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black Suntop Trail #1183

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8.3 mile 13.3 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 972' 296 m
Descent: -3,624' -1,105 m
High: 5,420' 1,652 m
Low: 2,597' 791 m


Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 26% (15°)


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Trail shared by Eric Ashley

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An immensely fast trail with some steady climbs mixed in.

Eric Ashley

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Features -none-

  • Be on constant lookout for other trail users!
  • The road to access the trailhead is seasonally open to vehicle traffic. Check the current status from the USFS by clicking here. Entrance and parking requires a Northwest Forest Pass.


The trail begins high atop Suntop mountain. The summit is reached from Sun Top Road #7315, but it's also possible to start roughly half-a-mile further down the road or much lower down from the Buck Creek Road #7160. Start at your preferred point by pedaling or taking the easier shuttle option (note that the last bit of road to the summit may be gated off, but there's ample parking nearby).

After you've enjoyed the views and checked out the lookout tower, it's time to drop in. If you're lucky, the surrounding meadow will be covered in blooms of beargrass. Even if it isn't, the narrow and rough singletrack should keep spirits high, just watch for an awkward rock garden at the start. The descent rushes by as a series of loose rocky straightaways and tight corners, till it ends at the second crossing of the road.

The next 1.5 miles follows a steady grade through a shady forest. There's nothing technical, but the constant climbing combined with the elevation can make for tough going. Adding to the experience are a number of discouraging false summits. Eventually the grade mellows out at a small opening in the trees, turn right and Rainer comes into view.

This is a good place to reapply kneepads and such as the rolling terrain ahead has enough gravel to make things interesting. A fun warm-up sections passes quickly before things let loose. Like all of the descents in the area, Suntop features some fast singletrack. They're just astonishingly long and fast here!

A few stepped logs let you know its time to engage the "grin-mode" as the trail shoots down the slope on a narrow and gravely bench-cut. Work your way through two sharp switchbacks, and it's back to bombing through the close brush. The delicious singletrack that rushes by is an absolute blast! Just watch for a few small chunky spots and close-cut logs that can result in a spectacular lawn dart off the trail.

The speed eventually abates before a mile of rolling terrain with a few punchy climbs. The next round starts shortly after the singletrack wraps through Buck Creek. Make sure your brakes are in good shape and you're hands are rested, because this one last even longer! Obstacles are almost non-existent besides a few rougher sections. The only thing holding your speed back is your better judgement. At one point, a long rut on the inside makes for some alarming conditions if you get sucked in.

Buck Creek Road #7160 makes a natural stopping point before heading in for more. This final section has small sections of pedaling but it keeps the fast and tight flavor going through even rougher terrain. Near the bottom, keep right at an intersection with a social trail to soon end at the Buck Creek Campground near the air strip.


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Mar 30, 2019
Ron Faul
Epic PNW ride or basically AWESOME! Not for the faint of heart. A great cardio workout and the ride down is steep with tight hairpins. Tons of hikers.
Aug 13, 2017
Eric McDonald
FS road dont do again. 24mi
Sep 11, 2016
Andrew Pogue
Aug 1, 2011
Dutch Cowboy

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