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Mountain biking Washington's High Cascades is a religious experience. It's the best riding in the world. Experience the very best of the best on this trip. Big climbs. Big descents. Challenging trail and enormous reward. The best possible time to see the rare Western larch turn to golden fire before losing its needle-leaves. Ride through forests of cedar, pine and Douglas fir. Watch for hawks, jays, mountain bluebirds, eagles, camp robbers, vultures. Not to mention mountain goats, deer, elk, bear, timber wolf and marmot. The scenery is profound, unapologetic and constantly changing. Ride enormous mountains, deep valleys and rolling hills. Soak up views of alpine lakes and rivers of all sizes. Are you adventurous and ready for a challenge? This is the best riding in the world.
Meet in Seattle. Shuttle to Roslyn for a bike fit, suspension tune-up. Ride a local favorite off Cle Elum ridge.
Meet in Seattle. Shuttle to Roslyn/Cle Elum to ride a favorite local trail - Rat Pac - along the West Fork of the Teanaway River. Says the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance: "Rat Pac is a 4-mile fast, swoopy downhill trail with exciting gravity drops, jumps, a gravity bowl, various skinnies, ladders, and a few pucker-inducing features, including the infamous Rock - an elevated ladder-to-boulder with severe consequences." Catch glimpses of some of this week's ride spots as you descend. Lunch today will be at Roslyn's Basecamp Books & Bites. Dinner tonight is at The Brick, Washington's oldest continually operating bar.
Ride a classic: the Kachess Ridge Loop, one valley over.
Hop in the van for a short shuttle to the next valley over. Ride the Kachess Ridge Loop, a local classic. Start with a long flat warm-up lake ride on Forest Service roads. Then it's time to climb. Head away from the lake, catching views of Mt Rainier to the south and the towering peaks above. Once on top, traverse a short distance to a perfect prairie. Lunch here with time to enjoy the views. Then it's time for a nice long descent with a couple of creek crossings, lots of shade and loose rock, both afoot and 'awheel.' Dinner tonight: the Roslyn Cafe, better known as 'Roslyn's Cafe' from the TV series Northern Exposure.
Ride a Cascade alpine sampler: Esmeralda Peaks.
Today is a big ride. Pack and head out early, shuttling deep into the Teanaway valley woods. From the trail head, circle a mountain, climbing to the highest point of the trip so far. Keep climbing! The challenging single track takes you above treeline to the bald mountain top. After a brief descent, there's another double climb before a long descent back to our starting point. The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) calls it "...a nice backcountry ride with a solid long singletrack climb and a technical descent full of tricky switchbacks, plenty of root systems and even a bit of exposure to keep you honest."
Ride Angels Staircase - "a physically demanding, epic loop that takes you far from civilization" in the North Cascades' Okanagan National Forest.
Another big day today. Ride the highest singletrack in the state - arguably the most challenging Washington Classic trail. "This is THE Methow Valley Ride for the serious mountain biker," says the MTB Project. "The suffering is worth it."
From a start point low in the woods, take a long, strenuous climb past Cooney Lake and up above the timberline. Just keep climbing. Once on top of the world, stop to take in views of your long journey getting up this side...and the countless mountains on that side. Time to ride down a 'staircase' trail. Watch the tight switchbacks and narrows until you reach the next scenic lake and the start of the next big climb. Time for a snack here on Horsehead Pass: the other side is a very long descent. And not too technical so you will fly!
Explore Mazama: hike or ride the local Winthrop trails, or climb Harts Pass.
Enjoy the upper end of the Methow Valley today. Stroll the nature paths near the Mazama Country Inn. Or go for a hike: the Pasayten Wilderness and North Cascades National Park offer miles of trails that will take you away to lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife. Watch for the deer and marmot that are common here. Climb to Harts Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail. Rather ride? That's an option too.
Starvation Mountain Loop: Ride remote singletrack through the Okanagan Valley to alpine elevations with stunning views. And down again.
Starvation Mountain is a huge loop: 5000 feet of climbing; 30+ miles of biking. You choose: shuttle to the top and ride downhill singletrack. Or go for the full sufferfest and earn your turn. By this point the in the week, your legs might be ready to fall off, so a day to descend 5000 feet might be quite welcome.
Ride Cutthroat Pass this morning. Then head back to Seattle.
Pack up and head back over the North Cascade Highway this morning, with one more stop on the way. Today's ride is another classic: Cutthroat Pass. It's an out and back so you get to pick your lines while on the grind uphill. From the top, look deep into the heart of the North Cascades Mountains. High fives and photos. Then itís time to descend.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.