ATTRACTIONS. The Tronsen Meadow Non-Motorized Winter Recreation Area, located just north of Blewett Pass, is a fabulous resource for skiers, snowshoers, and sledders. Snowshoers can explore many miles of snowed over roads (and five to six square miles of woods) without the distractions of throngs of people or snowmobiles. There are also peaks worth climbing including Diamond Head, East Diamond Head and various summits along Tronsen Ridge. Finally, there’ s good scenery to enjoy—you’ll get many views of Diamond Head to the south; Miller Peak, Navaho Peak and the Enchantments to the west. This particular loop offers many variations. Beginners or families with younger kids can enjoy the walk and turn around at any point.
DISTANCE: 5.5 to 7.5 miles depending on the variations followed.
Skill Level: 1 (beginner)
Fitness: 1 to 2 (easy to intermediate) depending on the turn-around point chosen.
ELEVATION. Start: 3,890. High point: 4,400. Gain 500 feet
ACCESS. From the Y Junction at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 97 east of Leavenworth, drive south on Highway 97. Pay attention to the milepost signs and, about a mile before Blewett Pass (milepost 164.8), park on the east side of the highway along the plowed shoulder. Forest Road 7240 intersects the highway here.
— Start walking up FS Road 7240. In several places, you may notice smaller, steeper roads and trails forking off. Stay on the largest road which climbs at a mellow but steady pace. After about 0.6 miles, the road starts hooking to the right and the pitch steepens slightly.
–0.8 miles from the start you’ll enter something of a clearing where there’s a major intersection. A large ponderosa pine has blue signs noting two trail options. The trail going straight ahead climbs over a little berm and follows a smaller road 0.3 to 0.4 miles to Tronsen Meadows (a good option for a short trip). For this tour, however, follow the main road as it hooks left at the major intersection.
–After another mile, the road enters the parking lot for the Tronsen Meadow Trail (Trail #1205). Start following the trail. The route narrows down a lot now.
–After a few hundred yards you should notice a wooden sign noting the trail goes right and a blue arrow noting the skier’s trail goes straight ahead. The trail noted by the wooden sign will be of interest to snowshoers who want to climb up to Tronsen Ridge and Haney Meadows. For this easier walk, however, you want to go straight, following the blue arrow.
–For the next half-mile deadfall, dips, and little creeks all create obstacles before the trail merges with an old road bed that is slightly overgrown.
–After 0.2 miles this slightly overgrown road bed merges with a much larger road at something of a switchback (this road is FS Road 7230, although it’s not signed as such). A nice way to add two extra miles of skiing to this tour is to keep skiing straight ahead at the switchback and climbing slightly along Spur Road 7230-511. Spur 511 contours west-facing slopes and gives you nice views of the high Cascades before it suddenly ends after a mile. Return to the switchback.
–To carry on with this tour, follow the main road (not the spur) downhill in a northwesterly direction. This is pleasant, quiet skiing because few people make their way out here.
–Three quarters of a mile later, the road enters a yard-sized clearing and hooks to the right. The easiest way for snowshoers to end this walk is to leave the road here and walk cross country straight down the fall line(heading west). You’ll hear the highway below you: Head toward it, fading very slightly left as you walk. The green dashed line on our map shows this.
–If you want a longer walk, stay on FS Road 7230 as it hooks right.
–After another mile, FS Road 7230 makes a big switchback and a gated spur road (7230-211) takes off to the right. You want to turn left and double back on yourself, following the main road downhill.
–When I did this tour, I dropped down to Highway 97 (a third of a mile from the last switchback), and walked 0.3 to 0.4 miles up the highway (south) to the car. Upon returning home and checking a newer map, I notice that another snowed over road (a few hundred yards before the highway) should parallel the highway in a southerly direction and should get you within several hundred yards of the start without the need to walk the highway. Details about this option will be posted when we learn more.
RECOMMENDED SEASON. Winter through early spring.
USES ALLOWED. Nordic skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, sledding.
USES NOT ALLOWED. No motorized vehicles allowed.
LAND DESIGNATION. Forest Service lands.
FEES/PERMITS. No Sno-Park permit or Forest Pass needed as of 12/2006
MAPS. See our topo map (map 1). Also see the map to summits in the area (map 2) below.
NOTE. Snowshoers will maintain better relations with their skiing brethren by making their own snowshoeing path beside, rather than over, the tracks skiers have lain. Skis perform much better when they’re gliding inside the channels packed by other skiers. On narrow trails, there’s often no other option except for snowshoers and skiers to travel along the same course. On wider roads, however, skiers will appreciate snowshoers who don’t destroy their tracks.
TRIP REPORTER: Andy Dappen 12/05/2006.
Leave It Better Than You found It. This should be every user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse old fire rings, throw branches over unwanted spur trails…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.