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  1. #1
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    Give me your top 5 trails within 2 hours of Seattle

    I moved to Seattle last fall, and I've gotten pretty familiar with Duthie and Tiger, as well as Capitol Forest. All are great, but with the weather about to improve I'm looking further afield. Looking for great, scenic multi-hour trail rides; I love technical terrain, enjoy both the up and the down. What's your favorite destination?

  2. #2
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    The 410 area is very popular and one of my favorites. Crystal, Suntop, Ranger, Deep Creek, Palisades, Skookum, White River and a few others all within a few miles of each other. Long climbs and and long descents all over the valley!
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  3. #3
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    The quick answer is that my top trails may not be yours.... Unless you like the sub-par flat to off camber stuff with a lot of unnecessary ups and downs and no "flow" whatsoever...

    We get this question all the time and not always the drive time allotment. IF you were only here for a week and wanted to ride 5 places that would show off WA in it's many facets? (+/- a little on the 2 hour thing...)

    Mount Constitution: Orcas Island. Just because of the views and the sweet single track. And, the westernmost lodgepole pine forest in the US.
    Staying on that side: Dungeness river/Gold Creek outside Sequim. (Pronounced, "Skwim")
    410 as noted: all good but Palisades has a special place here.
    Plains of Abraham: Helens. Yeah, more than two but a 10 on nice sunny days or clear full moon nights...
    Devils Gulch/Mission Ridge: Played out? Yes. Burnt up a little? Yes. Still a tried and true favorite

    Special mention to:
    Esmeralda/DeRoux
    Chikamin Tie
    Sage Hills
    Miller Peak OAB via Iron Bear.
    N Fk Taneum 1377: when it's moto'd out, its good.
    S Fk Manastash

  4. #4
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    Fishhook Flats over in Taenum (Taneum?) in ESE Cle Elum used to be fun, last time I rode it was about 10 years ago. We'd do a 45 min gravel road mostly-up from the campground, and around 2 hours of singletrack back down, it took me a lot longer when I was in bad shape and pudgier. There used to be 5 creek crossings, but they've been bridged for a long time now. Just writing about it I'm starting to miss those trails. Some moto trails near I-90 got closed around 2000 (?), which pushed the beginner (smaller tires slower speed) motorcycles up into that area, and the whoops and other bumps got shorter and shaper than they had been, although I imagine it's still well worth riding there.
    It's good to head East when you want a little dryer weather.
    Wenatchee is not a long drive, it takes me about 3 to 3.5 hours from Tacoma. I have read that there's some great riding just on the edge of town. Wenatchee is my family's favorite nearby vacation spot; my wife and kids want two things from a vacation: Hot & a pool. I like nearby and cheap. Wenatchee is just on the edge of the hot weather of Central WA, and the restaurants have been pleasantly surprising. I'm bringing the beater mtb next time, and I'm going to check out some of the local rides while the kids and wife are at the pool in the morning.

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  6. #6
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    - Mt Constitution. Amazing views and scenery, and some just plain awesome singletrack. Wish it was open to bikes year round though, and the ferry ride is expensive.

    - Galbraith. Just about any kind of trail you could want in one place, and miles and miles of them too. Great maps make it easy to find your way around too. I dare you to go down Unemployment Line without a big grin on your face.

    - Rat Pac. One of those trails that just feels like a roller coaster the whole way down, and it's a long way down. Can be dry and loose in the summer, and don't even try to hit any of the shoddily built woodwork out there. Most is falling apart anyway.

    - Tokul East. Steep and technical in places, it's a lot different terrain and trail building than the other trails systems around here. Parking can be an issue, so go during the week or get their early. Midtown is really fun.

    - I know you already go there, but the new summit trail at Tiger is definitely in my top 5 as well, so much fun.
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  7. #7
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    Awesome responses, many thanks to all! Let me also say: if anyone is looking for a partner for a weekend day-trip to any of these gems, please don't hesitate to PM me. Trail beta/maps are great, but a guide who knows the area would be even better.

  8. #8
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    We wil lbe doing the Skookum/Ranger/Palisades loop in a few weeks so I'll let you know!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Lynch View Post
    We wil lbe doing the Skookum/Ranger/Palisades loop in a few weeks so I'll let you know!
    That'd be awesome! I did Suntop/Skookum last fall and it was one of my all-time best days on a bike. I very much want to explore the area more; please do give me a shout if you're headed that way.

  10. #10
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    From the description of the kind of trail you are looking for, Middle Fork Snoqualmie should be on your list.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, good one; I was just noticing the opening coming up this weekend. I'm signed up for the Bikes n Brews in Leavenworth, but if I can't make that for some reason I'll try to make the opening work party. Thanks!

  12. #12
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    Although not as epic as many of these suggestions, Henry's ridge and the Lake Sawyer area is worth trying out-with Henry's being the better half of the equation.

  13. #13
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    Give me your top 5 trails within 2 hours of Seattle

    I love Capitol forest just south of Olympia. Greenline is one of my favorite trails in Washington, but most of the trails there are a blast. But I do prefer the non-motorized trails cause they tend to hold up better in the summer.


    Also, while it is significantly further away than 2 hours from Seattle, I highly recommend post canyon in Hood river Oregon. It is my favorite place I have ever ridden. I would rather spend a week there riding over other famous riding spots I've been to such as Moab and Downieville.
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  14. #14
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    +1 for Cap Forest.

  15. #15
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    If you really want to stay urban a couple places to not look past are Dash Point down in Federal Way (a few miles of novice trails and some good beach access) and Colonnade park downtown under I-5. Not really trails but an awesome little park that still blows my mind even exists. Welcome to WA!

  16. #16
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    So about that... I've been to the Colonnade a few times, and I'm amazed at 1) How cool it is to have that thing right in the middle of downtown, and 2) How few other riders I see there. Considering how slammed Duthie is on the weekends, and that I imagine many of those folks come over from Seattle, I'm surprised more people aren't using the Colonnade for post-work or bad weather riding.

    Is anyone maintaining the Colonnade, or building new features? Do people not know about it, or has use fallen off since Duthie opened? I'd definitely be happy to pitch in, as I work just a few blocks from there and it's a great post-work spot for me.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Devils Gulch/Mission Ridge: Played out? Yes. Burnt up a little? Yes. Still a tried and true favorite
    Great list, but I have to disagree with DG/MR. Used to be my favorites, but since riding Tres Hombres/Xanadu and other trails within the same area, I'd drop DG/MR off the list, due to moto ruts.

  18. #18
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    Is Tapeworm/Towers of Power in Renton on here? Been a few times but still exploring.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    Great list, but I have to disagree with DG/MR. Used to be my favorites, but since riding Tres Hombres/Xanadu and other trails within the same area, I'd drop DG/MR off the list, due to moto ruts.
    Totally different style of trail obviously.

    Also there's a lot of other trails and different ways to ride the table mountain area....
    I am really missing DG/MR, you can get nice long descents on those trails.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by coling View Post
    Is Tapeworm/Towers of Power in Renton on here? Been a few times but still exploring.
    You only have 6 miles or so of trails, so it doesnt really compare to some of the bigger areas. It is a great after work riding location close to the city if your on the south end.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    Totally different style of trail obviously.

    Also there's a lot of other trails and different ways to ride the table mountain area....
    I am really missing DG/MR, you can get nice long descents on those trails.
    Have to agree about Table Mtn. Interested in finding out how bad the trails near the top faired after the fires...Naneum Mdw, First Cr, Tronson, etc. Nice trails and I've never seen anyone mention them (except Tronson). Even discovered some steep DH trails on the far SW corner of Table Mtn above Ellensburg.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    Is anyone maintaining the Colonnade, or building new features? Do people not know about it, or has use fallen off since Duthie opened? I'd definitely be happy to pitch in, as I work just a few blocks from there and it's a great post-work spot for me.
    Hey DrewBird, yep, Evergreen volunteers and Seattle Parks are maintaining the 'Nade, but not building new features. Shoot me an email -- mwestra at evergreenmtb dot org. Evergreen's crew leader Graham may be leading some work parties there so I'll give you a little more detail and hook you guys up. Would be awesome to have more help/stewardship there.

  23. #23
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    1. Ranger Creek
    2. Mid Town
    3. Chikamin Tie
    4. Devil's Gulch
    5. Kachess Ridge
    6. Rat Pac
    7. Flowtron
    8. Hansen Creek/Olalie
    9. Grand Ridge
    10. Ryan's Line Duthie
    11. Beaver Pond - Tokul West
    12. Outback - Tokul West
    13. Tiger Summit/Preston


    Soft of in order. I'd probably move Ryan's and Tiger Summit up. I haven't ridden much at Cap Forest, never St. Helens, and rarely on the Peninsula or Galbraith.

  24. #24
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    Interesting mix. With what's on that list, you should ride Galby more often. It just gets better and better each year. Plains of Abe/Smith Creek should be on every Washingtonian's bucket list. It's that good. Dungeness/Gold Creek is very good as well and paired nicely with the Adventure Trail or Mt Muller for a good weekend. Either now, while the wild rhodies are in bloom or later in the summer when it's too hot elsewhere and the plethora of berries are mature along Muller's ridge. Forgot about Hansen, while not complete yet, (hope we get more work on it this summer) it definitely has a different flavor for near to Seattle. Really surprised about Ryan's though. Doesn't fit the OP's request at all.... Fun? Yeah, but.... Same could be said for the Tapeworm or Colonnade comment. And, yeah, everyone by now knows I don't like the pedal to payoff for Silver Creek/Kachess. Yeah, nice for a quick out there experience, but "Top 5"????

  25. #25
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    I should have put Kachess with Heli-drop...or at least a shuttle. I think the trail itself is unique for being so close to urban. Alpine, big views, sub-alpine meadows, fast XC, steep tech DH. But yes, #5 is aggressive.

    Didn't see the multi-hour part in the OP (sorry). So this is more of an individual trail quality ranking (IMO of course). Like if I could be placed (heli-drop)at a trailhead, what would be the best. Ryan's is one of the best designed trails mortals can ride - most fun/challenge for the buck...always pays off. I love FT3K but Ryan's is more ride-able for the masses. Newbies freak out on the steeps of FT.

    Rode ALL of Tokul West yesterday and was thinking during the ride that Beaver Pond (DH) is now in my top 5 locally. It's super tacky right now.

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