Length/Configuration: 20.9-mile single-track, gravel road, and paved road loop, or 10.4-mile out-and-back (each way) all on single-track.
Aerobic Difficulty: Steep, roller-coaster single-track with lots of low-ring climbing.
Technical Difficulty: Intermediate; some tight switchbacks, creek crossings.
Scenery: Classic, lush Pacific Northwest old-growth setting.
Special Comments: There is no bad way to ride this route.
General Location: You'll be astride the saddle about 25 miles northwest of Shelton, 30 miles southwest of Bremerton, and 25 miles southwest of Hoodsport.
Elevation Change: The lower trailhead is at 600' elevation and the upper trailhead (before the 5.5-mile continuation to the park boundary) is at 1,200' elevation. With lots of short, sharp descents along the way, a lot of short, sharp climbs add another 600' of elevation gain for a total of 1,200'. Out-and-backers add another 600'; road returners add about 80'.
Season: To let the trail recover from its winter slumber and spring rains, the Hood Canal Ranger District recommends not riding it until June. Enjoy it to the end of the season, which can stretch into November.
Services: Water is available from a hand pump next to the pay station at Brown Creek Campground. A small cafi sits on US 101 just north of Skokomish Valley Road. Services are available in Shelton to the south, Belfair and Bremerton to the northeast, and Hoodsport to the north (limited service in Hoodsport).
Hazards: The viewpoint at 5.9 miles up the trail is atop a sheer drop. Dismount on the main trail and walk to it for a look. Don't try to cross the bridge in its state of disrepair, and be careful when fording the river—the water was fairly high and the current was swift during the September research outing.
Rescue Index: Help might be available at the Brown Creek Campground, 0.2 mile from the lower trailhead. The Fir Creek Guard Station sits 6.9 miles from the trailhead along FS 23. Residents along Skokomish Valley Road may also provide assistance. You'll find a phone at the cafe on US 101. Help is available in Hoodsport, Union, Belfair, and Shelton.
Land Status: Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District.
Maps: The Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park map is good enough to get you through this ride and many others in the forest, although it doesn't provide topographical information. For topo info, use Green Trails #199, Mt. Tebo.
Source of Additional Information:
Hood Canal Ranger District
150 N. Lake Cushman Road
P.O. Box 68
Hoodsport, WA 98548
View Trail Map
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication