April 6, 2014
I intended to follow the trail directions and follow FS72 up the fire road to descend this, but after riding Skookum Flats first, I met another rider who attempted it that day and said that snow blocked elevations above 3700 feet, resulting in a significant snow hike-a-bike. Unwilling to do that, I instead elected to climb this from 410 East highway and see how far I could get. It was a steep pitch littered with wet rocks, roots, and some surprisingly tight switchbacks--most of which I was unable to clear up or down. Despite some really steep grades, I was able to ride most of this, although I decided to turn around about 2.5 miles in due to time/weather. I'd love to ride this downhill only in the summer when things are dry. I'm surprised there is only one other review of this trail, and no photos (which I'll add today) because this trail is AWESOME. Even better, you can add it to Skookum Flats and/or Crystal Mountain if you are in the area for a couple of days, and even squeeze in an eastern Mt Ranier hike if you have the time. Camping is abundant, and there are also cabin rentals on Hwy 410 (ALTA is one, which also has snacks/water FYI). You can park in Buck Creek campground and ride west on Skookum, then ride E on 410 E to access the trailhead parking on the left (small dirt lot) if you do not elect to ride up/shuttle FS72. Note: some parking areas require a "Discovery Pass" to park (purchased online unfortunately)--Buck Creek is not one of them. Also, expect very little to no cell or mobile data reception here, though on some of the higher spots of the trail you may be able to send a text. My Strava GPS recorded the entire ride, surprisingly. Have fun and be careful--these are some deep, dark woods!!