August 19, 2017 at 8:11 am #223062
Taking a trip from my home in Colorado Springs to visit my son at the Navy base on Whidbey Island near Seattle, Wa. Will loop down to Portland and then head back. Willing to be flexible on route out and back – I90 or I80/84. Any suggestions on places to ride? Bike is a FS able to handle all but the most extreme downhill. Rider very comfortable on beginner to advanced trails. Just want to ride the best possible trails in Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho on my way out and back. I would like to stop once on the way out and once on the way back to ride. Also suggestions for my days in Seattle and Portland. Thanks in advance for all the great recommendations I know you’ll be giving!
August 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm #223068
I live south of Seattle now but was stationed on NAS Whidbey as well. Check out Galbraith in Bellingham. It’s worth it to stop by Fanatik Bike Shop in Bellingham, get a map (The money goes back to the trails), and talk to the guys in the store about what trails to hit. As for Seattle, Duthie and Tiger Mountain are great trail networks and are pretty close. Check out https://www.evergreenmtb.org/ for more info and other trails. Just click on the “Trails” link for a map of the state and trailheads with more info and directions. Most states have a local MTB non-profit as well and although Singletracks, Trailforks, and MTB Project are amazing, sometimes they can’t compare to local sites. Have fun!
August 21, 2017 at 9:20 pm #223144
Where’s John Fisch when you need him????
August 21, 2017 at 11:06 pm #223148
There are a few spots outside of Portland. Post Canyon is just off I-84 in Hood River. Additionally, there is plenty of riding off Highway 35 on Road 44 (See Chris Daniel’s series of articles on this site).
You could head out highway 26 and hit Sandy Ridge and the Timberline to Town trail before swinging up highway 35 to Hood River before continuing your journey east on I-84.
August 22, 2017 at 8:10 am #223173
I was out in the woods … on my bike!
Back now. You have TONS of options on that route. Here’s what’s most worth considering depending on timing and how much you may want to squeeze in on the way.
Taking the high road out and the low road back, here’s what I recommend looking into:
Starting beyond what you could really hit in a day trip from home, your first worthy stop is Glendo State Park, WY, a few miles east of I-25.
After that, there’s not much until Buffalo. Clear Creek makes a nice quick hit close to town. There’s lots of great riding in the Bighorns, but it is remore and takes a while to get to (see East Tensleep Lake on the same page linked above).
On to Montana, there’a nice ride on the edge of Billings at Zimmerman Park also known as the Rimrock Trail. Not much in miles, but lots of ledgy goodness with long views over town. It’s kinda’ like Billing’s version of Palmer Park, but on a slightly smaller scale.
The first absolute must ride is the Line Creek Plateau just outside Red Lodge, especially if you have a shuttle driver. There’s a few miles of rugged riding and advanced route finding (even the cairns are wrong sometimes) across a high alpine tundra plateau, finished by a 4K ft monster plunge back to town. Have a good GPS, or better yet, find a local to ride with. Red Lodge is a nice little mountain town, and your shuttle driver could easily entertain herself there while you make the run.
Heading west on 90, your next worthy stop is Bozeman, with many options. For a great 22 mile point to point shuttle (or 30 mile loop) you can’t beat the Bangtail Divide. There’s a total fo 4K ft of climbing over the route, but it is so worth it, with many miles on the ridgetop with unobstructed views of a dozen surrounding gorgeous mountain ranges. An easier ride south of town is the Leverich Trail, a loop with a stiff climb but a flowy new school descent built for bikes. Also worthy are South Cottonwood (ease of access), Emerald Lake (scenery) and Chestnut Mountain (a little bit of everything).
(Leverich and South Cottonwood are in the link above, Chestnut in the link below)
Heading west again on 90, you’ll pass by Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. There’s a nice tour of the caverns, but there’s also a nice little singletrack loop, and it’s right off the interstate. On to Butte, you can make an excellent figure 8 by combining the Toll Canyon and Beaver Ponds Trails. The Continental Divide Trail passes through here and the stretch south of town is particularly good, scenic cross country riding.
The next stop is Missoula where there’s a number of excellent routes in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. For a convenient quick hit easily accessible from town, hit the Woods Gulch loop. It’s great bang for your buck in terms of effort and time required off the road.
West from Missoula to Seattle is a void for me. I know there’s supposed to be some nice riding around Cour d’Alene in the Idaho panhandle and on Mt Spokane in Washington, but I can’t vouch for that firsthand.
When you head south from Seattle to Portland, one absolute must ride is the Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham ride on Mt. St. Helens. Absolutely killer singletrack with even more stunning scenery of America’s most famous volcano. You absolutely can’t beat this one.
On down to Portland, make sure you take the trip out to Mt. Hood and hit the Timberline to Town route. A mere $2 gets you a shuttle partway up Mt Hood and you get 16 miles of descending back into the town of Rhododendron.
Although I haven’t ridden it personally, Sandy Ridge also gets tons of love.
Leaving Portland, it’s decision time. If you take the Interstate due east, make sure to take the detour into McCall, Idaho. The place is filled with outstanding trails for every type of rider. There are excellent backcountry routes on the Twentymile Creek trail and the fantastic Loon Lake Loop. Jug Mountain Ranch has wicked fun freeride and enduro terrain. If you can hit it on a weekend, there’s a shuttle ($20) that’s well worth it, but even if you have to pedal up, the bang for your buck is very good. (trails are open and free to the public)
But you may wish to head south to Eugene before heading east. In doing so, you can hit either the Alpine Trail or the McKenzie River Trail, depending on which route you take out of Eugene. Both are superb shuttles (commercial shuttles available) with unbelievable scenery. Excellent and rightly highly rated trails both.
After that, you’ll wander into Boise where another excellent shuttle awaits. (Commercial shuttle available through joyride cycles on weekends or you’ll need your own ride). It’s possible to ride many different combinations of trails from near the top of the Bogus Basin ski area back into town. If you want to earn your turns, the trails in the Boise Foothills can be used for any combination of loops. Have a good map as there are many options and taking the wrong one can really extend your ride. If you do Boise, be sure to include the Mahalo Trail as part of the downhill run. It rocks.
Leaving Boise on the I, there’s not much for quite a while. Once in Ogden, UT, there’s some great climbing to be had on the Northern and Southern Skyline trails. After you leave Ogden, unless you make the detour to Park City, there’s not much again for a while. As you pass through Wyoming on I-80, it’s worth the stop in Green River to hit the Wilkins Peak trail system. Beyond that, and getting close back to home, I recommend hitting Rock Creek, in Arlington, Wy if you can. It requires 16 miles of pedaling up a forest road, or a shuttle (the road is well maintained). After that, it’s 12 miles of downhill through a beautiful but rugged and remote, exposed, and scree laden canyon. Run tubeless or bring plenty of spare tubes.
These are just the high points. There are many more options along the way. No doubt you’ll dig whatever you sink your knobbies into!
September 4, 2017 at 6:24 pm #224532
Need to get your info, would like to send you a gift cert to a restaurant in town. Heading out this Thursday, will let you know how it goes. Won’t have time to dent all the great trails, but it will be great riding outside of Colorado.
August 22, 2017 at 7:18 am #223169
I am looking for trails for the drive out more than in Portland and Seattle. Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho- some excuse to stop along the way and break up the drive, also ride something I may not normally get to ride.
August 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm #223278
Wow! Thanks John!!
- Returning to this awesome ass hobby but overwhelmed with options
- 6 months ago
- Tennessee trails that are close and open
- 7 months, 3 weeks ago
- Trip from Colorado Springs to Seattle
- 1 year, 4 months ago
- Mountain bike training – Oregon
- 1 year, 7 months ago
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