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manuelw

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hello all -

I recently picked up a nice gravel bike and I'm looking for suggestions on routes and ride partners. I'm based in Seattle. I do like traveling around the state, especially the Leavenworth-to-Wenatchee corridor and the I-90 corridor.

I'm planning on doing these organized rides:

  • 3/11/2018 Gran Fondo Ephrata
  • 4/8/2018 Gorge Gravel Grinder
  • 6/2/2018 Dirty Kanza (I'm registered for the 100-mile "Half-pint")

It's funny, I've been mountain and road biking around here for 20+ years and I know tons of those routes. Dirt roads are something you AVOID on those type of bikes though! My knowledge of the gravel road network is weak.

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squak

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Reply with quote  #2 
If I was going to design a PNW "gravel bike park" it would probably look something like this:

https://www.sqrecreation.com/sites/default/files/Snoqualmie_Forest_Recreation_Access_Map_2017.pdf

The route options are limitless.  Gravel surfaces range from smooth/well maintained to rugged/abandoned.  I recommend sticking to what the map refers to as mainline and secondary roads to get familiar with the area.  I wouldn't go out there without GPS and a downloaded map (I'm using gaiagps).
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SeaPaul

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Reply with quote  #3 
There's a fairly active group on Facebook called Northwest Gravel Riders. It's a closed group so you have to request membership but you will certainly find lots of folks there. The events you're signed up for are great. And of the Vicious Cycles Gran Fondo series are fantastic. I particularly love Goldendale and Leavenworth. 

I don't know if you're a member of Cascade Bicycle Club, but they have a club-within-a-club called High Performance Cycling which I highly recommend. Super friendly and inclusive, and a bunch of the folks are gravel enthusiasts as well. 

PM me if you want additional info. 
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manuelw

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you @squak and @SeaPaul.
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El Train

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Reply with quote  #5 
Welcome to one of the funnest parts of gravel biking: route research! One of my go-to resources is county GIS road data. Most counties have this data on their websites these days. Google whatever county name and "gis road map". Then confirm with Google maps. Strava heat maps are also a great way to see what is being ridden in an given area. And of course US Forest Service maps. 
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tomasumter

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Reply with quote  #6 
There are hundreds of miles of good roads to ride back there, but keep in mind that a pass is required to access the Campbell Global property. Annual passes run April through March, so you may want to get day passes until the new annual passes are for sale, https://www.sqrecreation.com/node/202

Quote:
Originally Posted by squak
If I was going to design a PNW "gravel bike park" it would probably look something like this:

https://www.sqrecreation.com/sites/default/files/Snoqualmie_Forest_Recreation_Access_Map_2017.pdf

The route options are limitless.  Gravel surfaces range from smooth/well maintained to rugged/abandoned.  I recommend sticking to what the map refers to as mainline and secondary roads to get familiar with the area.  I wouldn't go out there without GPS and a downloaded map (I'm using gaiagps).
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squak

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasumter
There are hundreds of miles of good roads to ride back there, but keep in mind that a pass is required to access the Campbell Global property. Annual passes run April through March, so you may want to get day passes until the new annual passes are for sale, https://www.sqrecreation.com/node/202


Good reminder about the pass, I should have included that important detail in my original response.  I was riding out there yesterday and got stopped by a King County Sheriff who wanted to see my pass (glad I remembered to bring it!).  Nice guy and I'm guessing he would have just given me a warning if I didn't have it.  Kind of ironic that I've never been asked to show my pass while mountain biking at Tokul (swarming with mountain bikers most weekends), but the one time I get stopped I'm on my gravel bike out in the middle of nowhere.  

I don't mind buying the $50 annual pass, but I wish they made it good for one year from the date of purchase.
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Jim_H

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Reply with quote  #8 

Not sure what part of the state you are in, but besides the Campbell Global/Snoqualmie Forest, there is the Snoquamlie Valley Trail from Duvall up to Rattlesnake Lake (with a small interruption around the down of Snoqualmie), and the John Wayne Pioneer Trail which starts at Rattlesnake and goes over the pass (through a 2 mile tunnel) and into Eastern Washington.

There is also a group called Bellingham Grind Corps that has started putting on informal group rides.  I did two of their Fondo's last year.  One was up in Concrete and the other started in Arlington and looped up to Darrington and back.     

The folks in the Northwest Gravel Riders facebook group occasionally post events if you like doing those.  Probably worth joining. They are good people.

I've seen Capitol Forest mentioned in that group several times, but I've never been down there to ride (I live up north near Snohomish).

The Whitehorse Trail starts just north of Arlington and goes along SR530 out towards Darrington.  I'm not sure if it's open. Last I heard it was closed after the big Oso mud slide, and hasn't been re-opened yet.  Might be worth looking into though.

Edit to add:

I forgot to mention the Vicious Cycles Fondo events.  
http://rideviciouscycle.com/

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manuelw

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Reply with quote  #9 

Thanks @Jim_H and everyone who replied so far. I've explored gravel a fair bit this spring, despite a knee injury setback. I'm located in Seattle proper. I work in Issaquah which makes after-work MTB and gravel rides real convenient. 😉

I've ridden some in the Campbell Global property/Snoqualmie forest; on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail; in Capitol Forest (I've previously mountain biked here a bunch); did the Gran Fondo Ephrata.
Definitely will check out the John Wayne trail through the snoqualmie tunnel after it opens on May 1st (I used to ride that on a MTB when I was a teenager, before it was renovated and open to the public!). Poo Poo point road climb is on my short list too.
After higher stuff melts out I am looking forward to exploring roads in the cascade foothills and the methow valley area.

I'm trying to join the Northwest Gravel Riders facebook group but am not getting any response from the moderator.

Pacific Bike & Ski in Sammammish has been doing group rides this Spring, and some of them are gravel rides.

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