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  1. #1
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    Gravel routes out of (or near) Seattle

    Looking for some "gravel grinder" routes starting from Seattle. I am sure a good chunk will have to be pavement, but if I were to do a longer ride, is there any way to leave from Seattle proper and stay mostly on gravel?

    And more importantly, is anyone interested in joining me on such an adventure?

  2. #2
    thompsonpost
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    I'm guessing you are on a xc or mtb bike. If that's the case, north and east of Seattle is the town of Goldbar, and east of that is Reiter pits, or the Woody Trail up to Wallace falls that leaves out of north Goldbar. It splits into a foot path, protected, and a free access trail about a half mile in, but goes on for a lot more miles before you arrive at the falls. The challenge is medium in both cases, but plenty of gravel and natural decay. I pedaled out there for 5 years straight before I moved to Georgia 9 years ago. I could never get enough. The Reiter trail up the mountain finishes at The Wall. Here's a shot from the ground. http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6410

    Be cool, keep the rubber side down.

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    Most likely this will be done on a older road bike with fat road,cx, or touring tires. Goldbar seems like a stretch for a single day trip, but it could play in to the plans if this turns in to more of a multiday type thing. Partially just putting out feelers to see if this is practical.

  4. #4
    thompsonpost
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    Quote Originally Posted by tricky View Post
    Most likely this will be done on a older road bike with fat road,cx, or touring tires. Goldbar seems like a stretch for a single day trip, but it could play in to the plans if this turns in to more of a multiday type thing. Partially just putting out feelers to see if this is practical.
    I used to live in Everett at the time. 25/30 minute bus ride to Goldbar. I was car free then, for 20 years. Moved here and bought a car. I usually stayed on the mountain at least 8 hours. Google Rail Trails in Seattle or Puget Sound area.
    Last edited by thompsonpost; 04-11-10 at 06:47 AM. Reason: Spelling/typo.

  5. #5
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    the answer is yes, good gravel routes out of seattle, and yes.


    riding a little burke gilman, to woodinville and pick up the tolt pipeline trail ,then down to snoq valley trail, then to snoqualmie falls, and then down to issaquah on the connector that was the old railroad grade makes for a nice day trip door to door from seattle with what feels like at least 50 percent dirt.

    its a good ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    the answer is yes, good gravel routes out of seattle, and yes.


    riding a little burke gilman, to woodinville and pick up the tolt pipeline trail ,then down to snoq valley trail, then to snoqualmie falls, and then down to issaquah on the connector that was the old railroad grade makes for a nice day trip door to door from seattle with what feels like at least 50 percent dirt.

    its a good ride.
    That is a great ride. Also, I've been dropped off at Easton and ridden the John Wayne/Snoqualmie/Tolt/Burke-Gilman all the way back to Seattle...have to detour around the tunnel now. Close to 90 miles with about 70 on gravel. And no you don't need a mountain bike. I've got a Rivendell Bleriot with 650b wheels and it's perfect.

    Here's a few pics.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7750242...7606938106215/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7750242...7622000465107/

  7. #7
    thompsonpost
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogester View Post
    That is a great ride. Also, I've been dropped off at Easton and ridden the John Wayne/Snoqualmie/Tolt/Burke-Gilman all the way back to Seattle...have to detour around the tunnel now. Close to 90 miles with about 70 on gravel. And no you don't need a mountain bike. I've got a Rivendell Bleriot with 650b wheels and it's perfect.

    Here's a few pics.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7750242...7606938106215/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7750242...7622000465107/
    Yeah, I forgot about that ride. I did it on a Continental and had no problem. It took all day, but what a great ride. The BG can be hairy with all the baby carts and training wheels, but just take it slow.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    THAT is my favorite overnight touring corridor out of seattle!

    second best, the olympic peninsula (Port Townsend to Quilcene over 27/28 and Bon Jon Pass) presents some excellent gravel touring in a mountain setting. lower gravel : pavement ratio than Snoq ride though.

    Linking a ride over Stevens pass to lake wenatchee by riding Jack Pass, old cascade highway, and the smith brook road over nason ridge and down to the lake presents some very good dirt in the stevens pass area.
    Less dirt, unless you started somewhere by money creek campground.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-11-10 at 07:05 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    How much of Smith Brook rd is paved? I've ridden out from Lake Wenatchee on little wenatchee rd, which is nice, but all paved.
    Also, do you have to ride a little on Hiway 2 to link between Old Casscade Hiway and Smith Brook rd?

  10. #10
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    i remember riding from the west end of lake wenatchee to highway 2 over nason ridge, 1,000 feet higher than stevens pass, and popping out somewhere by the nordic center. i think less than a half mile is paved. but then there's getting to the pass. so its less gravel than the rest.

    mountain loop highway is nice gravel too, but theres really only like 12 or is it 16, certainly less than 20 miles of gravel. but its a nice ride.

    27/28 is great out in the olympics, haven't done any overnighters into the south end of the olympics by lake cushman and west.

    the john wayne trail was and still is great gravel, but having the tunnel officially closed puts a damper in the riding that route. i think there's a way thru, and there's also the workaround pretty high up on the trail, cross the last trestle shortly before the tunnel, take the uphill trail to meet the road there, then down to denny creek and up.

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    I don't know about riding from the city of Seattle, but there are several miles of gravel roads in the Tolt Highlands east of Carnation, coupled together with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and the Tolt Pipeline route is a great CX ride. You could also link up with the Mackworth State Forest near Duvall. Been awhile since I went in there though, tons of logging and target shooting though I have seen a cougar and a really cool waterfall in there.

  12. #12
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    If you like to climb as well head on up to Hyak up at Snoqualmie Pass. Park in the lot, head up the hill just a little, and you shuld see what looks like an access road to your left. This will lead you onto The Iron Horse Trail, as well as allow you to further climb a long roundaboutup tot he backside of Hyak. Obviously then you can come down the face, or back the access road.

    At this time of year that route should still be pretty wet and potentially snowy, but something to think about for the summer months.

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    If you go into rural areas - as noted above - there are lots of gravel roads. Of course, the rural areas aren't really anywhere close to "Seattle proper." One random possibility might be to look for the major power lines - they run through fairly urban areas, and often have a gravel road running along the towers. For example, there's a big power line that runs south-east from the big electrical station south of downtown. The Chief Sealth trail runs under it at points. I've never really paid attention to what's underneath it elsewhere (or even to the power line itself, frankly), but it's in "Seattle proper" and might we worth checking.
    Last edited by Starch; 04-26-10 at 11:54 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I love the Chief Sealth Trail. I'm not sure why ... it'd be very scenic if not for the buzzing power lines, and it doesn't really fit in with the neighborhood and the roads you have to cross ( other than Orcas ). Honestly, the reason I like it is probably that I'm always buzzing with endorphins from climbing since Seward Park, when I get to the trail. But Chief Sealth is fun, albeit paved.

    I can't think of too many gravel trails in Seattle. There's a short section in Gas Works that's hardly worth mentioning, and a lot of dirt in Ravenna and Interlaken ... although Interlaken is officially not a bike trail. There's a great CX trail in Juanita, which can be reached from the Burke Gilman, but then dirt isn't the same thing as gravel.

    The Iron Horse Trail is pretty wonderful, and covered mostly in gravel, but you need a car to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by tricky View Post
    And more importantly, is anyone interested in joining me on such an adventure?
    Possibly. You should shoot me a PM when you find something worth checking out.

  15. #15
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    come ON! the iron horse trail is rideable from seattle in a day! some of us can ride from town, up to snoqualmie pass on the iron horse trail, and return in time for dinner! no car needed.

    the 100 miler a loop of lake washington by utilizing the tolt pipeline, the (edit) snoqualmie river trail, and the preston connector is a very doable century on what seems like 40 percent dirt and 80 percent trail.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-27-10 at 10:52 AM.

  16. #16
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    Iron Horse is easily reachable by bike, but it's a big day from Seattle. Take the Burke-Gillman to the Sammamish River Trail, left on the Tolt Pipeline (gravel), cross the Snoqualmie Valley on 124th and then right on Snoqualmie Valley Trail (gravel). You have to hop onto a road to get around Snoqualmie Falls, but then back onto the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to the start of the Iron Horse Trail (gravel) at Rattlesnake Lake. Awesome training ride, and except for the BG and SRT (and a few odd miles of pavement connecting trails) it's all gravel.

    Alternatively, you could follow the Sammamish River Trail to Marymoor Park and then pick up the East Lake Sammamish Trail (gravel), and then connect from there to the Issaquah-Preston Trail (paved I think), and then the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail (paved, I think) which will get you near the falls where you pick up the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I've never taken this route, so I don't know the ins and outs.

  17. #17
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    you can also ride across MI, then the standard route to issaquah, find the gravel pit and the start of the preston/high point connector route to snoq falls, a quick ride to north bend, and you can pick up the snoq valley trail to put you on the iron horse about 3 hours after leaving downtown seattle. its nothing really.

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