If bike riding is your “happy place,” check out the biking in Central Washington! Whether you prefer hitting the asphalt on two wheels or your preferred road is mostly dirt, there are so many rides you’ve just gotta try just off the beaten path.
In case you need convincing about how much we enjoy bicycling around here, our very own Ellensburg, Washington was named a Bicycle Friendly Community (Silver Level) by The League of American Bicyclists. Only 73 other communities in the nation were awarded this honor.
Deepen your connection with the natural world by Mountain Biking in Central Washington. Devil’s Gulch is Central Washington’s best known mountain bike ride, but there are many other options just waiting to be explored in Cle Elum and Roslyn, Teanaway, Ellensburg, Thorp, and more!
Tell us which ride is your favorite or share photos from your last adventure!
Amabilis Mountain Trail
Cle Elum, WA 98922
Let’s get our hearts pumpin’! Head to Cle Elum on an afternoon and check out this 11.5 mile ride! With an elevation gain of nearly 2,500 feet this one will be a challenge. The ride follows initially along gravel road then turns to coarse double track in fairly good condition. Your prize comes at the end when you near the summit of the mountain on one of the valley’s sunny days. Views of Mt. Rainier, the Chikamin Ridges and Kachess Lake make the challenge all worth the effort. The climb can become rather demanding in places, mostly in about two or three miles of the trek. The second half of the trip is mostly downhill on firm gravel and dirt. The trail head begins near the Lake Easton State Park.
Bicycle Friendly Community
Coal Mines Trail
Roslyn, WA 98922
A walk on the trail affords visitors a firsthand look at the coal-mining heritage through the remains of Roslyn’s mines, at the railroad depot site and barn, and at Powder House Road where dynamite was stored. You may also view the Coal Mines Memorial located in Roslyn. The official trail is charted at 4.7 miles from Flagpole Park to Ronald with opportunity to explore various spur trails, as well as going to the ethnic Roslyn cemetery where many of the miners are buried. The “easy” trail is open for multi-use, including trekkers, horses, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, sled dogs, and snowmobilers. It is closed to all motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles in the winter.
Cooper River Trail
Roslyn, WA 98922
What a great little trek through the Cooper river trail outside of Roslyn. It undulates along for 10.8 miles, through the Wenatchee National Forest. It uses about two miles of paved and gravel roads before it heads onto the Cooper River Trail. There are no extended climbs, which makes it great for the beginner to intermediate biker. It is a great little out-and-back ride with plenty of small roller coaster hills getting some beautiful glimpses of the Cooper river and Lake. There are a couple of options to consider, the simpler one is to ride Pete Lake all the way to the wilderness boundary which has a sign to simply turn back. There are two other trails that ramble up a rocky trail to FR 4616 which parallels Pete Lake Trail. Both trails are tricky but have manageable descents. Both trails are relatively hard to find from the forest road. It might be best to climb the first one, ride up the forest road and make your descent on the second one, then return on Pete Lake Trail. Only a moderate skill level is required for this one to be fun!
Near Teanaway Community Forest, WA
This scenic loop around Esmeralda Peaks is an excellent “mini” Cascade alpine sampler. It is a nice shorter 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. Anticipate 3.5 to 5 hours on trail, though the mileage is relatively short, the singletrack and jeep road climbs will take some time and an occasional hike-a-bike. Parking at the De Roux Campground and pedaling the quick 2 miles to the Esmeralda trailhead provides a nice warm-up as the trail immediately climbs steeply away and you will then finish the ride at your car.
Cle Elum, WA 98922
Meander along a river bottom, climb Taneum ridge, then drop down into Fishhook flats on delicious singletrack. From there you can opt to either cross the river and hook into the North Fork Taneum trail, or scoot back out to the road and up the drainage to gain another 4 miles or so of smooth buttah North Fork moto singletrack on the return. Either way, be prepared to wade across the creek multiple times.
No epic views from this route, but the forest and creek are beautiful in their own right. Wildlife sightings of grouse, deer, and elk aren’t uncommon and there’s always the possibility of spotting the more elusive black bear or cougar.
Hereford Meadows - Shoestring Lake - Keenan Meadows
Near Cle Elum, WA
Hereford Meadows and Shoestring Lake/Keenan meadows – both ORV trails in the Manastash drainage- can be ridden separately or combined for a longer ride. There are a variety of ways to approach them including the classic route of riding from the Manastash campground up the 3100 road to the top of Hereford and riding the trail back down. However Bob B. recommended riding up the Hereford trail from Shoestring as an out-and-back, and having tried it I think he’s on to something…. the trail is much less dusty than the road, more scenic, and relatively easy. It’s also easy to add the Keenan Meadows/Shoestring loop onto the end from there if time allows.
The ride is in trees and high central Cascade meadows. Wildlife, wildflowers, and great views abound, as well as heroic quantities of insects in the late season. If you have time, tacking on the short road climb from the top of Hereford to the Quartz mountain peak (6,296 feet) is well worth the views from the top. Hereford is mostly smooth dirt with only one small rocky section. Shoestring has more rocks throughout to deal with, although there are still sections of very fast, smooth single-track
Near Thorp, WA
Wildlife-DNR area that has generally passed under the radar for mountain bikes. There is some single track, a lot of double track, and a LOT more to explore. Pine forest, prairie, and shrub-steppe ecosystems collide in this area, and climbing onto the plateaus offers incredible vistas from Ellensburg, through the Stuarts, and even some of the Alpine lakes region peaks.
No campfires allowed from April 15 to October 15. Each winter the gates are locked and the area is closed to all public access for the protection of wintering elk. The closure begins upon initiation of supplemental feeding, typically in early to mid-December, and reopens May 1.
DISCOVER PASS REQUIRED
Near Easton, WA
Tough Forest Road climb to the top, a bit of hike a bike and then spectacular single track for an hour or more – all downhill to the cars. Breathtaking scenery of the northern Cascades, including Lake Kachess, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Stuart, and more. The singletrack portion of the trail generally follows Silver Creek on a winding descent through shadowy glades, open meadows, sections of head-high wildflowers, and exposed ledges. This is a wilderness ride not for the faint of heart – several hours of endurance required, and richly rewarded.
Teanaway, WA 98922
Ramble slowly uphill along the south fork Taneum creek on a degrading dirt road-ORV trail through dense pine-fir-tamarack forest, pay your dues by climbing 700 feet in about 1.5 miles along a sun-exposed dirt road, do a little up/down on open pine forested ORV trail on the top of the ridge with fantastic views… then fly the swoopy, bermed trail to the bottom.
The stiff climb and loose-rutted-steep conditions going down make this route unsuitable for beginners or those training strictly for the all-beer-olympics. Those with intermediate fitness and bike handling skills will find 2-3 hours of fun. This loop can also be added to many other routes in the area for those in search of more epic adventures.
Manastash Ridge Trails
Near Ellensburg, WA
Fun XC trails easily accessed from Ellensburg. Manastash Ridge is a non-motorized multi-use area (face of the ridge) with steep hiking trails and more moderate grade trails specific to biking. The bike trails are signed “Mark Brewery Memorial Trails” and are located east of the hiking trails on more gradual slopes above the mansion. Some riders detest the beginning double track (~200 meters) due to it’s steep and rocky character. The first corners of the bike specific singletrack can be daunting, but be encouraged that the grade eases up and trails become much more friendly once you get above the fenceline behind the big house. The trail conditions are typically good year round except for spring thaw. Avoid these trails when soft conditions exist.
If the double track after the first left turn is soft, the trail should not be ridden. Trail damage in this soil lasts year round and degrades user experience. Avoid leaving ruts.
Near Teanaway, WA
Palouse To Cascades State Park Trail
The Palouse To Cascades State Park Trail, part of the Washington State Park System, is a 1,612-acre (7 km2) state park located in the Cascade Mountains and Yakima River Valley, between Cedar Falls on the west and the Columbia River on the east.
The park is contiguous with a rail trail that crosses Snoqualmie Pass. The trail is located within the former right-of-way of The Milwaukee Road, officially the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Most of the right-of-way between Cedar Falls and the Idaho border was acquired by the state, through a quitclaim deed, as a result of the railroad’s 1977 bankruptcy. As part of the reorganization of the company, the railroad embargoed its lines west of Miles City, MT in 1980 and ceased service in Washington.
The state acquired the land in the early 1980s and eventually converted the right of way west of the Columbia River into 110 miles (177 km) of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trail. The trail, formerly called Iron Horse Park is now known as the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail.
Shoestring Lake Loop
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Maps available at the Ellensburg Recycle Bike Shop.
Near Easton, WA
The first (lower) part of the trail features forested canopy and fairly rocky/technical areas, making for a real challenge in the uphill direction, and a lot of fun concentration in the downhill direction. The trail eventually buffs out a bit into some fairly smooth and flowy singletrack (very fast on the downhill!), and then finally you break out of the canopy and into a treeless, almost martian steppe-like zone of volcanic rock and dust.
The trail is 5.8 miles one-way up to the top, and could be ridden back down to where you started for a total of 11.6 miles. The Stafford Creek trail could be linked to several other trails in the area. Standup Creek trail to the west would seem to be the best option, however that trail is steep, very overgrown with brush in many places, has lots of tight switchbacks, lots of rocks and numerous walk-your-bike creek crossings (in short – I don’t recommend it). Standup Creek Trail joins with the Bean Creek trail (haven’t been on it). At the top of Navoho Pass the Stafford Creek Trail joins with the County Line Trail no. 1226.1 (steep and primitive) and the Cascade Creek Trail no. 1217 (haven’t been on it).
Taneum Ridge Trail
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Distance 8.5 miles, Elevation: 1400′. Ride up road #3300 to an unmarked road (The Low Road) on the left, go left on the unmarked road. Follow the road and stay right until you intersect road #3300 again. Rode the road and take a left at the South Fork Meadow road. Follow the road to the South Fork Taneum Trail (#1367). Take the Fishook Flats Trail (#1378), cross one road until you intersect the Taneum Ridge Trail (#1363), and go right. Follow all the way back to the parking area.
A map is available at the Ellensburg Recycle Bike Shop.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
This tough 8.9-mile, 1,800-foot climb takes you through dry, sun-exposed sagebrush country overlooking Ellensburg, the Kittitas Valley, and beyond. The higher you climb, the better the views, a grand reward for your efforts. At the top it’s a tradition to write your name, or anything else for that matter, in the notebook in the metal box for everyone to enjoy. The ride to the top is a reward in itself, but the real reward is the exhilarating 2.1-mile descent that follows — a plunge from the rocks to the road which parallels the irrigation ditch at the end of the loop. The Book is an advanced-level climb without tree cover but one that is well worth the effort, if you’re up for it!
Check out Ellensburg’s local Bike shop for a map!
Rat Pac Trail is a 4-mile downhill fast, swoopy 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 consequence.
Central Washington has hundreds of miles of nice roads: PERFECT for bike riding. Whether you enjoy commuting on a bicycle, or doing a road race, Central Washington has something just for you. Check out the list below for great road rides to try on your own or with a friend!
Which road ride are you doing on your next visit? Tell us!
Badger Pocket Loop
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Badger Pocket Loop sends you along some great views of the countryside that are seldom seen. The trail begins behind Central Washington University at the corner of 18th Ave. and D Street. It heads out Walnut, which becomes Airport Road, and then drops down into a great farmland ride.
Once you get on Game Farm Road the riding is flat with plenty of picturesque farmland and great old barns. Once you get to the end of Lyons Road the road starts to rise to a glimpse of the Wild Horse Wind Farm. At the end of Park Creek you start to get into sagebrush and more desert like terrain. Once you get onto Stephens Road you start to climb, winding through the Badger Pocket hills. Eventually the road passes under the I-90 freeway and follows along that path for a short distance. When you finally get to the top of the rise, you get a glimpse of the Stewart Range looming in the distance. The road then drops down into sweeping farmland, passing Little Badger and Badger Pocket Roads, eventually dropping you on Sorenson where the road becomes flat and straight again. The ride zig zags along past hay barns, farm houses and old mills, giving you more of the taste of this valley. Once you reach Tjossem Road the route straightens out and eventually drops you onto Old #6 road and back to CWU.
This is not a ride to miss if you want to experience Ellensburg’s great country scenery!
Bicycle Friendly Community
Double Loop Cemetery Road Ride
Ellensburg, WA 98926
This is a fun one, even if you are just taking a break while you are here in town for an afternoon. This one begins at the West Ellensburg Rotary Park west of Ellensburg. It follows the trail behind the park, past Irene Rinehart Park and pops out onto Umtantum Road near the Yakima River. Immediately you take a right on Brown Road and head past a farmhouse that has been restored like an old 1950‘s gas station. The road zig zags through the farm homes with an amazing view of Ellensburg on the right and the Stewart‘s in the distance.
You can take a shortcut at Burns Road if you don‘t have as much time, but keep heading straight if you want the full meal deal! Before too long you take a hard left onto Hansen Road and follow that along the route until you reach Cove Road. There you take a right and head towards some amazing views of the Stewart Range and the wind farm north of town. There is a slight climb and at the top have an amazing view of the valley. Head down the hill to Robinson Canyon Road and begin the climb up the hill. You pass the High Valley cemetery on right which has graves dating back to 1888.
Robinson Canyon Road eventually turns into Killmore at the top of this hill and then wonders back and forth down the hill towards Thorp, past Thorp Cemetery Road. you will see that again later. You head over the I-90 freeway passing the fruit stand on the right. In Thorp you will ride by the riding arena, Thorp School, and the Thorp Grist Mill. Once you take a left on Taneum you head up a steep hill past the Springwood Ranch and drop into a pristine little valley just before it passes under the freeway. This time you take a left of Thorp Cemetery Road where you will pass miles of farm land and back to Thorp Hwy Road. Stay on this route, past the golf course, until you end up on Brown Road again heading toward your final destination. This is a sweet little figure 8 ride that is well worth the effort!
Ellensburg, WA 98926
- From the CWU parking lot at the corner of 18th Ave. and D Street in Ellensburg, take a right on 18th Ave.
- Take a left on North Walnut, which becomes Airport Road.
- Then teke a right on Sanders. Follow it until you reach Look and take a left.
- Then a right on Brick Mill Road.
- Follow Brick Mill until it ends, and take a right on Venture.
- Thake a right on Lyons, then a left on Naneum, and finally a right on Game Farm Road.
- Follow Game Farm until it ends, take a right on Brick Road until it turns into Sanders and returns to the parking lot.
A map is available at the Ellensburg Recycle Bicycle Shop.
The Cle Elum Loop
Cle Elum, WA 98922
This ride takes you from Ellensburg to Cle Elum on a 61 mile loop. It loops through the back roads of Ellensburg and Cle Elum through some of the most majestic countryside of Central Washington. This popular ride travels through a wide variety of terrain, from Ellensburg’s rolling countryside to Cle Elum’s forested byways. Starting near Central Washington University’s campus it travels up Hwy 10 into some very beautiful but rugged topography. The loop then follows Hwy 940 dropping into Cle Elum where it passes through this 128 year old historic mining town. It then continues onto Taneum road and follows Peoh road through Thorp prairie and then finally past Thorp Road cemetery back into Ellensburg.
- From the CWU parking lot at 18th Ave. and D Street, take a left onto D Street.
- Take a right on Dean Nicholson Blvd/14th Street.
- Take a right on Water and then a left on 15th Street.
- From there take a right and continue to Dry Creek.
- Follow Dry Creek until the intersection with Hwy 97.
- Jog right on Hwy 97 and take an immediate left onto McManamy.
- Follow McManamy until it ends at Hwy 10 and take a right onto the highway.
- Follow hwy 10 approximately 14.5 miles until it intersects with Hwy 970 and take a left and then an immediate right onto Materson/Airport road.
- Follow Airport Road around to the left until it ends.
- At the intersection with Hwy 903/1st Ave, take a right.
- Follow 1st Ave. through downtown Cle Elum, and take a left on S. Cle Elum Way.
- Follow that under I-90 and S. Cle Elum Way will turn into 4th Ave, and then back into S. Cle Elum Way.
- From here take a left on Lower Peoh Point, and then a right on Upper Peoh Point road.
- Follow upper Peoh Point until it goes under I-90 again and then turns into Thorp Prarie.
- Continue on Thorp parie from approximately 7.5 miles and take a left on Taneum Road.
- Take a right on North Thorp Hwy. Continue over I-90 and onto S. Thorp Hwy.
- Take a right on Cove Road. Take a left on Hanson.
- Take a right on Brown, and after 1.8 miles, teke another left to stay on Brown.
- Take a left onto Umptanum, left on Anderson until you reach 5th Ave. and take a right.
- Take a left on Water, a right on 14th, left on D street and back to the parking lot.
This ride is not to be missed if you are planning to experience the road biking routes of the Central Washington area.
A map can be picked up at the Ellensburg Recycle Bicycle Shop.