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Skagit Valley?

Old 07-19-16, 06:23 PM
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Skagit Valley?

I was considering doing a tour of some of the San Juan Islands and southern Vancouver Island in late September / early October. But a warmshowers host turned me on to the Skagit Valley.

Anyone been there? Looks like a loop is possible from Mt. Vernon to Okanogan then south to Wenatchee then back west to Everett?

My issue is my touring partner will not camp. Frankly I am not too keen on it either for longer trips. Looking to do maybe 50-60 miles a day. Any issues with finding places to stay at those distances?

Should I wait for tulip season to do that ride? Seems to be one of the big highlights of the valley.

How is the forest fixed for fires this year? If I recall Wenatchee got it pretty bad recently.
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Old 07-19-16, 08:34 PM
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I don't know about hotels but the North Cascade and Leavenworth sections seem pretty remote. Big passes too. I live north of there (Canada Fraser Valley) and have driven the area but not biked it.
By Sept. the risk of F fires will be lowish but you may run the risk of snow instead, especially this year as so far we have had a very mild summer.
If you do go check out Leavenworth as a destination. Beautiful Bavarian inspired town with some festivals etc...
The Tulip festival will only really be down in the valley near Lynden/Bellingham etc... so for most of the trip you wouldn't notice. But also beautiful.
It's a little east of that route but the area around Electric City (Coulee Dam) and Moses Lake has some weird geography that I found interesting. I also dived in an abandoned Titan I nuclear missile silo there. Look at some google earth views.

As I said, the weather is odd this year but traditionally we have very nice sunny fall weather in Sept. (though it will get cold at elevation) but Oct can be iffy. It might be apple festival time as well along the southern part of that route.
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Old 07-20-16, 05:21 AM
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There is lodging in Marlblemount, but then you will have a long day over the North Cascades Highway to either Mazama or Winthrop. The latter offers much more in the way of services, including a brew pub. Note that once you pass Colonial Creek Campground on WA 20 east of Newhalem (small store in Newhalem), there ain't nothing until you get to Mazama except a U.S.F.S. campground coming down from Washington Pass. Bring plenty of food and water. From Newhalem to Colonial Creek you will have a couple of steep but relatively short ups and downs. From there, it's some 26+ miles to Washington Pass, with Rainy Pass before that. Done it twice fully loaded. They were long days.

Here is the route from Marblemount to Winthrop:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15230078

The altitude figure seems high, but maybe not.

There is also lodging in Okanogan/Omak.
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Old 07-20-16, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
There is lodging in Marlblemount, but then you will have a long day over the North Cascades Highway to either Mazama or Winthrop. The latter offers much more in the way of services, including a brew pub. Note that once you pass Colonial Creek Campground on WA 20 east of Newhalem (small store in Newhalem), there ain't nothing until you get to Mazama except a U.S.F.S. campground coming down from Washington Pass. Bring plenty of food and water. From Newhalem to Colonial Creek you will have a couple of steep but relatively short ups and downs. From there, it's some 26+ miles to Washington Pass, with Rainy Pass before that. Done it twice fully loaded. They were long days.

Here is the route from Marblemount to Winthrop:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15230078

The altitude figure seems high, but maybe not.

There is also lodging in Okanogan/Omak.
Thanks for the route. But 88 miles plus all that climbing is a bit much. Tough it looks like the last 30 or so are pretty much down hill.

Plus never cycled at +5K feet so not sure how I would do. That altitude, a fairly short day would be prudent.
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Old 07-20-16, 08:02 PM
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On my Northern Tier ride, I stayed at a free primitive site at Diablo, past Marblemount, then another free night at Jim Gregg's Bike Barn outside Mazama (on the ACA map, probably on warmshowers too). It was 62 miles (100 km) that day over the two passes. The scenery will make the climbing more than worthwhile--the North Cascades is called the American Alps for a reason. The next night I stayed in an RV park along the Okonogan River after Loup Loup Pass. The Skagit portion of the ride was really nice. Lots of climbing on your route.
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Old 07-21-16, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker
Thanks for the route. But 88 miles plus all that climbing is a bit much. Tough it looks like the last 30 or so are pretty much down hill.

Plus never cycled at +5K feet so not sure how I would do. That altitude, a fairly short day would be prudent.
From Washington Pass to Winthrop it's basically all down hill, although once you close in on Mazama the descent becomes gradual. As noted, the scenery is fantastic and will help with the climbing. The photos below were from my first crossing in late May of '99.Record snowfall in places that winter, and it was snowing at both summits but not sticking to the ground.


Everyone is different, but, while I can feel altitude, it doesn't disable me. I live in Philly. This time last month I was touring in Montana. Got to 7,300' the second day. Day 3 took me to 7,400, then down a ways then back up to just under 8,000'. Wasn't all that bad.
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