Jun 252019
 

Wind, wind and more wind has been killing the kayak fishing season, so it’s more mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains. This area is an amazing place, so much to see and do. Stay away from the more popular areas, especially on weekends, to experience one of the last wild places in the lower forty eight United States.

We made it about 200′ off road before we had to stop. Nothing major, but a reminder to put the ax in the truck. You’re on your own here.

Downed tree across the Forest Service road

Even though it’s late June and the weather has been pretty nice by Pacific Northwest mountain standards, mornings are cool with heavy mist or light rain possible. It warms up quickly as the sun comes up, but still cool in the deep forest shadows.

A cool, misty June morning in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

The first place we camped, the roads up the mountain to the top were extremely steep. It was all lava gravel so it was like riding on ball bearings. The climbs eventually were too steep for me to ride. Judging by the skid marks in the gravel, it looked like 2WD vehicles were having trouble as well.

An extremely steep lava gravel road in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

We moved deeper into the National Park where there are very few people, looking for a bit more moderate climbing effort. Exploring is what we are here to do, so we drove around a bit looking around. We want a place where we can ride a number of roads and trails. Solar exposure is great, here in the PacNW, you take what you can get. Park the truck and don’t start it up until we leave. We came here to ride bikes.

Mountain bike camping in the Cascade Mountains with watermanatwork.com

This spot turned out to be a great area for camping and riding. There are a number of Forest Service roads that go around and up the mountains with plenty of side roads to check out. There are still steep sections on the mountain roads, but having to push the bike a little is pretty much par for the course.

An opening in the dense forest in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

These are the headwaters of a number of Washington rivers that eventually empty into the Columbia River. The warming weather melts the winter snow pack on nearby Mt. Adams and the ice cold water begins the trip down the mountains to the Columbia.

Cascade Mountain creek

The mountain creeks turn into mountain rivers as they wind their way down the mountains.

Cascade Mountain river

The wildlife is very active this time of year. Deer with new born young are everywhere. I saw a bear while out riding this week and saw another one a couple weeks ago, not far from here. There were elk across the road from the campsite making all kinds of noise all day long. Hardly any mosquitoes and lots of butterflies.

Cascade Mountain butterfly

Best of all, on top of all the great gravel and dirt road riding, there is some pretty nice singletrack that doesn’t see many riders. The trails usually cut between sections of road. Riding up the road and down the trail is usually the best way to go. The scenery is the Best of the PacNW.

Picture perfect Cascade Mountain singletrack

These trails are a long way from anywhere. We’re here too have fun, but have to ride reasonably because getting hurt or damaging your bike have real consequences out here.

Steep Cascade Mountain singletrack with tree roots

Another great mountain bike expedition. Found cool new places to ride and camp, did a lot of riding, the weather was pretty nice and we found new places to check out. It looks windy for the next week, so we are back on the trail(or road).

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