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Tarter's Loop

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Parking Location: Moscow Mtn Parking
Length: 11.8 mi, 2326' vertical climb
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Tarter's LoopPLT > LaFortunes Flight—top section > Nemesis > Rock & a Hard Place > Sidewinder > Tusks Connector > Gemini



Tarter's Loop, by Dave Peckham


Trail Directions

Tarter's Loop is named after Jim Tarter. He was an active MAMBA member—always helping to build trails. He was also an active trail bike rider, trail hiker, and winter skier on Moscow Mtn. He died from a brain aneurism in 2011 just as he was about to leave to go ride the trails. Jim Tarter helped build most of the trails in this challenging 12.7 mile loop containing approximately 2326' of vertical climb.

Drive up Moscow Mtn Rd and park in the Trail Landing Parking just after the steep switchback gravel corners. Park there, due to the lack of room for safe turn around at the actual trailhead. Ride up Moscow Mtn Rd (gravel) 0.25 mile, looking on right side of the road for Lower PLT which is directly across from the trailhead for Gemini. Lower PLT quickly turns into PLT which is a great singletrack that is relatively easy to follow and has many great bridges and awesome views of Moscow and the East/West Twins. The trail cuts in and out of some recently logged hillside and through some lush wet cedar forest. Along the way, it crosses several logging roads. If you come to a road, look across it for the trail to continue on the other side. About 3.75 mi after you begin, you will reach the middle of LaFortunes Flight.

LaFortunes Flight—top section
Turn right and continue up LaFortunes Flight for another 2 miles. The trail switchbacks up a fairly steep grade on Moscow Mtn, occasionally popping out into recently logged areas to provide gorgeous views of Moscow and the Palouse. As you get near the highest point of the trail, you will intersect a logging road. Turn left to continue the last leg of LaFortunes Flight, which takes you past the climbing rocks, and eventually ends at the top of Nemesis (down the hill on your left before you reach the Turkey Filters).

Nemesis is a little less than 2 miles in length. As you head down, you will notice that the trail winds around through several enormous cedar trees. There are many switchbacks, but they're less challenging and with larger spacing than the switchbacks on Headwaters. There's a great rock lookout about 2/3 the way down the trail where you can see much of Moscow.

Rock & a Hard Place
After exiting Nemesis, head left down to Four Corners Parking. Across from the parking lot on the north side of Moscow Mtn Rd, find a trail heading down which is called Lickity Split.Almost immediately, you will see another trail heading off to your right. Take this trail. You are now on Rock & a Hard Place. Enjoy beautiful views created by an old clear-cut as you head down a singletrack through a somewhat-recently logged wonderland. Continue on Rock & a Hard Place where you will come to an abrupt rock/dirt face sharply descending onto an overgrown skid road. Take the skid road to the left for ~2/3 mile to get to Dyer Meadow.

From Dyer Meadow, head southwest on the main road for about 50 yds and look for a hidden trailhead descending to the right into a lush forested region.Sidewinder is a combination of highly grown-in road bed, and hand-built singletrack, with some technical switchbacks and climbs scattered throughout. Near the end of Sidewinder, you will see a trail heading South East. This trail is named Tusk Connector.

Tusk Connector
Head South West on Tusk Connector for about 3/4 mile and then ascend to Foothill Rd. Head for Four Corners clearing which will be about 100' to the east down the Foothill Rd.

As you enter the flat area at Four Corners, bear HARD RIGHT onto a sweet doubletrack dirt road. This is the upper trailhead for Gemini. At 0.4 miles from Four Corners, Gemini goes down a steep road cut trail and emerges onto Moscow Mtn Rd.Ride UPHILL on the gravel for 35 yards, then head right down singletrack. The next half mile offers three nice rests on the flatter skid road sections, connected with steeper, singletrack. Continue down the singletrack and you will eventually ascend back onto Moscow Mtn Rd. Ride another 100 yards and go around a blue gate to continue on the trail. You will eventually drop down onto Moscow Mtn Rd. Turn right to head down the road for 0.25 mile to return to the parking area.


Trail Map

MAMBA Trail Map