Few would dispute the assertion that in terms of mountain biking, Washington is among the best destinations anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. Because of the diverse nature of the landscape, which spans everything from the rugged zones near Mount St. Helens to the Olympia-area rain forests, there is something to suit every riding enthusiast. If you are ready to put on your 100Percent goggles and hit the trails, the following locations should provide all the adventure you could ever want.
Pierce County is home to the scenic Highway 410 trails, suitable for riders spanning intermediate and advanced experience levels. This backcountry terrain offers stunning vistas that include wildflowers, rivers, and even Mount Rainier. Riders can expect gains of between 700 and 2,800 feet.
On the south portion of Mount St. Helens, riders will find the Plains of Abraham/Ape Canyon routes. Offering stunning old-growth forest, the barren plans, and the Windy Ridge lookout, this is a truly picturesque place to complete a 22-mile round trip excursion with a 3,000-foot gain.
Those who live in the vicinity of Seattle will not be disappointed with a ride along the East Tiger Mountain trails. The six trails offer a wide array of conditions and terrain and should be attempted by riders of intermediate to advanced skill levels. Depending on conditions, these trails are open to riders between mid-April and mid-October each year.
Near the north part of Lake Chelan, riders will find the advanced loop known as Conney Lake/Angeles Staircase/Horsehead Pass loop. This is an area of beautiful scenery and includes the highest single-track open trail, set at an elevation of roughly 8,100 feet. Though this ride is physically quite intense, it is worthwhile for riders who are both fit and highly skilled.
Duthie Hill Park in Issaquah is an 8-mile ride suitable for everyone from beginning mountain cyclists all the way to expert ones. This represents the most highly-trafficked bike trail system in all of Washington, and there is something to meet the needs of just about any rider.
Within the Colville National Forest in Eastern Washington, riders can avail themselves of the Kettle Crest Trails. These feature a 3,000-5,000-foot gain perfect for riders of an intermediate to advanced level. There are stunning subalpine forested areas along the way, which have made this area boom in popularity.
Less-experienced riders may find Sage Hills in Wenatchee to be an ideal spot. With a mild 1,000-foot gain, these trails are marked by lovely wildflowers and vistas that encompass the Wenatchee Valley. The ride can be expanded by 20 miles by traversing a combination of double- and single-track trails.
Bellingham’s Galbraith Mountain trail network is another terrific option for riders ranging from beginners to experts, and it features a 1,800-foot gain. The forest is privately-owned and consists of a number of well-constructed trails.
For staggering views of the Stuart Range, take a closer look at the Stafford Creek trail. Winding along the Creek to Navajo Pass, this scenic alpine trail is a must for any mountain biking aficionado. Best for intermediate to advanced riders, this ride boasts a 3,288-foot gain. Even better, it is possible for riders to link up to other trails such as Bean, Eldorado, and Beverly.
Last, but most certainly not least, the Mount Constitution trails at Moran State Park at Orcas Island feature 30 miles of offerings that should not be missed. The best-loved of these trails are available to mountain bikers between mid-September and mid-May, and certain lower-elevation areas remain open the entire year. With a 2,400-foot gain, these trails are suitable for riders ranging from beginner to intermediate status.
The scenic riding that happens here during the winter is truly extraordinary, gifting riders with views stretching from Puget Sound all the way to Mount Baker. Kids and beginning riders can hone their skills on the Mountain Lake Trail, making this a great spot for family fun.
Clearly, Washington is blessed with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to mountain biking opportunities, and it is no surprise that its trails are among the most coveted destinations for anyone who is committed to this increasingly popular pastime. Do yourself a favor and explore some of these routes the next time you feel ready to ride.