“Road climb to a great descent over varied terrain.
— Eric Ashley
Trails in the Yacolt Burn State Forest are generally open year round but require the use of a Discover Pass. The area and trails are remote and there is extremely poor cell service make sure your party is properly equipped. Most trails are multi-use, expect traffic in both directions and be prepared to yield.
A few miles spent pedaling takes riders to the top of Larch Mountain for a long and lively descent. High-speed bombing, deep berms, and chundery tech make the Cold Creek Loop a choice ride.
Need to Know
You can eliminate the majority of the climbing from this ride by shuttling to the Thrillium Parking Lot via Road L1000 and Road L1500.
From the main parking area, begin riding Road L1070
from where it starts behind the large gate. You'll spend a couple miles of steady climbing along this gravel road to reach the intersection with the Cold Creek Connector Road
just past the Murphy's Grade
and the closed section of the Cold Creek Trail
Follow the connector road for a mellow climb. Various drainage ditches and a few chunky rock sections will make for slower going, but you'll soon reach the Thrillium Access Road
. This smooth doubletrack climbs to a point just below the Thrillium parking area. Keep heading past Thrillium
and turn to follow Road L1511
for a steep, and at times rocky, grind to the top. Once you've reached the towers your climbing is done.
Take a break for a moment and then follow the jeep track opposite of where you entered the clearing. The first three-quarters mile travels through forest and clearings before hitting a shale field. The shale field is short (~400'), but it's littered with large rocks that shift unpredictably. A picnic table on the north edge of the shale field provides good views and a place to regroup.
Next, the trail heads into the trees for broad sweeping descents linking corner to corner. Take the optional steep technical line which bypasses the first switchback for even more fun. The following bomber sections are intermittently interrupted by roots and rocks, which creates a great blend of speed and tech. As the trail continues through the trees, the tech begins to fade away along this classic singletrack.
After exiting into a clearing, riders are greeted by loads of deep berms and the occasional booter. This section of clear cut includes two gravel crossing. At the second crossing the Cold Creek Trail
continues to the left, and Murphy's Grade
begins to the right.
A fatigued bridge on Cold Creek Trail
required this next section to be closed for several years, until it was replaced and reopened in late 2016. Follow the Cold Creek Trail
down slope for switchbacks and flowy straightaways. Make sure to admire the handiwork of the WA DNR and Cold Creek Mountain Bikers as you travel over the sturdy new bridge to enjoy a classic trail in its entirety.
The rest of the ride is a fun pedal over rolling elevation dotted with drops and kickers. A chunky rock garden provides one last element of tech near the end of the trail. Keep an eye out for descending riders as the trail joins Thrillium
just before the lower parking area. Turn right for a very brief road climb back to the main parking area.