Tough Forest Road climb to the top, a bit of hike a bike and then spectacular single track for an hour or more - all downhill to the cars. Breathtaking scenery of the northern Cascades, including Lake Kachess, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Stuart, and more. The singletrack portion of the trail generally follows Silver Creek on a winding descent through shadowy glades, open meadows, sections of head-high wildflowers, and exposed ledges. This is a wilderness ride not for the faint of heart - several hours of endurance required, and richly rewarded.
This trail is typically not rideable until June or July due to snow on the ridge, however by riding up the singletrack (reverse of what is described below) you can avoid the snow.
In the winter there is typically some tree blowdown - watch the EMBA website for trail clearance work parties in the early season. You cross several creeks on the way down, and early season they can be flowing pretty good. Prepare to get your feet wet!
The switchbacks near the end of the trail are quite loose. Take your time and try not to make them worse by skidding!
Ride up road 4818 for 6 miles of gravel logging road riding and look for road 4824 on the right. Here's where the climbing starts. From here to Kachess Ridge trail is about 5 miles of up (10+% grade). Increasingly-worthy views of Rainier and the lake make a fine excuse for stopping for a breather. In a mile keep to the main road. You will pass a gate on this road and a little over a mile from the gate stay right. There are a handful of less-traveled spurs on the ascent; keep to the main road. When you come to a plateau and a fork in the road, go right and then look to the left for the easy to miss trail. Sort of looks like a spur road to camping spot to trail kind of thing all in about 50 feet. There are a couple of these entrances, all of which shortly meet.
This trail descends immediately (lots of people walk this) to a T. Go right here. The object is to follow the trail to the pass between the pinnacles looming above. There's a bit of downhill, then some hike a bike across a scree slope and more hike a bike up to the pass. From here follow the trail down down down. Steeps, roots, rocks, rivers, streams, meadows, hairy switchbacks, and more. About half way down on the right there's the remains of a big avalanche a few years ago. Just before you get into the switchbacks (near the end) there are some nice waterfalls in Silver Creek you can climb down to. Then there are a few miles of steep somewhat eroded switchbacks returning you to the valley floor.
When you finally come to the bottom of the descent, take a quick right and ride through a short clearing which brings you to an access road. Ride this access road back to 4818 then take a left (south) about a mile back to the powerlines and your car. You've just completed the 18.5 mile loop!
ake I-90 East until exit #70. Turn left and cross over the highway. Now take another left on Sparks Road (the frontage road). Follow this for 0.6 miles and turn right on Kachess Dam Road (also known as Forest Service Rd 481 . After 0.1 miles, the pavement turns to dirt park at the powerlines (about 1/3 mile).
Some will elect to shuttle by leaving one car at the power lines and driving one on 4818 and 4824 all the way to the top. Ground clearance is important for shuttle vehicles due to drainage ditches on 4824 - a loaded subaru wagon comes close to getting high centered.
Local Trail Association
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More Stats for Kachess mountain bike trail
Altitude change-3,022 ft
Altitude min2,384 ft
Altitude max5,592 ft
Altitude start5,407 ft
Altitude end2,384 ft
Distance climb2 miles
Distance down6 miles
Distance flat727 ft
Avg reverse time00:03:03
- view trail stats
Kachess Trail Reports
Sep 24, 2017 @ 2:20pmSep 24, 2017
|Perfect. Tacky dirt and dry roots. One new down tree on the bottom section|
Jul 8, 2017 @ 4:51pmJul 8, 2017
|One little patch of snow on the hike a bike section all clear otherwise. A few downed trees on the "descent" in the flat meadow sections but all...|
Jun 26, 2017 @ 9:37amJun 26, 2017
Jun 26, 2017 @ 9:36amJun 26, 2017
|Rode it on Friday June 23rd. The hike a bike climb at the very top was all snow. We had to lay the bikes on their sides digging in the handlebar...|
Jun 1, 2017 @ 12:29pmJun 1, 2017
|The vast majority is covered with deep snow. The bottom, last steep switchbacky section is the only portion that is dirt.|
Routes with this trail
|Kachess Ridge||13 miles|