We tried to make it to Rainy Lake today in a Subaru Outback. It did not...go as planned. I hadn't been up there in 3 years but in that time the road has turned into a rock field about 2 miles from the 2820/2821 split. The driver of the car I was in did not feel comfortable continuing, but my friend driving a different car made it to the upper Mount Defiance TH. He said the road got worse. They tried to continue to Rainy Lake and said the road was almost impassible, with huge embedded rocks and nearly impassible washouts.
I'd recommend a jeep or a large truck if you're planning on heading up to Rainy Lake, or even the upper Mount Defiance Trailhead.
Use this forum to report and discuss trails in need of maintenance. This will help organizations like TKO and agencies like the Forest Service get the most recent on-the-ground trail conditions.
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That's too bad. We were able (slowly and with clenched teeth) to make it all the way to Black Lake in our Mazda 3 (passenger car) last year, although we haven't been able to buff out all the scratches on the sides where the trees/bushes were growing over the road. It sounds like the winter really messed up the road surface.