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Old 08-12-11, 10:28 PM   #1
Seattle Forrest
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Steven's Pass

I haven't been on route 2 in years, and never on a bike. How's the riding, especially on a road bike? How does the scenery compare to other rides (that you can do on skinny tires) in the area? How are the grades?

If I want to do about 20 miles up the mountain and 20 back down, where would be a good point to start? And if you drive the bike in, where do you park?

Does anybody have a link to their map ( Garmin Connect, Map My Ride, etc ) with an elevation profile?
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Old 08-17-11, 02:59 PM   #2
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Here is GPS of the route up Steven's Pass that uses the Old Cascade Highway. I did this a few weeks ago on my road bike with slick 700x23 tires. This route is prettier and avoids a lot of the traffic around the pass. There are a few stretches where the paved road switches over to gravel, but it is still totally fine to ride on and you get through them quickly.

If you just want to do about 20 miles up, I would drive to Skykomish, find a place to park there and then pick up the route from there.

http://app.strava.com/rides/990374#14885976
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Old 08-17-11, 03:04 PM   #3
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I would add that if you use the Old Cascade Highway, there is one place where you have to dismount and cross a foot bridge over a stream. It only takes a few seconds. The bridge is great because it means that no cars can use this route as a through route, so you probably won't see any cars the entire time you are on the Old Cascade Highway.
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Old 08-17-11, 05:24 PM   #4
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Do you do this ride on the weekend? How's the traffic on HWY 2 on a saturday/sunday?
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Old 08-18-11, 12:56 PM   #5
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Thanks very much for the info, Issaquatch, and the GPS track log helps a lot, too. I didn't know about the Old Cascade Highway. The gravel sections ... can you see them in advance, on the way down? I'd hate to hit one at 30+ mph because I was distracted, looking at the peaks.

I didn't head up this way over the past weekend. I did a metric in town, stopping to pick lots of blackberries along the way, then hiked to Hemlock Pass ( I-90 side of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area ) on Sunday. I hadn't been hiking in a while, and enjoyed it a lot. I'll probably do Snoqualmie Pass this weekend, though. Having a sense of where to go makes it feel a lot more accessible.

There's nowhere for road bikes near Snoqualmie Pass, is there?
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Old 08-18-11, 02:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
There's nowhere for road bikes near Snoqualmie Pass, is there?
You can ride a road bike up to the pass, but you'll have to ride on I-90 for a few miles. I am a little rusty because it has been a while, but I think you can ride pavement till just past Ollalie State Park, and then you have to get on the freeway and exit at Tinkham Rd. At some point, you have to cross over the freeway, turn right and will eventaully end up on the old highway which will be in between the easy and west bound lanes (which are very far apart at this point). When I rode this years ago, the pavement was OK. Riding on I-90 sucked, but the shoulder was very wide. Google or Bing maps will be a big help here.

Of course if you have a Mountain Bike or a bike with 700x28 or wider tires, you can just ride the Iron Horse Trail.
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Old 08-18-11, 02:57 PM   #7
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I've done the Iron Horse Trail between Olallie and the Pass so many times that it's getting pretty routine for me. But I haven't been on the trail on the far side of the pass in a while, and I'm planning to fix that before winter comes. How is Tinkham Road?
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Old 08-18-11, 09:47 PM   #8
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I've ridden the Iron Horse Trail on the other side from the pass to well past Ellensburg. It's great from the pass till around Thorp. East of that it starts getting looser. East of Ellensburg you'll want fat tires because you are riding in sand in many spots. Also the two tunnels in the upper canyon between Cle Elum and Thorp are signed as closed, but nothing stopping anyone from riding through anyway.

Parts of Tinkham Rd. are gravel and parts are paved. There are a couple of concrete creek fords to get your tires wet. The gravel parts had lot's of potholes when I rode it, but it was rideable on 700x28 tires. More information and some cool photos/history on the corridor here:

Old Sunset Highway PDF

If you ride it, I would love to get a conditions update because it's been so long!

Last edited by woodway; 08-18-11 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 08-20-11, 06:28 AM   #9
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oh the old cascade highway is IT over stevens pass! here's a look at the surface conditions high up near stevens pass. it gets better lower down.

if i were riding this as a fun ride, i would park past money creek at the first section of old cascade highway on the north side of the highway a couple of miles before deception falls. this road winds past deception falls on the north side of the river and is sublime and adds a few miles to the ride.



it's REAL PRETTY at the top and riding a few miles to the east of the pass is highly recommended to continue the ride, versus riding from further to the west below money creek as the road conditions east of the pass are way way nicer than sections leading back to monroe.

trust me on this one. ride your extra mileage on the east side of the pass


For a FUN ride over stevens pass, i recommend starting east of the tunnel at money creek, and riding extra miles at the top and to the east.

as for I-90, the old road down and a few miles on the highway is fine. it takes less than an hour to go from snoqualmie pass to north bend on a road bike if you follow the highway all the way into at least kens truck stop but ots just as easy to roll all the way to the outlet stores.
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Last edited by Bekologist; 08-20-11 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 08-24-11, 01:07 PM   #10
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I didn't get a chance to do this last weekend; a few surprise social obligations came up and I couldn't get enough riding time in for this. I'm hoping to fix that this weekend.

How much water is there along the road, from around Skyhomish to the pass? I have a UV purifier, and two bottles, although I got into the habit of using one of them to carry a tube, lever, and some compressed air around.
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Old 08-25-11, 10:14 AM   #11
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you can get water at Money Creek CG, just across the bridge just before the tunnel.....i'm not certain you can fill up at the deception falls area or the iron goat trailhead, but pretty sure you can rustle up some water up at the pass if you look around. its a pretty quick ride back too on the downhill.
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Old 10-27-11, 04:20 PM   #12
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I did this ride two weeks ago, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. But I took US 2 and not the Old Highway. While it was nice and scenic (but probably not much more so than the back roads around Snoqualmie Pass), the traffic was unnerving. The speed limit is 60, so people are going 70. Boxy U-Haul trucks throw off something like a boat's wake, and when you're doing 35, it's uncomfortable enough that I don't plan on riding here again.

Also, I did this ride recently because I was strapped for time, and assumed it'd be a shorter drive than Rainier, which was a mistake.

I'm replying to this thread because the PNW forum is slow enough that this is still on the front page. If anyone else pops in here looking for an end-of-the-season road ride in the high country, I should follow up with my experience after asking the question.

Here are some mediocre cell phone camera pics, starting with Deception Falls.







This is where the "pedestrians and hitchhikers prohibited" signs begin, and, consequently, where I started to wonder if I was really supposed to be riding here. I was pretty sure somebody would have mentioned it if not, and it turns out that bikes are welcome on this road.











I made it! 2,900 feet in 11.5 miles, for an average grade of about 4.8 %.



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