“A challenging loop with a long fire road climb and fast technical decent on the Ranger Creek Trail.
— Anthony Harasimowicz
This intense mountain bike ride just northeast of Mt. Rainier will test your stamina with a tough, 10-mile plus fire road climb to start things off. The reward for this uphill grind is stunning views of Mt. Rainier and a fast and furious descent on the Ranger Creek Trail.
The narrow, sometimes significantly exposed and technical singletrack brings you down to the Ranger Creek Shelter where you can take a short rest before polishing off the balance of the downhill route. Near the tail end of the descent, you'll pick up the final stretch of singletrack as you ride along the rolling terrain of the White River Trail before connecting back with Highway 410.
Need to Know
A second option for the climb up is to take Corral Pass Road #7174
located further south off Highway 410. This route has the same elevation gain in half the distance, so choose wisely.
Drive east on Highway 410 past the small town of Greenwater and through the scenic White River Valley. As the highway starts to turn south, turn left on FS Road #7200
and park just below the open gate. From here, begin to climb up the gravel road initially heading south and then turning back to the north. The steady climb continues and has a few pulloffs with great views of the river valley far below.
At the 6 mile mark there are wide open views of Mt. Rainier across the low valley to the south. Reaching the 7.5 mile mark turn right on Dalles Ridge Road #7250
and a short distance later pass FS 102. At a four-way intersection continue on FS 210 until the road ends at the Dalles Ridge Trail #1173
Climb up the initial segment of rocky doubletrack to the true ridge trail and enter the forest. A short distance ahead be on the lookout for a sharp right turn for Ranger Creek Trail (#1197). The fun finally begins on the smooth, fast, and narrow trail starting a series of switchbacks down the hillside. Arriving at the Ranger Creek Shelter, stop here for a short rest and a snack before continuing on the Ranger Creek Trail located behind the shelter (the signed Palisades Trail, #1198 heads southwest). As you navigate more switchbacks and a bit of rough trail, take the short detour for the Little Ranger Peak viewpoint.
The trail smoothes out a bit with some nice, fast bench-cut singletrack as you continue to descend on the southern slope of the ridge. You'll then make your way toward and along Ranger Creek through the lush forest, across a few small bridges, and by some massive boulder erratics. Heading toward the highway, turn right on the White River Trail (#1199) and head northwest. This rolling section of trail parallels the highway for approximately three miles overall.
At the junction with Buck Creek Trail (#1169) turn left onto the trailhead down to and cross the highway and then the river to access Skookum Flats Trail
(or, you can continue on the White River Trail heading toward Camp Shepherd on the east side of the highway). Rumble along the White River for the balance of Skookum Flats and at the north end, take the short access road back out to the highway. Ride on the highway north for approximately one mile to return to your car.