Salamander Connector Trail Details

Still working on it 1/9/21 – but you get the general idea.

So you’ve read the warnings and qualifications, here’s the info…

The White Salmon Trail and the Cougar Loop / Razor Hone Trails are old Forest Service logging roads that have a gravel base, ditches, culverts, and can be driven on during the summer. (well, only sort-of for the Cougar Loop). The Connector trail is NOT. It is a winter-only trail that has been cleared to a width of six feet (mostly), on a route that is not too steep, with not too many logs left to climb over or under. It swings by the White Salmon Creek with a couple of very nice overlooks and goes through some massive old-growth cedar. It is well removed from where ‘everyone goes’. As winter-only, it does not have a solid ‘path’ to walk on – it is expected to have snow cover to keep you from falling into holes, etc.

It’s length is a little less than 4 miles – and my target speed when working on it was 1 mph. At first, we weren’t anywhere close to that, but now I think it’s manageable. I do not recommend end-to-end travel without getting some experience on the trail – but a time budget of something like 1 hour down White Salmon to the top, 4 hours on the Connector, and 1.5 hour down Cougar and Razor Hone might be doable (or maybe not, it all depends!)

Method of travel: you are welcome to make your own choice. I went with a couple of friends to the creek part way to point B on Jan 3. The plan was to ski down to point A, then switch to snowshoes. We had a great ski down, but the snow under the trees was thin enough that we just walked and carried our snowshoes. Eventually, I’m hoping to have the trail ready for an experienced backcountry skier to ski the entire length – but none of my friends have thought that we are there yet.

the trail is marked: There should be a blue diamond in sight from almost any point on the trail, looking in either direction. But remember – they can be covered with snow, branches can hang down in front of them, they can come loose, the tree that they are on can fall down. Broadly speaking, there aren’t a lot of sharp turns on the trail. We have attempted to put an orange snow pole at every serious turn. If you get to an orange pole, stop and look around for a change in direction of the trail.

Legend is a work in progress…

Given the current weather, the top part is what is of interest now.

  • From the parking area to point A is the White Salmon Trail and the SE Extension, together about 2.5 miles.
  • Point B is the ‘White Salmon Creek Overlook’, a pretty, rocky outcrop above the creek. It would make a great destination for lunch and a turnaround spot for your first trip.
  • Segment AB is about 0.8 miles

Send me an email at ski@tryonhayes.com if you want to discuss the section between B and D. Or if you want to join me on a ‘through trip.’ Or if you have some comments. Or if you want to send me a trip report. Or if you want to volunteer to work on it next summer.