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Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Backcountry MTB


Trip Lake Chelan-Sawtooth MTB
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Advanced riders rejoice - this PNW backcountry trip is for you.

Ride the best of the backcountry in central Washington’s Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on this 5-day guided adventure with our partners at Trans Cascadia Excursions. First, experience Angels Staircase, a Pacific Northwest Epic -- we’re glad you made it here! Because of the pristine environment, guides are entered into a lottery for access here, and Trans Cascadia was fortunate enough to gain access this year. Expect big mountains, we’ll be riding at the wilderness boundary line as high as 8,000 ft in elevation, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, sapphire blue alpine lakes, and a beautifully rugged landscape weathered by millions of years of seasonal change.  

Next up we’ll head for Lake Chelan, perhaps the best kept secret in the state of Washington. The trails surrounding this lake are world class, providing an endless inventory of huge 5,000 ft descents and grandiose views of the Northern Cascade Mountain Range. 

Each day will end at camp, with our own Chef cooking us some of the best food we’ll eat all year.  Family style dinners, drinks and a bunch of games and toys to get in trouble with… there’s a lot to do back at camp post ride.  This adventure is a chance to escape from daily life, detach from the devices and spend some time in the woods with your friends.  It’s an incredible break and we invite you to come join us on a spectacular PNW adventure!

Select Your Trip

  • 1
    Day number 1
    Make your way to Methow, WA to meet up with your Trans Cascadia guides and the rest of the crew (more meeting details will be confirmed after registration). Hop in the shuttle and go over the plan for the day’s riding. Each day, the group will discuss the ride and have the ability to make adjustments based on how everyone is feeling. On average, expect 20 miles of riding, 3,500 feet ascent and 6,000 feet in descent each day.
  • 2
    Day number 2
    Get ready to ride the famed Angels Staircase, featuring the highest singletrack in Washington State at 8,000 feet. Guided access here is extremely limited and fortunately Trans Cascadia’s lottery access gives us the ticket we need. Nestled in at high elevation, we have a tight window of opportunity to ride this trail. These big mountains are surrounded by high alpine scenery with snowy peaks, azure lakes, and the rugged terrain classic of the drier eastern slope of the Cascades. We’ll be riding a loop on this day, clockwise around the most notable peak, Martin Peak (8,350 ft). To complete our loop, we’ll need to climb up and over the crest of this small chain of mountains. To the south is Switchback Mountain, we’ll throw our bikes on our shoulders and go for a little hike. This peak out is breathtaking, there is no better word. This is the place to reflect, appreciate and enjoy our surrounding world. Not to mention the descending credits you’ve built up, it’s time for us to have some fun. We’ll make our way to Horsehead Pass and from here, you’re cashing checks, your work is done and you have a huge payback right back to the Trans Cascadia van and some ice cold beverages.
  • 3
    Day number 3
    Our journey takes us slightly southeast to Lake Chelan, home to a number of undiscovered, world-class trails featuring 5,000 ft descents and stunning views of the North Cascades. This ride starts and ends at Twenty Five Mile Creek State Park, beginning with a massive 5,000 ft. shuttle to the top of the mountain, where we start our ride traversing across the Devils Backbone, a spiny rock ridge with massive talus fields and incredible alpine views. This is where most of your climbing comes in for the ride, it’s a sporty ridgeline traverse with some tough climbing, but also some fun descending and incredible scenery. We’ll eventually reach the trail intersection of Pot Peak and a massive 5k descent all the way back down to our cars. We can’t say enough good things about this area.
  • 4
    Day number 4
    It’s our last full day of riding, and your guides will pick and show you the goods again today, depending on group preferences. Soak in the high alpine views during your final stretch on these backcountry trails, then revel in our final evening at camp with this fun crew of newfound riding buddies.
  • 5
    Day number 5
    After an epic 4 days of riding in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, we’ll shuttle back to Methow as our time together comes to end, at least for now!
Trip Package Includes:
  • Professionally guided, 5-day mountain bike adventure
  • Shuttles and airport transportation
  • All meals (collaborative menu prepared by your personal chef)
  • Tent and sleeping pad
  • US Forest Service fees
  • Beer, cocktails, wine, Lacroix and other tasty beverages
  • Campfires, chairs and a whole bunch of camp games
  • Hot showers
  • 10% off bike rentals at evo stores
  • 20% discount code at (exclusions apply)
Trip Package Does Not Include:
  • Flights or transportation into Methow, WA (trip start location)
  • Any lodging before or after the trip 
  • Travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)
  • Medical evacuation insurance (see FAQ)
  • Mountain bike
  • Flat repair kit

Questions? Call or email us!
Area Information

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

This vast region comprises 3.8 million acres along the eastern slopes of Washington’s Cascade Mountain Range. The landscape here is diverse, from western boreal forest to eastern high-elevation steppe, and including hundreds of thousands of acres of old-growth forest. Within the National Forest lies the 153,000 acre Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.
Trip Planning

Trip Planning

For this five-day backcountry adventure, as we’ll be deep in the forests and mountains we recommend being prepared for the elements. Expect colder temps at elevation, with highs averaging in the upper 50’s in September. In the Lake Chelan area, it will be warmer with average highs in the upper 70s and lows around 50. We are often riding in exposed area without much forest cover so be sure to wear sun protection. Rain while less common on the eastern slope, is possible so make sure you bring some rain gear as well!

  • Is the trip guaranteed to run?
    This trip has a minimum number of guests to run, please do not book travel or flights until Trans Cascadia has confirmed your departure.
  • When and how should I meet up with the group?
    We will meet in Methow, WA in the morning on Sept. 8. Exact timing and shuttle details will be communicated after booking.
  • What will the camping be like?
    Trans Cascadia Excursions will provide MSR tents + sleeping pads.
  • What will the food be like?
    Hearty and delicious. Collaborative menus will be prepared by your chef. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Each morning you’ll wake up to a hot or cold breakfast of your choice. Lunch and snacks are prepared for you to take on your ride each day. After a good day of riding the bike, we’ll sit down by the table to eat a well prepared meal with each other. The menu also includes beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages to quench your thirst. We want to get this right, so please let us know what you’d like to see so we can make it happen.
  • What skill / experience level is required for this trip?
    This trip is geared towards advanced level riders, with many trails rated black diamond. Riders should be comfortable riding a mix of ground conditions, soil, rocks and roots, as well as varying steepness. On a given day we will ascend around 3,500’ (with some longer climbs as well) and descend around 6,000’ over the course of approximately 20 miles (note: these are averages).
  • Do I need to purchase trip insurance? What about medical evacuation insurance?
    While neither is required, we strongly recommend purchasing both trip insurance and medical evacuation insurance. We partner with World Nomads for trip insurance. As for medical evacuation insurance, since we’re in remote places and you never know what can happen, we like to err on the side of safety. For the cost, we think it’s more than worth having. Trans Cascadia recommends Life Flight, for $65 annually, you're covered for a year in OR, ID and WA. Another good option is Global Rescue, we use both and it depends on where your travels will take you this year.
  • What gear should I bring? Do you offer rentals?
    Please see the packing list above. The best bike for this trip will be a full suspension XC bike. All participants are required to have their bikes in excellent working order before the trip begins. Rental bikes are not available through Trans Cascadia, please inquire with evo about possible rentals (you’ll get 10% off).
  • What is the maximum number of guests on this trip?
    Trans Cascadia will cap this trip at 13 guests to ensure everyone gets as much riding as their hearts desire.
  • Is there a minimum age required for this trip?
    No, but any minors must be accompanied by an adult on the trip.
  • Who builds and supports the remote trails we will ride on this trip?
    Trans-Cascadia Expeditions partners with Trans-Cascadia Incorporated a non-profit whose larger mission is to promote and build sustainable trails in the Pacific Northwest. Trails are supported by Trans-Cascadia, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Evergreen Mountain bike Alliance and more. If you are interested in trail stewardship in the Pacific NW please visit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance or check out Trans Cascadia’s page for trail fund donation information or volunteer opportunities.
  • What if I need to cancel?
    Should you need to cancel for any reason, evo will default to Trans-Cascadia’s following cancellation policy: For cancellations prior to 60 days before departure, a $50 fee per person is retained and the remainder of your trip cost is refunded. For cancellations 60-31 days before departure, 50% of your trip fees are refunded. For cancellations 30 days or less before departure, no refunds. Trans-Cascadia must adhere to their cancellation policy, no exceptions. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect your investment, we recommend World Nomads. Trans-Cascadia Excursions reserves the right to cancel any trip. Full refunds will be made in these instances. Trans-Cascadia Excursions is not responsible for non-refundable airfare.
I don’t think I’ve ever posted a company review in my life but Trans Cascadia Excursions is deserving of all 5 stars. Nick and Jessi made our trip to Oakridge a fantastic 72 hours of riding. Not only did they provide top notch shuttles, but gave great trail recommendations, camping suggestions, and were super friendly and fun. I most definitely plan to return to Oakridge and recommend these guys to anyone looking for a guaranteed good time!
Michael B
Trip Guest
In summary - the best mountain biking excursion trip I have been on. Having hosted an annual mtn bike weekend for a school event of up to 50 pp., I understand the complexity and hard work in pulling this off (camping, shuttles, guiding, cooking, setup, cleanup, entertainment...). It is not easy and the Trans Cascadia team nailed it.
Mike B
Trip Guest
We had a blast with Trans Cascadia! Super knowledgeable and friendly staff. They went above and beyond what we asked for and couldn’t have been nicer about it. We will be back for sure!
David A
Trip Guest

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