The Gravel Riders (of the washington state varietal)
The Gravel Riders: #1 - Find some gravel
Step 2: Grab some buddies
Gravel Reason: Hard climbs and epic scenery
Gravel Reason: Shoulders not needed
Gravel: It's under there somewhere
Gravel Reason: Gravel riders are just happier
Frozen Gravel: Rule 5, princess
Epic Gravel Efforts: Gran Fondo Goldendale
The Gravel Riders site/social web is designed for riders either new to gravel riding and/or new to the area, let us know if there is something that you are looking for and don’t see.
Congrats for taking the leap into Gravel riding, it sort of requires a unique breed – elevated and evolved at the same time. It’s a state of mind really, a conscious decision to trust a wild and unpredictable environment and trepidation over wild animals in exchange for a life altering path of adventure and possibly most importantly – an escape from cars.
While the gravel rider community is worldwide, our version is rooted in the foothills of Washington State east of Seattle, basically from Issaquah to Cle Elum and beyond until the gravel runs out, which is never. We have a huge array of gravel, hard pack and dirt options, from steep, rocky fire roads climbing to radio towers, to long straight flatish gravel grinders that stretch forever.
Snoqualmie Pass offers a pretty nice jumping off point, there are countless logging and fire roads, but most get snowed in from late November to March, so we are fortunate to have 100,000+ acre tree farm in spitting distance, so for $60/year, we can ride that and try not to get lost. We regularly encounter wildlife but most times we see no humans – what an amazing resource.
Local Facebook gravel/mtb groups (search for them)
NW Gravel Riders
PNW mountain bikers
PNW bicycle classified
Washington’s Cascades & Foothills
That’s where this story takes place only because it’s where we live and ride. We’re interested in expansion, if you are as well, ping us.
Our gravel riding stacks up against any in the world, we have old rail lines that run through the deepest forests and through the most barren deserts and everything in between. We have gravel climbs into the mountains that will make you run home cryin’ to your mama.
If you live here, then you probably already know what’s up but if you are from elsewhere and gravel-curious, take a little trip with us.
A hugely important thing to remember is that you should be self-sufficient. Some of these rides can get very remote and quiet. There is always the possibility that you’ll be walking out for some distance. It’s up to you to make that a small possibility.
If you ride solo a lot, some things get more important, like bear spray and sound decision making.
Check out the lists below as a starter. Do whatever you need to do to get home in 1 piece, that’s the bottom line.
Sounds good, how do I get started out there?
First of all, bring your gravel bike or mtb and park in the big gravel lot at King and Railroad in downtown Snoqualmie.
Go across the street to Bindlestick Cafe and get a triple espresso, then jump on either the Snoqualmie Valley Trail (SVT), or head toward the falls to the millpond to get to the Mainline to enter the tree farm.
If your plans are to hit the tree farm, you’ll need a permit ($10/day or $60/annual). Motorized permits sell out fast, passes on sale in March.
Get Avenza Maps, download this Campbell Global map pdf and add it to the Avenza app and you’ll be set using the gps on your smart phone (Location).
There is great access to the trail, one good way is where Mt. Si Golf Course is, you’ll usually ride by a bunch of elk just across the street from the course.
Main tools of the trade
- Gravel, cyclocross or mt bikes
- Tough MTB shoes
- Padded gloves
- ID, cash
- Charged phone
- Extra tube, Co2 cartridges, extra nozzle
- Allenhead tools, extra chainring and cleat bolts
Optional tools of the trade
- Bear spray*
- Backup GPS
- Extra tube
- Bug spray
- Bike or headlight
- Paper maps
- Battery pack
Local ride information
Snoqualmie Valley Trail (SVT)
This rail-trail runs 31 miles from Duvall to Rattlesnake Lake passing through Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, North Bend and Mt. Si.
Palouse to Cascades Trail
From Rattlesnake Lake, head east on this rail-trail for 212 miles through a 2+ mile tunnel at Snoqualmie Pass across a vast landscape toward killer bbq in Cle Elum and a hell of a lot of gravel riding in Eastern Washington.
Campbell Global Tree Farm
This is 104,000 acres of glorious gravel exploring currently owned by Campbell Global and available for us to ride in for $60/yr or $10/day – a whole lot cheaper than skiing and whole lot scarier, especially when you’re solo.
For March, here are 3 ride options
Snow is going away in the high country
Light pain: The ride starts downhill and should hit 40 before you know it, then turns into a classic through Snoqualmie, North Bend and a hell of a lot of beautiful nature
Medium pain: Great ride in the CG tree farm, not super climby but can be fast. Requires pass.
Quit crying pain:Also in the CG tree farm, Lake Hancock is a grunt for impressive views, might be snowed. Requires pass.
Local (SnoValley) bike shops, beer, coffee… the usual goods
Local Facebook gravel groups (search for them)
NW Gravel Riders
PNW mountain bikers
PNW bicycle classified
thegravelriders (I don’t remember making this!)
Important local businesses
Issaquah: 2 Safeway, QFC, Trader Joe’s, Costco
Fall City: Farmhouse Market
North Bend: Safeway, QFC
The Gravel Riders on Facebook : Instagram : Strava
Come ride with us
Gravel, gravel riding, offroad riding, adventure seeking. mostly dropbar but not always
Year-round, our gravel ranges from sea-level to more than 5,000 feet so there is almost always some snow-free gravel to ride. Or just take your fat bike.
The lower rail-trails if there’s snow, in the summer it’s wide open – it’s often about peak bagging and tower bagging.
it’s just better here
Check out some of the stuff on this site, you should be able to glean enough expertly and creatively written directions here.
You, if you want a better life