9 miles
1,688 ft
-4,715 ft
Avg time
Trail Supporters, Builders & Maintainers of Kachess Trail

Kachess Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
    Kachess Ridge
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T1 Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Season
  • Dogs Allowed
  • eBike Allowed
  • TTFs on Trail
    Rock Face
  • Global Ranking
    #16948 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    85 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
  • Land Manager

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 Central 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.

Do not ride in the spring/early summer when the trail is wet from snow melt or snow covered (with the exception of the hike a bike to the saddle). This causes damage to the trail, particularly the meadows, especially now that the trail is getting a lot of use. Local rule of thumb: Don't ride until July 4th or later. However you can ride up the singletrack (reverse of what is described below) to avoid the snow and/or do recon in the late spring.

Reminder that this is a multi-use trail and you may encounter horses and/or hikers. With shuttle services and such happening up there this really needs to be taken into consideration. There are lots of blind corners and it's easy to startle someone, or worse.

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!

Access Info

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 481Cool . 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
More Stats for Kachess mountain bike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -3,027 ft
  • Altitude min
    2,378 ft
  • Altitude max
    5,609 ft
  • Altitude start
    5,405 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,378 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2 miles
  • Distance down
    6 miles
  • Distance flat
    2,774 ft
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Oct 16, 2020
Snow Covered
Avg: 4.25 (13 votes)

view (58)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction
Trailforks scans users ridelogs to determine the most popular direction each trail is ridden. A good flowing trail network will have most trails flowing in a single direction according to their intension.
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
Trail Last Ridden
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine the last time a trail was ridden.
  • < 2 days
  • < 1 week
  • < 2 weeks
  • < 1 month
  • < 6 months
  • > 6 months
Trail Ridden Direction
The intended direction a trail should be ridden.
  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
Colors indicate trail is missing specified detail.
  • Description
  • Photos
  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine which trails are ridden the most in the last 9 months. Trails are compared with nearby trails in the same city region with a possible 25 colour shades. Think of this as a heatmap, more rides = more kinetic energy = warmer colors.
  • most popular
  • popular
  • less popular
  • not popular
Max Vehicle Width

Radar Time
Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • eBike Charging Point eBike Charging Point
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Gate Gate
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Ladder Ladder
  • Stairs Stairs
  • Bridge Bridge
  • Boardwalk Boardwalk
  • Camping Camping
  • Cabin Cabin
  • Lodge Lodge
  • Bear Cache Bear Cache
  • Dock Dock
  • Ranger Station Ranger Station
  • Summit Summit
  • Other Other
      Directions to kachess trailhead (47.367860, -121.207121)
      update trails status or condition

      Kachess Trail Reports

      Oct 16, 2020 @ 7:54am
      Oct 16, 2020
      Snow covered and SLOW over the pass
      Sep 12, 2020 @ 12:06pm
      Sep 12, 2020
      the description of this trail is incorrect. It is not "all downhill to the cars". from the saddle to the final mile ( which is pure descent) there...
      Aug 22, 2020 @ 10:25am
      Aug 22, 2020
      reporter Trail running great. Probably past 20 or 25 hikers and plenty of bikers but overall a great ride
      Jul 30, 2020 @ 11:00am
      Jul 30, 2020
      Drying out fast in the usual spots. Still great in the forest.
      Jul 27, 2020 @ 12:13am
      Jul 27, 2020
      Did the full loop. Brutal but rewarding climb. Bring lots of water and snacks. The trail was in almost perfect riding conditions: nice grippy pnw...
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 16 rides
      • 19 miles avg distance
      • 62 rides


      more »
      70 |
      Jul 5, 2020 @ 4:14pm
      Jul 5, 2020
      104 |
      Sep 18, 2019 @ 2:53pm
      Sep 18, 2019
      99 |
      Sep 12, 2019 @ 7:49pm
      Sep 12, 2019
      34 |
      Sep 12, 2019 @ 7:48pm
      Sep 12, 2019

      Routes with this trail

      more »
      Kachess Ridge
      13 miles
      Kachees Ridge Loop
      18 miles
      Kachess Ridge Runner
      13 miles
      Freehub Magazine: Kachess
      8 miles


      7 Reviews & Comments

      • + 0
      flag jonoakdale (Aug 21, 2016 at 20:50)
       Ride the fire-road up, which isn't shown on this map. We made the mistake of riding up the trail itself, and most of it was hike-a-bike; brutal!
      • + 1
      flag jib-kollege (Jul 29, 2018 at 18:39)
       I finally rode this after thinking about it for a few weeks. I did the full lap from parking to summit and back. Standard fare PNW dirt road to decent 9, 10, 11 year road climb for approx an hour. Biting flies around, but I Deeted up a hour or so in. No bites. Everything was dry and beautiful. Switchbacks at the end a little loooose, but all good. Have fun!
      • + 1
      flag Ericandannie (Sep 4, 2018 at 3:31)
       Do any local bike shops offer shuttles?
      • + 3
      flag salamander2 (Oct 29, 2018 at 22:06)
       Yes. They are done for the year but check out Ride Roslyn www.rideroslyn.com/kachess-ridge-shuttle
      • + 0
      flag Canuche (Jun 16, 2019 at 21:40)
       Early season conditions up top. We had some snowy hike a bike for the first 1/2 hour and a bit more on the downhill. Passable and will be great next week I bet
      • + 1
      flag michaelnill (Jul 7, 2020 at 8:12)
       Snowy hike a bike up to the saddle at 3.25mi. Perfect conditions below that. I'd say most of the snow clears out in a week or two.
      • + 1
      flag cbkoontz (Aug 23, 2020 at 18:18)
       EBIKES are NOT allowed. Please do not bring Ebikes on USFS trails where they are not allowed.

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