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  1. #1
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Recommend scenic mountain rides?

    I love being in the mountains, and this is one of the best times of the year for that. There's still snow on some of the peaks, which adds to the scenic appeal; the creeks are at their maximum flow, there are waterfalls everywhere, the drinking water is cold and plentiful. It's also warm enough not to need a jacket, and clear enough not to worry about avalanches unless you're well above timberline. It's a wonderful thing to be in the mountains, and about the only way to make it better, is to be there on a bike, covering more ground than would ever be possible on foot.

    So, can anybody recommend any roads or trails to explore the Cascades ( or Olympics ) near Seattle? I've got a cross bike with 700x28s ... which worked out on the Iron Horse Trail, where I was pretty certain I'd biff in the gravel about every ten feet. I've covered the IHT from the Twin Falls trailhead ( exit 38 ) to the east side of Keechelus Lake now. I'm looking for more views of the peaks, and ideally a smoother ride, but I'll take what I can get.

    Also, a typical weekend ride for me lately has been about 40 miles of pavement, and up to about 2,000 feet of climb. I'm open to do more climbing, as long as the grade isn't too hard ... but I'm really out to feast my eyes.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  2. #2
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    If you want to get yourself a Mountain Bike, I can recommend dozens of rides that feature juicy views. But you'll need to be prepared for 5000 feet or more of climbing in 15-25 miles. I would not recommend trying these on a cross bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    That's one hell of a climb! I'll play around some of the rougher hills in Seattle and see whether I think I'm up for that. The section of the Iron Horse Trail I did on Saturday was about 1,200 feet of climbing, but thanks to the slight grade, I would have believed I climbed more like 200 feet if I didn't know better. So I'm not as worried about that.

    Is it obstacles like holes and trees in the path that would keep a cross bike away?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  4. #4
    Я люблю суп abarth's Avatar
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    I think Tour de Blast this weekend should fit your bill.

  5. #5
    Afterburners...good idea Sapling's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Is it obstacles like holes and trees in the path that would keep a cross bike away?
    Couple reasons I would not recommend a CX bike:

    - The backcountry routes can be pretty rugged and tough on a bike. Drops, logs, rocks, roots, etc. You'll want at least 2" wide tires, and at least a front suspension fork. Disc brakes are also helpful for the descents (especially if it's wet and muddy).

    - A CX bike won't be geared low enough for the steep climbs that you'll encounter. Sure, you can always hop off and push your bike up, but that takes a lot of the enjoyment out of it.

    You can check out some of these rides here:

    http://evergreenmtb.org/wiki/index.p..._Epics_(Summer)

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapling View Post
    I just did the Mountain Loop 200k on Saturday. The 14 mile unpaved section of the Mtn Loop Hwy is fine to do with 28mm tires, but 32s make it more comfortable.
    If you don't want to do the full 200k, start in Darrington and ride to the peak of the pass and back for about 45 miles total with 28 of it on unpaved roads.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  8. #8
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    are you going to be travelling to reach where you start the bike rides? or riding it randoneuse style?

    So, the way i see the Cascade (and Olympic) mountains around starting with seattle on a bike, there's six quadrants so to speak:

    1)the olympics (strictly subdivided into about six zones there); 2) the north cascades corridor, 3)the mountain loop corridor, 4)the snoqualmie pass corridor, 5)and the chinook/rainier corridor. White pass could be include the dark divide between rainier and adams and saint helens as the sixth quadrant.


    Once you cross the mountains into eastern washington there's a whole nother range of possibilities there.


    So, you've got those choices to explore. there's the watersheds blocking off a fair bit of access between stevens pass and south of the snoq, limiting upcountry roads in those regions.

    The mountain loop provides a lot of nice wandering. good views too heading to nason ridge in the stevens pass corridor.

    Jack Pass (the road sounds exciting right now!) up the old cascade road to stevens pass, then down to nason ridge and over to lake wenatchee and up from chumstick to avednior and onto Lake Chelan is about the most stout backcountry cross riding i can think of.

    In the olympics from seattle a nice ride is from sequim to the dungeness forks CG, then up and over bon jon pass to drop into quilcene past mount townsend. stellar.

    you can get very far in a day from seattle on a bicycle. but then, you're out in the middle of the woods!

    so, some bivy gear is in order. so then its camping and 'backcountry bicycle touring'
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-15-10 at 11:12 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    are you going to be travelling to reach where you start the bike rides? or riding it randoneuse style?
    I'll be traveling to the trailhead where I'll hop on the bike ... and returning the same day. Fortunately, though, I won't be driving. I've talked a couple of friends into doing the dirty work of driving the car, which involved a bit of bribery on my part. This lets me thoroughly exhaust myself on the rides, and not have to deal with a ton of metal on the roadway afterwards.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    well, if you can drive to the ride, id recommend driving to mazama, then riding up towards Hart Pass and Slate Peak a little bit later in the season if you want views from the road. highest road in the state is to the top of slate peak if im not mistaken. its real good up there, you can ride down to some mining ruins and almost get to canada there. i forget the name of the ghost town there, chancellor?

    this trips best as a weekender.

    a little got burnt a few years back but id suspect you can still camp at the hart pass CG, i think i have been there since the burn. it missed some of the CG.


    I'd get thee to Stevens Pass. Ride over top of nason ridge and descent into Lake Wenatchee. good dirt to the lake. on the way back, have one of your buddies drive the car down from the pass and have them meet you at the end of the old cascade road. on the descent, one of the most pleasant roads without a view i have found is the old cascade highway from near the summit to the end of the old cascade road below deception falls... swoopy, lush.

    Mountain loop highway is great too.

    so is the quilcene crossover.

    four classic rides with gravel in the cascades.

    a lof of these rides are recorded at in my youtube videos. haven't got video from slate peak, maybe this summer.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-15-10 at 09:07 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #11
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    I second Bekoligist plans for both Mazama and Jack Pass. Both are doable on a cross bike, though having a triple would be nice.

    Heck, you could go over Jack Pass starting in Index, drop down into the Beckler River, then climb back up to the Johnson Ridge trailhead, or over to Evergreen Lookout as well. Or do the monster ride Bekologist suggests, that's a good ride!

    In fact, I am putting a 32 on my '04 Surly Cross Check to help me do more of these types of rides. My 38x28 just doesn't cut it for steep climbs. In fact I may go to a 34 in the rear, just hoping that my old Shimano 600ex rear derailleur can handle it.

    Bekologist, could you please explain the Quilcene crossover? I've yet to ride in that area, but Walker Mountain sure looks interesting.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips (so far)!

    I don't have the flash player here, but will check out some of your videos ( talking to Bekologist here ) to see if I can narrow this down to what I'll do over the weekend. Stephen's Pass is pretty close, though, and sounds like a good next trip ... I've done three mountain rides so far, and only two of them in the past several years.

    How bad would Stephen's Pass ( getting on the bike somewhere near Deception Falls? ) to Lake Wenachee, and then back up, be? I talked a friend into playing driver, mostly because driving takes a bit of energy, and I want to make sure I can get home safely if I bonk or "hit the wall" on a tough ride. My friend is going to do a bit of hiking wherever we set off, and ultimately find a tree to sit down and read under. I'm supposed to find her when I get back. I can probably talk her into meeting me elsewhere, but it'll use up all the brownie points I have left.

    Also, when people camp with their bikes ... do you chain or cable lock them to a tree at night? Or do you look for back country campgrounds where no other people are likely to show up? The Beckler River Road idea sounds like a good one, too, and in theory it's been camping season for a couple weeks now; if it stops raining, this might be a nice option. ( Plus, I found a nice campground on the IHT I'd like to return to, but am nervous about bike theft. )
    Don't believe everything you think.

  13. #13
    Ellensburg, WA scozim's Avatar
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    Within an hour and forty five minutes you can get to Ellensburg - there are several areas that are nice to ride. Right by my house is the Naneum State Forest with lots of miles of roads - and the main ones are pretty nice. Some of the side roads get a little dicey and would be better with a mountain bike - but you could do probably do the main ones on a cross bike pretty easily.



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  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    From deception falls to lake wenatchee over nason ridge and return would be at least six thousand feet of climbing. not too bad, but some of it is gravel. and the rocks are large on the approach to nason ridge. would it be tough? yeah, but doable on 700c fat cross type tires.

    honestly don't know if the high passes are melted out yet. I was on 12 feet of snow at 5,400 feet last weekend, i suspect there is to be snow going over nason ridge.


    Quilcene Crossover: start in sequim or at seven cedars and ride to little dungeness forks CG. then over FS roads 27/28 over top of Bon Jon Pass at about 4,000 feet and down to Quilcene. stunning descent. I mean, absolutely stunning. the views are not as good as those over the mountain loop or north cascades. Getting to the Dungeness CG from Sequim gives you some stellar dirt road cruising.

    Heck, forrest, head up to the mountain loop highway if you haven't already ridden there. you'll love it!
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-16-10 at 08:13 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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