Attractions. The Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area is a unique cross country ski area with more than 25 miles of groomed trails just shy of 10 miles from downtown Chelan. Some would describe Echo Ridge as a cross country ski area that has something for everybody. The terrain varies in skill level, the vistas are breathtaking, one daily low price, dependable snow, consistent grooming for skate and classic skiing, and there are even trails where you can bring your dog. With the lower parking lot at an elevation of 3,600 feet, Echo Ridge is typically above the clouds that cover the Lake Chelan valley in the winter. On a nice day amazing views of the Enchantments, Pyramid Peak, and the Okanogan Highlands can be enjoyed from a number of the groomed trails. The trails are both expertly groomed and laid out over rolling hills circling ridge tops and travelling through broad drainages. Even on a busy day skiers have a sense of solitude as they explore the vast trail system. Snowshoers will also find plenty of trails to fill a weekend of adventure.
Activity: Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing
Nearest Towns: Chelan, Manson
Skill Level: 1 (accommodates all skill levels)
Fitness Level: 1 (accommodates all fitness levels)
Length: 25-plus miles of groomed trail
Elevation: The trails lie between 3100′ and 4000′ of elevation and typically hold good snow from mid-December through March.
Trail System. The trails are both expertly groomed and laid out with single and double track platforms as well as extensive skating loops. The pitch of the trails undulate nicely and the green (easy) skating routes, while not flat, still provide a very nice skating experience for beginners. The system is divided in several different loops coming together at 5 major junctions. Snowshoers will also find plenty opportunity to get out on the Shoe, Zoom, Outback, Somewhere to Ride, and Divine Intervention trails. Free maps of the trails are available at the main parking areas and the signage and large-scale maps at the major intersections are all excellent. Signage, in fact, doesn’t get much better.
Access. The Nordic trails are about 9.5 miles from the town of Chelan. Follow the Manson Highway (SR-150) 2 miles to Boyd Road and turn right. Follow Boyd Road to Cooper Gulch Road, following signs to the Echo Valley Ski Area and snowmobile Sno-Park. The county road ends at the Echo Valley downhill ski area. From this point, a plowed Forest Service road winds steeply uphill for about two miles where you’ll reach the main parking areas – Lower and Upper Echo Trailheads, both capable of holding about 50 vehicles. These trailheads provide access to the best skiing. On your way up you’ll pass the Zoom Trailhead about 1 mile from Echo Valley which can hold 6 or 7 vehicles. Between the Zoom Trailhead and the Lower Echo Trailhead, there’s also a trailhead and small parking area named, The Shoe, giving access to snowshoeing trails.
Management. The Echo Ridge Nordic Area was established in 1991 by the US Forest Service. The area is operated under a cooperative agreement between the Lake Chelan Nordic Ski Club and Chelan Ranger District. The Club maintains the trail grooming operation through the efforts of paid grooming staff and many volunteers.
Pets. The Tootsy Roll, Whoop-Di-Do, Lolly Pop, Zoom, Outback ski trails allow you to travel with dogs. All snowshoe trails are also open to dogs. The other trails are closed to dogs and walking.
Summer. In summer mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners all enjoy using these same roads and trails. There is no fee for using the area in summer. See our summer report in the guidebook.
Reporter: Andy Dappen 2005. Updated 12/29/17 by Paul Willard.
Leave It Better Than You found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash others have left behind, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse fire rings found at campsites (they encourage more fires), throw logs and branches over spur trails and spurs between switchbacks (make it harder to do the wrong thing than the right thing).
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. So forget about finger pointing: If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.