Hope this question isn't too small for the forum, but I am doing some tour route planning for summer ride and wondering if anyone out there has experience riding Forest Road 23 in the Gifford Pinchot? I have an idea of the general ride condition for the paved majority of the road-- but I am curious what the "12 mile gravel stretch" on Babyshoe pass is like? I'm hoping someone out there has done that stretch and trying to strategize bike/outfitting and prep for that as a possible route.
You might want to check in with Jan Heine at Bicycling Quarterly and Compass Bicycles. Compass names its tires after Jan's favorite passes and one of them is indeed named Babyshoe.
Originally Posted by Compass Bicycles
Babyshoe Pass (1330 m/4350 ft) runs between the great volcanoes of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams in the Cascade Range. This long climb on a gravel road provides a "back-door" way from Seattle to Portland, which avoids the crowded Puget Lowland. The road can be quite rough, depending on when it last has been graded. As you climb out of the dense evergreen forests, the mountain vistas open up and you see glimpses of Mount Adams.
For this challenging ride, you will appreciate the ultimate tire, which will roll as fast as a racing tire on the paved lower sections of the climb, yet float across the gravel on the higher parts. The Babyshoe Pass also is a great way to transform the on-road performance of your 27.5" mountain bike.
2007 C-dale 63cm T series. My 1994 was a better design 1994 Bianchi 61cm El/OS Sachs 2004 Rodreguiz 26' UTB touring thing
I rode it early season last year on 700x28's carrying two bags and a stuff sack split between front and rear racks. I moved the front bags to the rear and carefully made my way down the south side of the pass. From other first hand accounts the condition of the road varies greatly depending on when the last grading occured.