite slab. Here is a shot of me riding down it (not very well).

By the way, it is nearly impossible to determine the best path down the slab. It's hard to tell where most riders have even ridden since the rock is so bare. There just aren't clear tracks or a clear trail. I found that, at several points, I rode to the edge of a 6-foot cliff while enroute to the bottom. I did not huck the bike off these, but instead, carefully hiked around them. So definitely don't ride this trail unless you have some mountain biking experience. You could easily get into a bad situation. And I would be impressed at anyone who can ride this slab from top to bottom without stopping to hike around some obstacle. I'm sure that's possible with some experience on the rock and a good route in mind.

I hope to take other friends up there one day. Both the camping spot and the mountain bike trail are great. And I know there is more riding in the area which will be fun to do at a later point.

If you came here from the Palouse to Cascades trail entry just click and go back there!

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