Intermediate and Advanced Bike Rides

Looking for an advanced ride? Feel the need for something technical? Perhaps a high speed downhill ride?  These trails might be what you’re looking for.  A word of caution:  our bikes are front suspension only and are not heavy duty bikes.  For the advanced trails mentioned here, you will preferably use your own bike. 

Intermediate to advanced riders will enjoy this single track through the forest. You will ride over a few creeks, ride/walk a gnarly rocky section, and hop plenty of roots with a small but steep downhill section as a climax. This trail is easy to access. From here ride up the gravel road behind the resort and take the trail to the left of the last cabin. Cross the creek and take the trail to the left. The trail will ‘Y’ in approximately 2 miles.  Stay left (Ranger Creek Trail to the right). You will see Highway 410 for a short distance (to the left is a good place to hop out if you do not like the trail). Trail will ‘Y’ again, stay right (left is also an out to Highway 410). At the next junction do not let the signs confuse you…straight on/easy right (do not take the switchback). You will cross a wide bridge. Again another right and continue along Camp Sheppard Boy Scout Camp (you will see sections of camp to your left). Stay on obvious trail and stay left at next two junctions. You will end with a short but fairly steep downhill section that will bring you to Highway 410. Take a left and ride back to Alta or you can access the Skookum Flats trail by turning right and then left at FS73 (trail is marked). Allow an hour and a half for this ride.

If you are looking for a great climb with some of the best downhill around, Noble Knob is the trail for you (one of Washington’s top trails). Advanced riders only – some suggest bringing extra brakes! Ride up the gravel road behind the resort to the last cabin. There is a trail to the left that crosses the creek. Cross the bridge and continue right upstream. The trail ‘Y’s so stay right and cross the creek again. The trail turns right and up hill. Stay on trail until you come to FS7174 (logging road) turn left. Continue climbing for another 5 miles until you reach the Noble Knob Trail…ask in the office for directions and a map.

Iron lungs? The Suntop Trail is a popular climb and an epic, arm-numbing, downhill. Turn right out of our driveway and travel on Highway 410 for one mile. Turn left at Buck Creek (FS7160). Cross the bridge and take the left ‘Y’. Ride along side the Ranger Creek Airstrip until you reach the 1183 Suntop Trailhead (right hand side). It will start off gravel and then take you up for about 8 miles. You will climb a few “steps”, hop a few roots, cross a creek, cross a couple of service roads and climb, climb, climb! This trail is well maintained and shared with hikers and motorcyclists. At the top enjoy a 360-degree view—it will feel like you can reach out and touch Mount Rainier! Take a rest and prepare for the arm- aching downhill! Stop by the office for more details and a map.

An alternative route to Suntop is to travel up the FS73 VIA bike or car (providing you have two cars or someone to transport you). Look for Suntop driving directions in our hiking section.

For a technical ride without the major climbs, try Skookum Flats (another “best of Washington trail”). This trail will take you along the White River over some pretty bumpy sections with some killer switchbacks and a few “hike a bike” sections. Take a right out of our drive way and travel one mile. Turn left at Buck Creek, cross the bridge and the trailhead is on the right hand side. The trail starts off pretty easy but don’t worry—it gets much tougher. At mile 1.5 you will come to the site of the old Suspension Bridge over the White River (Trail 1169).  (The Suspension Bridge was destroyed in the floods of November 2006, but rumor has it a temporary bridge will be installed this summer.  If there is a new bridge,  you can shorten your ride and turn right here, cross the bridge and take the trail back to Highway 410 where you’ll turn right at the highway and ride back to Alta. To continue on Skookum Flats trail stay left before the bridge. You will soon come to one of the “hike a bike” sections. When the trail ‘Y’s stay right. At mile 6 you will arrive at the falls (best to view in Spring). You will arrive at FS73 in approximately 2 miles, turn right to the highway, turn right again and ride to Alta. To lengthen your trail time take the White River Trail 1199 back to Deep Creek and then down the gravel road behind the resort (just follow above White River Trail directions in reverse).

You can also access the Skookum trail by ‘trail’. Ride up the gravel road behind the resort. At the last cabin take the trail to the left, cross the bridge and then again take the left trail. This is the White River Trail 1199. You will cross a couple of creeks, travel over a gnarly rocky section and can turn off the trail directly across the highway to Buck Creek. At the first ‘Y’, stay left and you will come parallel to Highway 410. Take left to the highway and then cross it to FS7160 (Buck Creek). Again the trailhead is on the right hand side just after crossing the bridge.

There are over 35 miles of trails at Crystal Mountain and all are aggressive, as you’ll need to ride your bike up before you can come back down.  We have maps of the trails in our office.  Considering all the climbing you’re going to do once you’re up at Crystal, you may want to consider loading the bikes in your car, driving to Crystal and biking from there! 

Here are just a couple of our favorite trails that don’t require a little less climbing (or at least climbing that isn’t straight up):

  • Kelly’s Gap Road:  From the upper parking lot (Lot A), go past the main lodge and look for the service road that goes to the right.  This road will take you up (and up) until you eventually come to the bottom of the Green Valley Chair.  From there, you can pick your own trail up to the summit (very steep) but you’ll get incredible views of Mt. Rainier!  From there, you can either retrace your steps (and get some great views of Crystal’s complex), or take the Lucky Shot trail, which is actually another service road, back down to the base.
  • Henskin Lake Trail:  The first part of this trail is steep, but after that, it levels out a little bit!  From the parking lot, look for the Chapel and the Gold Hills chair that goes straight up to the left.  Bike or walk about 3/4 of the way up this chair and look for the trail that will go to the right.  Take this trail past Jim Town (an old mining settlement) to Henskin Lake, an absolutely breathtaking lake in Silver Basin.  From there, you can ride back down along the Quicksilver Lift (the quickest way) or retrace your steps.