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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All,

Flying out to Seattle this Sept with my Wife and bikes from UK and we are going to end up in Denver at end of the trip

We Both like XC/Enduro riding rather than full on Gnar with mandatory gap jumps etc

On the WA segment of trip I was thinking of doing the following

Day 1) Drive to Olympia - buy a forest pass at the rei , unpack bikes etc

Day 2) Ride Trails in Capitol Forest - I was thinking of doing the
Wedekind - Crestline - Greenline #6 Loop off mtbproject (Is there a better loop to do ? - we will be there on a sunday if thats a factor i.e. avoiding moto trails)

Day 3) Drive over to Crystal Mountain and do the Little Bald Mountain Loop (Asides from making sure gear is covered up in back of SUV are we likely to get broken into leaving our car while we ride ,as we wont have checked into a hotel at this point)

Day 4) Ride suntop road to sun top trail and then back along Skookum flats

Day 5) Drive over to ape canyon and do ape canyon to plains of abraham and then depending on time drop down smith creek to car, then drive to Hood River

Day 6 ) Ride Surveyors Ridge - IMBA Epic (Rode this around 6 year ago)

Day 7 ) Head on over to Bend

The only trails from above i've ridden before is the Surveyors Ridge trail and out and back to windy ridge from ape canyon, everything else i'm going on info from web and guide books

I know there been some big fires etc in WA , so my question are the above trails still in good shape to ride ?, or should i be planning to ride else where ?

Also anyone got a recommendation on where to stay around suntop and crystal mtn

Thanks
 

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Just rode the Ape/Plains/Smith loop & it's good to go. Wildflowers are maybe the best I've ever seen anywhere. Smith Creek could use a trim but not to bad.

I've never done that loop on Crystal but everything in that zone is riding to my knowledge. I know you can rent cabins all through there, maybe somewhere in Greenwater.

All the stuff on the 44's (Surveyors) is open.

I've never had any car trouble in those spots but I'd say the most likely area may be Capital Forest. I think parking in lots off main corridors is safer than pulling off along main corridors.

If you're after beautiful xc type rides in that area look into Osborne Mtn and the Goat Creek/Tumwater loop. The Goat/Tumwater loop is out of this world good imo. A big day for most but so worth it.
 

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I can speak to these few...

=================================
Day 2) Ride Trails in Capitol Forest - I was thinking of doing the
Wedekind - Crestline - Greenline #6 Loop off mtbproject (Is there a better loop to do ? - we will be there on a sunday if thats a factor i.e. avoiding moto trails)

This is a nice loop and is all on the non-moto side of CF.

=======================
Day 3) Drive over to Crystal Mountain and do the Little Bald Mountain Loop (Asides from making sure gear is covered up in back of SUV are we likely to get broken into leaving our car while we ride ,as we wont have checked into a hotel at this point)

Crystal Mt and Little Bald Mt are 2 distinct rides. Crystal Mt has a big parking lot(pretty safe) and at LBM you could park in the Boulder Cave Campground.

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Day 4) Ride suntop road to sun top trail and then back along Skookum flats

Good Choice -- I'd also recommend Corral Pass Rd-Noble Knob-Palisades - it's a pretty unique ride which now includes areas in the 2017 burn zone -- you get an up close and personal look at the forest regeneration taking place.

=====================
Also anyone got a recommendation on where to stay around suntop and crystal mtn

If you are ok with camping there is plenty along rt. 410 near Buck Creek(and the airstrip). If it's a hotel you want - Alta Crystal is a small motel/chalet place a few miles up the road from Buck creek. A little pricey but you can ride right from your room. Not sure what is available at Crystal Mt. in September(usually their down time).
 

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Little Bald mt is a moto trail that's pretty dusty this time of the year. I would suggest riding Crystal mt instead (clockwise). There is some walking on the way up but the scenery is spectacular with great views of Rainier from the top and the descent down Northway is very fun. Start your ride from the bottom of Northway and go up Gold Hill road:
https://www.trailforks.com/trails/northway/
 

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Hey All,

Flying out to Seattle this Sept with my Wife and bikes from UK and we are going to end up in Denver at end of the trip

We Both like XC/Enduro riding rather than full on Gnar with mandatory gap jumps etc

On the WA segment of trip I was thinking of doing the following

Day 1) Drive to Olympia - buy a forest pass at the rei , unpack bikes etc

Day 2) Ride Trails in Capitol Forest - I was thinking of doing the
Wedekind - Crestline - Greenline #6 Loop off mtbproject (Is there a better loop to do ? - we will be there on a sunday if thats a factor i.e. avoiding moto trails)
The loop you describe is all nonmotorized and is a good one. Even better, but bigger, is to continue past Wedekind toward Porter, and return via the road to Wedekend, then continue the loop. Perhaps skip Crestline if you do that, as it's a bit of a grind anyway.

Day 3) Drive over to Crystal Mountain and do the Little Bald Mountain Loop (Asides from making sure gear is covered up in back of SUV are we likely to get broken into leaving our car while we ride ,as we wont have checked into a hotel at this point)
I heard recently that the Crystal trails were pretty horsed up. I'd check on conditions for that one. I usually do it as an out and back on Northway. Haven't done LBM in a few years. It has good Rainier views but otherwise isn't an exceptional ride IMO. The road climb up is very mellow, nice views at the top, but then a relatively tame moto trail descent that has been dusty when I've been there.

Day 4) Ride suntop road to sun top trail and then back along Skookum flats
I agree with other comments, I'd do the North side of 410, Ranger or Palisades over Suntop. The Ranger climb to the cabin (RIP) and down Palisades is a good loop, with options for White River or Skookum to be adeed.

Day 5) Drive over to ape canyon and do ape canyon to plains of abraham and then depending on time drop down smith creek to car, then drive to Hood River
Day 6 ) Ride Surveyors Ridge - IMBA Epic (Rode this around 6 year ago)
I'd go for Post Canyon over Surveyors IMO. I thought Surveyors was one of the most overrated trails I've been on. Nice Mt Hood views though.

Day 7 ) Head on over to Bend

The only trails from above i've ridden before is the Surveyors Ridge trail and out and back to windy ridge from ape canyon, everything else i'm going on info from web and guide books

I know there been some big fires etc in WA , so my question are the above trails still in good shape to ride ?, or should i be planning to ride else where ?

Also anyone got a recommendation on where to stay around suntop and crystal mtn

Thanks
I would consider doing less in the highway 410 area and adding a stop at Osborne or Goat Creek instead. Goat Creek is the easier one to do with one car. Then to St Helens. The Smith Creek loop is interesting and scenic, but the fan factor is higher to do an out and back on Ape Canyon and the Plains of Abraham. Depending on the weather, Bend may be pretty dusty. Unless your set on it, consider more toward the Oakridge area. Waldo Lake should be prime by then and is as XC as it gets, and there's a lot of amazing XC in the Oakridge area that is very uniquely PNW.
 

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^Some good recommendations and would second Oakridge. Also most anything that side of Hood will be the proverbial moon dust that time of year. If your staying in Hood River Falls Creek is sweet ride close by. A little further out but in route from St Helens is the Lewis River trail, really gorgeous spot.
 

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If you ride St Helens (recommended!) and decide to go down Smith Creek, there's one creek crossing where some wayfinding is needed.

It's where you've been riding on a ridge and then have to hike-a-bike down a sandy chute. You're at a confluence and the trail crosses the tributary coming from the right. There are two logs there, one of which helps with the crossing. On the other side, DON'T do the obvious thing of following the river. Instead, hike-a-bike up to the right of the big log, following a faint trail.

The return climb (several miles down the river) starts at a turn marked with a cairn. It's an old road bed and a nice shaded mellow climb.
 

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The Capitol Forest loop you mention is good. Park at Fall Creek, you can easily add the Lost Valley, Mima Falls, McKenny Loop if you’re up to it. Or ride the Little Larck Mt Trail.

I really like the whole Ape Canyon Smith Creek Loop over the out and back, but the OAB is fun too,

Surveyors Ridge is by far my least favorite Mt Hood Trail. I have no idea how it ever got IMBA Epic status. Below are my suggestions over Surveyors Ridge.

In the same area, check out 8 Mile, 15 Mile, Knebel Springs, Dog River or Cooks Meadow. You can connect most of these in various ways for extended rides. These trails, along with Surveyors Ridge, are commonly referred to as the 44 Road trails.

Falls Creek outside of Carson, Washington Is another trail to consider over Surveyors Ridge.

Sandy Ridge would be another area to consider near Mt Hood. These are fun purpose built trails.

Also, the Timberline to Town - Pionner Bridle Trail is good. You could ride this in the AM then head to Sandy Ridge for the afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi All

Thanks for all the replies so many trails - and not enough time to ride em all as we have to get the Denver in 2 weeks

We wont have room for camping gear so were stuck with staying in motels/hotels so that makes planning a bit tougher

So based on the feedback plan is going to be

Day 2 - Capitol State Forest Ride
Day 3 - something in the 410 area as we have never ridden there even though it will be dusty , out of the 3 rides below which ones going to be less dusty, with great ST, not much hike a bike and great views

ranger climb - palisades
or
Corral Pass Rd - Noble Knob - Palisades - white river
or
or suntop skookum flates loop

Day 4 - Mt St Helens Ride - either out and back to Windy Ridge or back via Smith Creek (How much bush whacking is required for the smith creek trail ? - anyone have a recent gpx i can snag a copy of ?)

Day 5 - Hood river ride - ride 44 area trails - #456->#474 and then eight mile loops and maybe the 15 mile loop

Day 6 - Ride post canyon then head for Bend (Any suggestions as to best route of around 15 miles would be there ?)

Day 7 - Ride Flagline to Phils in Bend (Did this before and it was fun)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just rode the Ape/Plains/Smith loop & it's good to go. Wildflowers are maybe the best I've ever seen anywhere. Smith Creek could use a trim but not to bad.
Seen some reports on trailforks for smith creek saying these loads of trees down and erosion ruts in the trail - how bad is it ? whilst i wouldn't mind a bit of a bushwhack my Wife would give me an earful if she has to do too much hike a bike over deadfall or rutted sections etc

Whilst we wont be doing the Goat Creek loop this trip i've bookmarked that as it does look nice
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would consider doing less in the highway 410 area and adding a stop at Osborne or Goat Creek instead. Goat Creek is the easier one to do with one car. Then to St Helens. The Smith Creek loop is interesting and scenic, but the fan factor is higher to do an out and back on Ape Canyon and the Plains of Abraham. Depending on the weather, Bend may be pretty dusty. Unless your set on it, consider more toward the Oakridge area. Waldo Lake should be prime by then and is as XC as it gets, and there's a lot of amazing XC in the Oakridge area that is very uniquely PNW.
Only going to do 1 ride in 410 area now

We've already ridden Oakridge and Waldo lake a few times in the past and we do have our hearts set on doing that long point to point from Mt Bachelor to bend (This time i'll try not to crash in the thick dust like i did last time)

Then we have a long drive over to Sunvalley in Idaho - we will probabley stop off in Boise and if weathers good ride there
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you ride St Helens (recommended!) and decide to go down Smith Creek, there's one creek crossing where some wayfinding is needed.

It's where you've been riding on a ridge and then have to hike-a-bike down a sandy chute. You're at a confluence and the trail crosses the tributary coming from the right. There are two logs there, one of which helps with the crossing. On the other side, DON'T do the obvious thing of following the river. Instead, hike-a-bike up to the right of the big log, following a faint trail.

The return climb (several miles down the river) starts at a turn marked with a cairn. It's an old road bed and a nice shaded mellow climb.
Thanks for the beta - how long did it take you to make your way down and out of Smith Creek ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Capitol Forest loop you mention is good. Park at Fall Creek, you can easily add the Lost Valley, Mima Falls, McKenny Loop if you're up to it. Or ride the Little Larck Mt Trail.

I really like the whole Ape Canyon Smith Creek Loop over the out and back, but the OAB is fun too,

Surveyors Ridge is by far my least favorite Mt Hood Trail. I have no idea how it ever got IMBA Epic status. Below are my suggestions over Surveyors Ridge.

In the same area, check out 8 Mile, 15 Mile, Knebel Springs, Dog River or Cooks Meadow. You can connect most of these in various ways for extended rides. These trails, along with Surveyors Ridge, are commonly referred to as the 44 Road trails.

Falls Creek outside of Carson, Washington Is another trail to consider over Surveyors Ridge.

Sandy Ridge would be another area to consider near Mt Hood. These are fun purpose built trails.

Also, the Timberline to Town - Pionner Bridle Trail is good. You could ride this in the AM then head to Sandy Ridge for the afternoon.
Thanks for info - will look into options for capitol you suggested

I will take your suggestion about skipping surveyors ridge - which of those loops would you put together for a 25-30m ride ?

i've briefly ridden sandy ridge on another trip and it was fun along with timberline - do they still do the free shuttle up to the hotel ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Day 4) Ride suntop road to sun top trail and then back along Skookum flats

Good Choice -- I'd also recommend Corral Pass Rd-Noble Knob-Palisades - it's a pretty unique ride which now includes areas in the 2017 burn zone -- you get an up close and personal look at the forest regeneration taking place.
Thanks for info - which would you do out of preference of the above two rides taking into account dust, quality of singletrack and views , as I've decided to only do one ride in the 410 area
 

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My typical ride on the 410 trails is climb up ranger creek and down palisades, imo the switchbacks on ranger make it less fun on the descent, last time i rode palisade i destroyed my freehub so I went down chainless and didn't really have much trouble keeping the speed up.

I bend I would take a shuttle up to mt bachelor and ride back down to town. you can turn that into a full day of riding.
 

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On day 3, hard to meet all of those criteria. Corral Pass (believe it's still gated) will get you up higher where the views are better. But the trails tend to be a little dustier up there. Ranger to Palisades is all trail and less climbing, but (at least pre-fire) had less views. Views may have opened up with the fire. Dust and dry dirt usually follows a fire too. Skookum and/or WR can be added on to any of these combos and will be in great shape.

Day 4 - I'd go with Trailforks for gps tracks.

Day 7 - Also consider Bachelor > Met-Win> Mrazek to town.

Although honestly, I'd consider skipping Bend and staying on I-84 after Post and getting more time in Sun Valley. Stanley too for that matter.
 

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Seen some reports on trailforks for smith creek saying these loads of trees down and erosion ruts in the trail - how bad is it ? whilst i wouldn't mind a bit of a bushwhack my Wife would give me an earful if she has to do too much hike a bike over deadfall or rutted sections etc

Whilst we wont be doing the Goat Creek loop this trip i've bookmarked that as it does look nice
It's not bad at all and would say there are no ruts. I didn't hop off my bike once except for the stream crossing roundnround mentioned. When you to come that spot take your time and pay attention, there are some small Cairns and evidence of foot traffic. I'd also say the strenuous level of out and backing to Spirit lake is greater than looping it. Yes it's fun to came down Ape (provided there aren't 1,000 hikers) but for the adventure ride it is, looping it is where it's at.

I'd also reiterate and highly recommend Falls Creek over anything on that side of Hood that time of year for day 6. 15 mile is a suffer fest.
 

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Day 7 - Also consider Bachelor > Met-Win> Mrazek to town.

Although honestly, I'd consider skipping Bend and staying on I-84 after Post and getting more time in Sun Valley. Stanley too for that matter.
+2 on these.
IMO Mrazek (& Bend really) is only fun early spring or after the fall rains.
 

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Thanks for info - will look into options for capitol you suggested
Adding the Lost Valley, Mima Falls, McKenny Loop to your ride will make for 45ish miles. Starting at Fall Creek makes it a bit easier as it turns the ride into a big figure 8. You get to return to your car for a water and food resupply. Little Larch Mt is more of an enduro-ish type trail.

I will take your suggestion about skipping surveyors ridge - which of those loops would you put together for a 25-30m ride ?
I'd work in the 8-Mile Loop regardless. IMO, this one is pure bliss. You can ride from the Knebel Springs Campground on Knebel Springs to the intersection with 8-Mile, do the 8-Mile Loop, then return on Bottle Prairie to the Knebel Springs CG.

Or

Park at the 8-Mile Trailhead do the 8-Mile loop then up the 450 trail to the 15-Mile CG, down Cedar Creek and up 15-Mile and down the 450 Trail back to the car. As Whalenard mentioned, the 15-Mile/Cedar Creek Loop (More commonly reffered to as the 15-Mile Loop) can be a grind.

i've briefly ridden sandy ridge on another trip and it was fun along with timberline - do they still do the free shuttle up to the hotel ?
The shuttle is still offered but it is $5 for the day. The shuttle bus fills up on nice days.
 
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