At the end of 2017 unusually high demand for timber caused heavy harvesting on Galbraith. When the dust had settled many of the choice descent trails on the north side were bogged down in fallen timber. This loop doesn't live up to the former glory, but it does manage to tie together what remains for a fun ride that will leave familiar riders with a smile and a bit of a feeling of loss. The description below has been left intact until the WMBC has a chance to triage and reopen trails.
The signature north-side Galbraith ride and an instant favorite. This route starts with the standard north-side climb before taking riders on the entirety of Golden Spike, much of SST, and follows Back Door on a wicked fun descent that emerges onto Birch Falls Way. During the descent, you get over two miles of doubles, drops, and buffed trail. Almost everything can be rolled, so this is a winner for riders of many skill levels.
Parking is limited at the immediate trailhead and along Birch Street. The parking lot at Whatcom Falls Park is easily accessed and adds minimal distance to a ride.
The directions below can be followed till just after Golden Spike
reaches Road 2600
. After that riders will need to look for the top of Oriental Express
where it starts on the outside of a left-hand berm. If you hit the field of fallen trees you've gone too far and will need to retrace your route about 50+ feet.
Once on Oriental Express
enjoy a swooping trail with some fun spots. You may be tempted to boost over some roots, but keep things tidy as the runout may get hairy. Pretty soon you reach Road 1200
(the rest of Oriental Express
was also logged so you'll need to follow the road to the left past the old rock-roll on SST
A couple of turns ahead turn right on Road 1240
and follow it down along the remains of SST
to find The Old Up
. It's not the smoothest or most enjoyable ride at all points, but this will get you to the unharvested part of SST
next to the gap jump built over the stump. From there it's glorious business as usual!
To get to the top, start at the Birch Street Trailhead. Follow Miranda, and the Ridge Trail to the kiosk at Checkpoint Kilo. From there, take Family Fun Center and then cross the small bridge onto Appendix. After Appendix, turn left up Road 1200 for 100 feet and take a right onto Intestine. Cleavage is the first right off of Intestine and brings riders to Road 2510. Take a left onto Road 1200 and pedal gradually up to Checkpoint Golf. From there, take either Dragonfly or the Golden Spike Connector to reach the kiosk at the top.
If the above is too complicated or you want to take the quickest route, take Cedar Dust at Checkpoint Kilo and then climb or push-up The Wall until it connects with Road 1200.
The kiosk is a definitely one of the "hubs" on the Galbraith and if you take a moment before dropping in, you'll likely see riders from one or two parties roll up. Observant riders will notice that the sign at the start of the trail reads "SST," don't worry, you're in the right place.
From the start, Golden Spike unleashes a succession of doubles intermixed with small rooty sections and flowy turns. In addition to these trail delights, there is a gravel road crossing early on. Towards the end, riders are presented with a steep rock-roll down (or drop for the bold) to the left, or a less ambitious spur to the right. Both of these options feed out onto Road 1200 before crossing over onto SST.
SST is a trail that expertly follows the terrain lines. Great design, combined with a favorable descent-to-ascent ratio make SST a fast and fun trail. Throw in a slew of doubles, aggressive flow, a table top and a stream crossing and you start to get the idea of the type of entertainment you're in for — the majority of obstacles are rollable making this a favorite trail among riders of many skill levels.
Towards the finish, the builders discovered a small slab of sandstone that makes a welcome addition to the trail. The stone signals a sharp turn to the left to keep following SST proper, or alternatively, riders can go straight and take the SST Spur. The first option is more direct, and it's more enjoyable with a few more jumps and the creek crossing mentioned above. SST ends at the intersection with the Power Line Trail with Back Door just on the other side.
The first half of Back Door continues the fun from SST with more singletrack and doubles. A sharp rock armored roll-down signals the second half of Back Door which travels along a creek zone.
Because of the extra moisture, this part of the trail is often slick, even muddy. The end of Back Door makes a sharp abrupt rise around a few concrete blocks before exiting onto Birch Falls Way. Head left and then a right down the hill. This is a residential area, so be cautious of vehicles and pedestrians.
As an alternate added bonus, riders can head uphill to the left for a few hundred feet until reaching the stairs on the right that are tucked between the houses. From there, you can climb back up the Ridge Trail until you reach Upper Bob's which in turn ends on Karma (checkout Karma's description for instructions to navigate back to the trailhead through the criss-cross of streets you'll encounter).