8.9 miles
1,249 ft
-4,283 ft
Avg time
Supporters, Builders, Maintainers & Land Managers of Kachess Trail

  • USFS
    Land Manager

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
  • 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
    #41736 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • #90586 in Trail Running
  • 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
Traditionally Indigenous Territory
More Stats for Kachess mountain bike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -3,034 ft
  • Altitude min
    2,374 ft
  • Altitude max
    5,781 ft
  • Altitude start
    5,408 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,375 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2 miles
  • Distance down
    7 miles
  • Distance flat
    2,257 ft
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Oct 16, 2021
Avg: 4.15 (14 votes)

view (67)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Inadequate
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Flow (Ridden Direction)
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The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
  • bi-directional trail
  • no data
Trail Last Ridden
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  • < 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
Contribute Details
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  • 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.
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Max Vehicle Width

Radar Time
x Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public ridelogs from the past 6 months.
  • mountain biking recent
  • mountain biking (>6 month)
  • hiking (1 year)
  • moto (1 year)
Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public skilogs from the past 12 months.
  • Downhill Ski
  • Backcountry Ski
  • Nordic Ski
Jump Magnitude Heatmap
Heatmap of where riders jump on trails. Zoom in to see individual jumps, click circles to view jump details.
Trails Deemphasized
Trails are shown in grey.
      Directions to kachess trailhead (47.367860, -121.207120)
      update trails status or condition

      Kachess Trail Reports

      Oct 16, 2021 @ 2:06pm
      Oct 16, 2021
      Rode it in the morning. Minor snow up through the saddle, but no issue after that. A bit wet. Might be the last weekend for it.
      Oct 4, 2021 @ 11:58am
      Oct 4, 2021
      reporter A few mud puddles, but riding really well! Two trees down still.
      Oct 2, 2021 @ 11:05am
      Oct 2, 2021
      Aug 20, 2021 @ 3:15pm
      Aug 20, 2021
      One 2' blowdown in the lower flat section. I blocked off a couple ride arounds including one at the top that was basically creating a new trail...
      Aug 12, 2021 @ 11:09am
      Aug 12, 2021
      8/8: Running great. A couple of wet spots after the rain, should be ideal this week.
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 5 rides
      • 18 miles avg distance
      • 62 rides


      more »
      52 |
      Aug 10, 2021 @ 10:49pm
      Aug 10, 2021
      35 |
      Aug 10, 2021 @ 10:49pm
      Aug 10, 2021
      31 |
      Aug 10, 2021 @ 10:48pm
      Aug 10, 2021
      31 |
      Aug 10, 2021 @ 10:48pm
      Aug 10, 2021

      Routes with this trail

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


      7 Reviews & Comments

      • + 0
      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
      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
      Ericandannie (Sep 4, 2018 at 3:31)
       Do any local bike shops offer shuttles?
      • + 3
      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
      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
      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.
      • + 0
      ckoont (Aug 23, 2020 at 18:18)
       EBIKES are NOT allowed. Please do not bring Ebikes on USFS trails where they are not allowed.

      Post a Comment


      more »
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