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

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Gravel riding requires a unique breed, elevated and evolved at the same time. And better looking. It’s a state of mind really, a conscious decision to trust a possibly wild and unpredictable environment and trepidation over wild animals in exchange for a life altering path of adventure and escape from cars.

While the gravel rider community is worldwide, our version is rooted in the foothills of Washington State, basically from Issaquah east to Roslyn and past, and until the gravel runs out, which is never. We have a huge array of gravel, hard pack, dirt options, from steep rocky fire roads climbing to radio towers, to long straight flat 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 $50/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.

This site 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.

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.

In 2020, everything was terrible except that we won this award again, so there you go – The esteemed International Federation of Sweet Gravel (IFSG) has awarded Washington Cascades gravel “Best in Show” for the 178th straight year.

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.

Snoqualmie Weather

Sounds good, how do I get started out there?

First of all, bring your gravel bike or hardtail 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
  • Helmet
  • Tough MTB shoes
  • Padded gloves
  • ID, cash
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Charged phone
  • Extra tube, Co2 cartridges, extra nozzle
  • Allenhead tools, extra chainring and cleat bolts

Optional tools of the trade

  • Bear spray*
  • Backup GPS
  • Knife
  • Extra tube
  • Bug spray
  • Jacket
  • Backpack
  • Bike or headlight
  • Paper maps
  • Battery pack

Local ride information

Local main trail info :: also see our rides page >

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 February, here are 3 ride options

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

Download file: TGR-SnoRidge-Rattlesnake-lake-RT.gpx

Medium pain: Great ride in the CG tree farm, not super climby but can be fast. Requires pass.

Download file: TGR-CG-old-friend-25.gpx

Quit crying pain:Also in the CG tree farm, Lake Hancock is a grunt for impressive views, might be snowed. Requires pass.

Download file: TGR-Hancock-Lake.gpx

Local (SnoValley) bike shops, beer, coffee… the usual goods

Bike Shops

Snoqualmie

NW Bikes

North Bend

Progression Cycle
Singletrack

Issaquah

Ride bikes
Gerk’s
REI
Trek Bike
Downhill Zone

Roslyn

Ride Roslyn Bikes

Statewide bike shop list from Cascade Bikes

Beer

Snoqualmie Brewery, Dru Bru, Volition, Finnaghty’s, No Boat

Herb

Issaquah, Roslyn, Cle Elum

Coffee

Bindlestick, Pioneer Coffee, Trail Youth Cafe

Local Facebook gravel groups (search for them)

NW Gravel Riders
PNW mountain bikers
Tokuls only
PNW cyclocross
PNW bicycle classified
thegravelriders (I don’t remember making this!)

Important local businesses

Campbell Global passes, Vicious Cycle,
Evergreen MTB, Compass Outdoor Adventures

Hotels

Hampton Inn, Salish Lodge

Farmers Markets

Coming soon

Supermarkets

Issaquah: 2 Safeway, QFC, Trader Joe’s, Costco
Snoqualmie: Safeway
Fall City: Farmhouse Market
North Bend: Safeway, QFC

Rides, local services, events, good stuff

The Gravel Riders on Facebook : Instagram : Strava

Good start of a ride. Unless you get eaten ...

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Roadblock ...

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It's albino gravel. What? ...

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Looks like nap time, it finally got above 50 ...

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Last day of winter, bring on the heat. ...

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Come ride with us

What:

Gravel, gravel riding, offroad riding, adventure seeking. mostly dropbar but not always

When:

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.

Where

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

How

Check out some of the stuff on this site, you should be able to glean enough expertly and creatively written directions here.

Who

You, if you want a better life

Why

Because people

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