The Scenic Driving Trail Onto Grade Creek – Cooper Ridge

Oma H. Barnett

The whole trail is located in the mountains east of Lake Chelan and within the Wenatchee National Forest of the Chelan County. The scenic trail stretches on a 59-mile area which takes approximately 4 hours to traverse. The road is easy and usually the drive takes on gravel roads and also passes steep and narrow sections and drop-offs. The trail ascends to 4,400 feet on the western face of the steep mountains over water-filled glaciers at the Lake Chelan. The drive then makes its way to the crest of a narrow ridge that separates Methow Valley and the lake. Along this you will find spectacular views of the eastern steppes and the North Cascades.

Maps for this road-trip are available at the Wenatchee National Forest, North Half. You may also get more information from the Wenatchee National Forest’s Chelan Ranger District. To start, drive to the town of Chelan and then take Service Road 150 on the northwest region onto Manson. Just 2 miles prior to Manson, make a right bend onto Wapato Lake Road at a marker for Wapato and Antilon lakes and also the Grade Creek. Proceed onto the Wapato Lake Road which leads to the Upper Joe Creek Road.

This will then take you to Grade Creek Road which curves onto Antilon Lake and the South Navarre Campground where the trail starts. One of the rest stops is situated at the Cooper Mountain which provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains. The other one is at the campground of South Navarre which in on the northern section of this loop.

From the Antilon Lake’s turnoff, you will be provided with two alternate routes. First is to go left and follow 8200 moving past the Antilon Lake. Move through the steep canyons and ravines passing the slopes above Lake Chelan. About 26 miles from here is the South Navarre Campground and just another 11 miles is the Sawtooth Ridge.

The second alternative is to climb to Cooper Ridge through road 8210 that follows a switchback along a narrow ridge. The ridge is the boundary between the Wenatchee and Okanogan national forests. Near the north end on this trail, the road becomes narrow with some drop-offs. On the other hand, the south end of the ridge offers a view at the 5,867-foot summit of the Cooper Mountain. After the ridge, proceed to a junction where one road 4010 is paved while road 600 is rudimentary. Then move down onto Methow Valley from here where the road 600 is more scenic path than the 4330.

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