OverviewTumble Rock is one of several cool rock formations in this small area just above Detroit Lake. It sits at the southern edge of Tumble Lake Basin next to Elephant Rock and stands 1100’ above Tumble Lake. This rock is very noticeable driving west on Hwy 22 through the small town of Idanha, several miles east of Detroit. From the summit of Tumble Rock you can see its partners, Elephant Rock, Dome Rock, Sardine Mountain, and an un-named rock wall Colleen and I like to call The Cooling Tower. There appears to be several routes to the summit but only one non-technical scramble. That’s the one we found…
There is a couple of places on the east face that we attempted to climb but without any protection or helmets we thought it best to explore the rock for the easiest route.
Getting ThereThere is a couple of different ways to get there. One way is the way we went before we realized the road was open to this area. The winter route starts along Hwy 22 about ½ mile east of the top of Detroit Dam. Park along the lake side of the Hwy or drop into where Whitman Creek flows under the Hwy. There is plenty of parking. You’ll see an old steep jeep trail heading up the hill. Follow it up for about ¼ of a mile. Look for an un-marked trail on your right hand side. This trail is seldom used and can be very faint at times, but it’s a ridge trail, so all you have to remember is “head up hill and stay on the ridge line” till you tee-bone the road.
The other way is the easier way after the snow is melted off the road. On Hwy 22, just before you cross the bridge over the Breitenbush River take a left on French Creek Road. Travel up this road for about 4 miles till you come to a fork in the road. Stop and pick up the fork because it could puncture a tire…just kidding. Take the left fork and stay on this road to Knutson Saddle. This is where you’ll be able to see Tumble Rock, Elephant Rock, Dome Rock, and The Cooling Tower. Continue on this road for about 1.7 miles. Find a place to park; you’ll be where the trail crosses the road, and scramble up a short ridgeline to the edge of the Tumble Lake Basin. At this point you’ll see Tumble Rock directly east. The rest of the way is a short bushwhack scramble to the base of Tumble Rock.
Red TapeThere is no official trail so there is no fees or passes required.
CampingWell now…You’ve got the crowded, noisy, expensive Detroit Lake state CG, or there are a few county CG’s up the Breitenbush River (Hwy 46), or if you can follow the “Leave No Trace” rules there are lots of choice spots above the road near Tumble Rock.
Detroit Ranger Station 503-854-3366