“After the long climb up, the return singletrack route has amazing views from the cliff-side trail.”
— Anthony Harasimowicz
Just northwest of Naches, WA is a great mountain bike ride with a classic long fire road climb and sweet singletrack descent. It's a steady 11-mile climb (2900 ft. gain) up toward Little Bald Mountain with a varied return trip on rugged singletrack with sweeping cliff views.
Need to Know
This ride can easily be set up as a shuttle with the starting point off of FR 1706 (the stretch of FR 1600 leading to the start of the trail highpoint is quite rough) and endpoint at the Halfway Flat Campground. Best time to ride is late summer, early fall.
Driving south on Highway 410, turn right on Old River Road and cross the Naches River. Turn right at the fork and park at the large gravel lot on the left. The ride beings with a long, steady march up FR 1706. The gravel route is pretty straightforward as you follow signs for Little Bald. At just under the 10 mile mark turn right at a fork on FR 1600.
This more rugged road continues for another 3 mile where the upper access point for Little Bald Mountain Trail
(#961). The trail initially drops into the forest, down to a switchback, and then opens up to a large clearing and scree field. Take your time working your way across the rocky trail. The trail heads back into the forest and turns to a fast, smooth, and narrow ribbon of singletrack.
After a short climb near the 14-mile mark, the trail takes you adjacent to a steep cliff edge with sweeping views to the west. In the distance, the top of Mt. Rainier is visible across the vast forested hills. The trail borders the cliff edge for another 4 miles as you head northeast.
The route then takes you back into the forest and passes through a large clearing. Turning to the east the trail crosses a gravel road and then to a final series of switchbacks takes you down to the Halfway Flat Campground and along the Naches River. From here follow the sometimes faint trail to a parking area at the Boulder Cave Recreation Area and then finish the loop by taking Old River Road back to the bottom of FS 1706.