Darrington North Mtn- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Darrington North Mtn

    I hear its open, but heard a rumor the shuttle road might be compromised ?

    Anybody been out there ?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preston67 View Post
    I hear its open, but heard a rumor the shuttle road might be compromised ?

    Anybody been out there ?
    I was out there last Saturday. The road was fine and the dirt was amazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrain View Post
    I was out there last Saturday. The road was fine and the dirt was amazing.
    Is there any sort of commercial shuttle setup in Darrington?

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    there is no commercial shuttle at north mountain. but I just rode there this last weekend and from the parking area and to climb to the firetower it is 5.5 miles and 2400 ft so not all that bad. the best option might be to rent an ebike and use that to "shuttle" since these trails are ebike legal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2zmtnz View Post
    there is no commercial shuttle at north mountain. but I just rode there this last weekend and from the parking area and to climb to the firetower it is 5.5 miles and 2400 ft so not all that bad. the best option might be to rent an ebike and use that to "shuttle" since these trails are ebike legal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by uberstein View Post
    Is there any sort of commercial shuttle setup in Darrington?
    I think a shuttle service and e-bike rentals would be a great business for Darrington.
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    Was planning to head up there in a couple weeks. Am I correct that the whole area is shuttleable, i.e. open roads and no gates? We'd bring our own shuttle rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    Was planning to head up there in a couple weeks. Am I correct that the whole area is shuttleable, i.e. open roads and no gates? We'd bring our own shuttle rig.
    Yes.
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    Can any one share which is the best way to shuttle up? It looks like there is 2 different paths...

    Planning on heading out tomorrow with a group,, any other info to share would be great! Is skyline the best way down?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Were you riding a Gnarvana by chance?
    that was me on Sunday.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesPM View Post
    Can any one share which is the best way to shuttle up? It looks like there is 2 different paths...

    Planning on heading out tomorrow with a group,, any other info to share would be great! Is skyline the best way down?

    take a look at trailforks for the shuttle road (North Mountain Road) the other roads are blocked with gates so mostly used for people that will ride up instead of shuttling. also if you see people climbing the road please slow down so you reduce the dust you create they will be breathing in while you pass them.

    as for the best way down it depends on what you are looking for and what your groups skill level is at.

    Skyline is a relatively flowy blue trail, Jackpot is a fun techy black diamond trail but has some difficult sections, there is also out of the blue another very fun black diamond (but it takes you farther down the road than the usual parking area). If you are looking for more after those blacks then you also have showcase showdown that is a steep and quite challenging double black.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2zmtnz View Post
    that was me on Sunday.




    take a look at trailforks for the shuttle road (North Mountain Road) the other roads are blocked with gates so mostly used for people that will ride up instead of shuttling. also if you see people climbing the road please slow down so you reduce the dust you create they will be breathing in while you pass them.

    as for the best way down it depends on what you are looking for and what your groups skill level is at.

    Skyline is a relatively flowy blue trail, Jackpot is a fun techy black diamond trail but has some difficult sections, there is also out of the blue another very fun black diamond (but it takes you farther down the road than the usual parking area). If you are looking for more after those blacks then you also have showcase showdown that is a steep and quite challenging double black.
    Thinking about pedaling up tomorrow morning. Is there a preferred route up? I'd like to avoid North Mountain Rd if possible. Looking at TF, is Beverly Rd the way to go? I'd like to get all the way up to the top, and descend Out of the Blue. TIA!

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    Quote Originally Posted by detekt View Post
    Thinking about pedaling up tomorrow morning. Is there a preferred route up? I'd like to avoid North Mountain Rd if possible. Looking at TF, is Beverly Rd the way to go? I'd like to get all the way up to the top, and descend Out of the Blue. TIA!
    so to get all the way to the top of out of the blue (to the fire tower) you would have to take North Mountain road for about 2 miles then you would turn onto "road climb" (1 miles long) then on to pathfinder (under half a mile) and then take another right onto the second "road climb" (just under a mile) and then you are back on North Mountain Road for another almost 2 miles. All told about 7 miles and 2600 ft of climbing.

  13. #13
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    Just keep going up the main road past the parking area. It switch backs maybe once or twice. Kind of a long drive to be honest for a shuttle.


    Quote Originally Posted by JamesPM View Post
    Can any one share which is the best way to shuttle up? It looks like there is 2 different paths...

    Planning on heading out tomorrow with a group,, any other info to share would be great! Is skyline the best way down?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2zmtnz View Post
    that was me on Sunday.
    It was great to meet you. Your Megatrail posts inspired me to change my bike from a Shred Dogg to a MT.

    I took my son and his friend up to ride Skyline since his friend isn't very experienced. He's the kid that you saw that crashed and is doing fine. It was our first time up there and we had a total blast. I can't wait to return with my son to ride Out of the Blue. Skyline is a pretty exciting blue trail with some fun options.
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    We rode there this weekend and everything is running great. Road a bit more pot holed than last year but wattayagonnado. These are some really great, really fun trails.

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    It's a pretty amazing place to ride. Evergreen did an awesome job, as always.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    I rode out there two weeks ago for the first time and it is absolutely an amazing trail system. Super fun, technical at the top and really fast & flowy at the bottom. Went OTB less than 300 ft into Hoot Owl (new bike + new trail = new bruises), but otherwise had an absolute blast. We pedaled all the way up from the lower lot, then rode Hoot Owl-Skyline down, pedaled up to the mid-point of Skyline and rode down the fast flowy section again. Worth a trip if you've never been for sure. Can't wait to make it back up there.

  18. #18
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    I've been really wanting to get out there sometime.

    Quick question though.

    What would you say those two trails are most like, out of other trails in the greater seattle area? Raging rivers upper flow state? Joyride at Tiger? Pumptrack at Galbraith? Anything at Duthie?

    I've watched a couple of videos of it, but they never seem to tell the whole story, so I figured I'd ask.

    I'm a Blue-ish rider, starting to dabble in black trails (just rode Off the Grid at Tiger for the first time two weeks ago). I grew up riding dirt bikes offroad (trail, not MX). So I'm pretty comfortable in the natural/rough/steeper stuff, but my current kryptonite is larger sculpted jumps (mostly gaps.

    Most of my riding buddies are... slightly less so. One is a solid blue rider, and another two are green/blueish. I see Skyline is marked blue, and Hoot owl is a "spicey" blue. I'm just wanting to make sure if I drag some buddies out there, that I don't kill them in half.

    Early on when I started riding (Oct '18) I think I scared one of my buddies spitless on his first ride (went up to upper poppin tops at Raging), so I'm hoping to avoid a similar situation in the future :P.

    And how is the climb if you don't shuttle to the top of Skyline?

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    The climb is really pretty easy. Moderate grades the whole way and while its fairly long (+/- 6 mi) it wasn't steep at all.

    I'd say if you can ride Joyride you'd be fine on Skyline/Hoot Owl. The upper section was fairly wet (rained a little the day before) with lots of exposed roots and technical sections but nothing crazy. Once you hit the mid-point of Skyline and cross the road the dirt changes from soft loose-organic to firm gravelly-loam and the trail gets very flowy and far less technical. There weren't any required gap jumps or any really big hits that I recall so you should be ok.

    We pedaled up the main road to the north on the initial climb, and then the shorter (and slightly steeper) climb road to the south of the Skyline when we did the second run down the flowy section of Skyline. In all I think we had about 15 or 16 miles of riding that day and about 3k in climbing.

    For reference, I'm a huge fan of OTG and Preston RR at Tiger. Duthie is fun but I'm not much of a jumper so I really just stick to Ryans, Step It Up, Bravehart and Movin. I try to ride the Grand Ridge trail a couple times a week but only ride Duthie occasionally. Haven't been to Raging or Ollalie yet so I can't compare those.

    Overall, I thought Darrington was a great combination of technical and flowy and just super fun. Its a bit of a drive for me, but I definitely plan to head back. Plus the scenery is absolutely beautiful up there.

  20. #20
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    I agree, the views are awesome. I'd put Skyline in an upper blue to almost black category compared to other areas. It gets steeper than the videos indicate. Whenever things get steep though, it seems like there's a perfect runout or catch berm to keep you on track. It's a remarkably fun trail, but does require some skill. I think it's best done with a slacker bike and your Kona should work great.

    There are a couple of black diamond off-shoots along the way that are very cool.
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    Looks like multi-quoting is busted.... lets see if I can hack it together though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I agree, the views are awesome. I'd put Skyline in an upper blue to almost black category compared to other areas. It gets steeper than the videos indicate. Whenever things get steep though, it seems like there's a perfect runout or catch berm to keep you on track. It's a remarkably fun trail, but does require some skill. I think it's best done with a slacker bike and your Kona should work great.

    There are a couple of black diamond off-shoots along the way that are very cool.
    Based on what I'd seen and heard so far, thats what I was "worried" about. It looked on the few videos (Most of which are pretty poor quality so far, as its a newer trail) like it was rougher/steeper than most of the stuff my group has riddden, which was why I was asking to double check.

    This is one thing I've learned as I've started watching a lot of of gopro recorded youtube videos. Videos never convey the features/surface of the trail, or the steepness. I got a Gopro last year, and record my rides (not on youtube, just to show wife/kids where I was and what "daddy was doing"), and ... things just never look as impressive as they do in real life.

    I have one buddy on a nearly identical Process, one on a Meta AM, and the other... on an XC hardtail from 2014. Surprisingly though, the guy on the hardtail, even though he's the newest rider, he did OTG with me that day (walked a fair bit of it).

    Quote Originally Posted by amc_ View Post
    The climb is really pretty easy. Moderate grades the whole way and while its fairly long (+/- 6 mi) it wasn't steep at all.

    I'd say if you can ride Joyride you'd be fine on Skyline/Hoot Owl. The upper section was fairly wet (rained a little the day before) with lots of exposed roots and technical sections but nothing crazy. Once you hit the mid-point of Skyline and cross the road the dirt changes from soft loose-organic to firm gravelly-loam and the trail gets very flowy and far less technical. There weren't any required gap jumps or any really big hits that I recall so you should be ok.

    We pedaled up the main road to the north on the initial climb, and then the shorter (and slightly steeper) climb road to the south of the Skyline when we did the second run down the flowy section of Skyline. In all I think we had about 15 or 16 miles of riding that day and about 3k in climbing.

    For reference, I'm a huge fan of OTG and Preston RR at Tiger. Duthie is fun but I'm not much of a jumper so I really just stick to Ryans, Step It Up, Bravehart and Movin. I try to ride the Grand Ridge trail a couple times a week but only ride Duthie occasionally. Haven't been to Raging or Ollalie yet so I can't compare those.

    Overall, I thought Darrington was a great combination of technical and flowy and just super fun. Its a bit of a drive for me, but I definitely plan to head back. Plus the scenery is absolutely beautiful up there.
    Honestly, Joyride wasn't my favorite trail at Tiger (we only rode the second half of OTG, Fully Rigid, Joyride, and then Northwest Timber Trail back to the lot). But it was emminently rideable.

    OTG was techy-er than I was expecting after the videos, but I more or less rode it fine (even if not flowing with the trail very well). Fully Rigid I dabbed once, and then walked the "V" tree, as it was sopping wet, and I was riding blind.

    I've never done Grand ridge, but its on the list to do sometime.

    So it sounds like the top half is techy, and the bottom half is the flowy bit? And you can climb halfway up and do the flowy bit alone?

    I might start with that the first trip out doing just the flowy bit, to break everyone in easy. Then if they're feeling ok, go up higher on the next lap.

    Thanks for the feedback guys .

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    We had a kid with us who's relatively new to MTB and he walked the steeper sections. So, that's a solution. Yeah, the GoPro effect is very real. The steep parts aren't really hard at all, but you have to have some confidence to ride them properly. I wouldn't take a XC bike on that trail.
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    I agree with Curveball. I was a little out of my comfort zone at times but there weren't any sections I had to walk or otherwise avoid. Walking is totally an option on most/all of the steep sections though. I actually can't wait to get back up there now that I'm more comfortable with my Smash and have the suspension a bit more dialed.

    As far as Grand Ridge goes - it is super easy and really just a fun training/workout ride that I can get to and from quickly. Nothing overly challenging other than a lot of climbing but none of it is technical at all. Not really worth a special trip unless you live in the area and want a quick out-and-back fun run. The friend I rode at Darrington with doesn't really like riding Grand Ridge because he thinks its too much climbing for how short the downs are.

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    Rode Darrington for the first time last week. My observation is that compared to Tiger or Raging, the Blues are tougher at Darrington and the Blacks are as well. Out of the Blue is an amazing trail but has some very challenging sections that you might find on Predator, EBAD, NOTG, No service, just slightly steeper and raw. To put things in perspective, Inside Passage on Tiger is a blue, at Darrington itd be a green run lol. Skyline the top section and Hoot Owl, as a blue, in terms of difficulty is right on par with OTG at Tiger. We had a great time there and Evergreen leveled up for sure in making these trails!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cisco.Roots View Post
    Rode Darrington for the first time last week. My observation is that compared to Tiger or Raging, the Blues are tougher at Darrington and the Blacks are as well. Out of the Blue is an amazing trail but has some very challenging sections that you might find on Predator, EBAD, NOTG, No service, just slightly steeper and raw. To put things in perspective, Inside Passage on Tiger is a blue, at Darrington itd be a green run lol. Skyline the top section and Hoot Owl, as a blue, in terms of difficulty is right on par with OTG at Tiger. We had a great time there and Evergreen leveled up for sure in making these trails!


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    Thanks for the info, the comparison is really useful.

    I haven't ridden Predator, EBAD, NOTG or No Service yet. As I said, I'm just starting to dabble into the black trails, especially as I'm kind of the "pointy end" of our riding group.

    But if its anything vaugely like OTG, I know about what I'm getting into if I head up there.

    It sounds like it would stretch, but not break most of the group. Which is good news .

    Other than it sounds like the XC bike guy might want to rent/buy a bike before then (easier said than done these days though :/).

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    Quote Originally Posted by amc_ View Post
    I actually can't wait to get back up there now that I'm more comfortable with my Smash and have the suspension a bit more dialed.
    Oh man, a Smash would work great up there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Thanks for the info, the comparison is really useful.

    I haven't ridden Predator, EBAD, NOTG or No Service yet. As I said, I'm just starting to dabble into the black trails, especially as I'm kind of the "pointy end" of our riding group.

    But if its anything vaugely like OTG, I know about what I'm getting into if I head up there.

    It sounds like it would stretch, but not break most of the group. Which is good news .

    Other than it sounds like the XC bike guy might want to rent/buy a bike before then (easier said than done these days though :/).
    I suppose you could do it on a XC bike if you're an extremely talented rider. Otherwise, it would be pretty nerve wracking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Oh man, a Smash would work great up there.
    I couldn't imagine a better bike up there to be honest (not that I've ridden a ton of the other options out there lately). I'm excited to try it in plush mode next time.

    @ocnLogan: I'd say give it a go with your group. My money would be on ear-to-ear smiles for everyone at the end of the day. Plus taking in the view from the parking lot with a cold one in-hand at the end of the ride is about as zen as you can get.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by amc_ View Post
    I couldn't imagine a better bike up there to be honest (not that I've ridden a ton of the other options out there lately). I'm excited to try it in plush mode next time.
    I've heard plush is great and most people run it that way. I used gravity mode on my Megatrail and it was glorious.
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    I got up there last weekend, our group rode everything. What an amazing and fun place, awesome views and awesomer trails. We shuttled, which Id recommend if you have a good vehicle. The road has lots of potholes lower down but anything in the Subaru/RAV4 category could handle it. Laps are long, so if you can get a group of 4-5 together just taking turns driving up/down works well, retrieving a vehicle after each lap would be a hassle.

    Trails: Definitely harder than Tiger or Raging for how theyre rated. Skyline is about OTG-level Id say, though with slightly different character.

    Out of the Blue is an amazing trail, similar to EBD at Tiger but its 2500 long (!). Tons of off-camber roots, steep switchbacks; definitely keeps you on your toes and will be best experienced for the first time in dry conditions. Plan to take your time with plenty of breaks to recover on the way down, riding it top to bottom is a lot.

    Showcase Showdown, the double black, is quite a thing. Lots of very steep rock faces and mandatory drops. Make sure youre comfortable on features like the Peoples Elbow at RR or Dr. Rockso at Tiger before trying it. That said it was probably our favorite trail on the mountain, and we were able to ride everything on it albeit after scouting a couple of the gnarlier lines. (Well, only one of our group did the big gap over the log pit; that is a significant feature, not least because the roll-in is a big technical rock face. Our guinea pig shorted it slightly and pinch-flatted in the process, and hes a very good rider.) The really tough parts have go-around options, but Id still call it harder than Predator or Invictus just for how many hard features there are and how continuously steep parts of it are. Sounds like youre not there yet but something to aspire to.

    All in all Darrington is just quite an amazing place. Easily the hardest, but also most fun, legal trails in WA, and in a gorgeous setting with fantastic views. Already looking forward to going back.

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