“Primo singletrack along a strikingly beautiful trail with cliffs and lush forests.
— Eric Ashley
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 Palisades Trail checks all the boxes with a wealth of scenery and ripping singletrack. And at over six miles, the good times keep rolling. The only thing fault-finders could find to complain about would be the gnarly half-mile of walk-a-biking near the end. But even there, the trail features a waterfall and dramatic cliffs. So, if you're in for a little adventure on a fantastic trail you've picked a real winner!
The trail begins directly after the Ranger Creek Trail shelter. Reaching the first lookout requires a little pedaling and the occasional obstacle, but the grand views down the valley and surrounding ridges more than make up for it.
Up next, is a steeper section of riding that switchbacks through the woods before reaching the next lookout. The views are similarly great and there's more opportunity to explore on foot. Next, the trail heads away from the cliffs for sections of lively descending followed by short climbs. You're rewarded with yet another lookout before reaching the main cliff section. It's a pretty unique experience winding along the edge, but fortunately the trail never gets "too close" and most riders should feel relatively comfortable.
As the trail heads away from the cliffs it transitions into fun flowy ribbons of singletrack. This delightful descent is interrupted by a brief climb through a logged section before the fast singletrack continues on the other side. The riding here is a blast as the narrow track dances through the trees!
The cliffs make another brief appearance before the trail dives back into a tightly packed forest for more fast flowing singletrack until a left hand switchback. From this turn, more roots begin to enter the trail, making for a fantastic rip as riders bob and weave along the moss covered ground. A sweeping right-hand turn ushers in another subtle flavor change as the trail again smooths out except for the occasional rootball.
Ahead, a cedar bridge and short climb proceeds a more challenging section of singletrack that soon ends at a wood plank across a small cascading waterfall. This is where the gnarly hike-a-biking begins, though accomplished riders may be able to navigate some of the intensely tight turns, most will not. A narrow wooden ladder/staircase exits the bottom of this first section.
The going remains tough for the next half mile through this beautiful area. Brief sections of rideable trail separate tight switchbacks and unrideable areas. Once you reach the creek crossing the remainder of the trail is easy going as you head to the bottom. Keep right at the signs if you parked at the base, otherwise the left heads to the White River Trail.