This beautiful loop travels through rich forests and past viewpoints all over Green Mountain State Forest as riders crank out steep climbs and shred loose descents throughout this multi-use trail network. This lollipop loop is a great way to explore the area. There's plenty of climbing and pedaling, and it makes for a less-technical and less-steep option than entering Green Mountain State Forest from the Gold Creek Trailhead.
This ride uses multi-use, bi-directional trails open to pedestrians, mountain bikers, equestrians, and dirt bikers. Sight lines are limited, so use caution and observe the stop signs at road crossings.
From the Wildcat Trailhead, look for the start of the trail on the east end of the parking lot. Follow the gently rolling terrain for a mile of easy pedaling that lasts until just past the first road crossing (GM-41). From here, the climbing noticeably steepens at a paver-stone turn and becomes tough but manageable. Ahead, a craggy rock face will force most riders to dismount, but you'll be able to reclaim some climbing dignity at the attainable rock face directly afterward.
From here, the trail levels off briefly before diving down, crossing the road, and reaching a bridge. On the other side, the climb continues. Fortunately, occasional level sections provide breaks from the grind, though obstacles still dot the trail.
Two road crossings pass by before the trail reaches an intersection with the Beaver Pond Trail
. From here, drop your seat and enjoy a brief descent before returning to the climbing along a well-benched, gravelly section. Except for a punchy rock climb, the next 0.75 miles of pedaling is quite easy.
At the next clearcut, riders are greeted by a broad view of Seattle and Mt. Rainier. The trail along the edge of this clearcut is undemanding until the tech and chunk makes a return during a brief descent. Head right on the road (GM-17) before diving back into the woods for a pleasant climb.
Very soon, the trail pops back onto the road before entering a replanted forest. This gravelly section isn't very technical, but the grade will make you work as it follows a long ditch. A final road crossing skirts the edge of a clearcut before the trail ends at an intersection with the Vista Trail
and Gold Creek Trail
The Vista Trail
is an optional addition to this loop. In reality though, the viewpoint at the top isn't as good as those already passed. So unless a member of your group needs to use the restroom (there's an outhouse half way up the Vista Trail
) or wants to reach the summit, it's not worth the detour.
From the intersection, head down the Gold Creek Trail
and soon exit the trees along a loose, gravelly track that connects to the Beaver Pond Trail
. Continue bombing to the gravelly switchback below. After the turn, make sure to watch your speed because there's a hidden rock garden in the next straightaway. From here, get ready for a couple of channeled turns with small, rollable root-drops.
Ahead, a steep paver-stone turn to the left feeds riders into the woods for a fast, easy descent to the intersection with the Plummer Trail
. Head straight and then turn right after a bridge crossing. The rocky, rolling terrain that follows soon gives way to the border of a swampy pond followed by a cool, mossy forest.
On the other side of Green Mountain Road (GM-1)
the trail traverses through clumps of salal at the edge of a clearcut. The climbing in this short section is pretty mild as the trail bobs along. A creek and shallow pond makes an appearance before you reach the next road crossing.
The trail parallels this latest road until it drops down to a creek crossing and resumes climbing on the other side. The trail becomes entrenched and many of the turns sport low "moto berms." The grade is pretty steady through the lush forest, but not unmanageable.
After the final road crossing (GM-3), the trail heads into a short section of more-challenging climbing before the grade settles down. The undergrowth here is much shorter, giving the forest a spacious, open feel. Beaver Pond Trail
concludes with a small, flowy descent to a "T" intersection with the Wildcat Trail
Turn left to get your reward for the initial climbing at the start of the ride. Settle in for loose corners and fast straightaways on a raucous bobsled course, and keep an eye out for an optional huck-to-flat drop from the first road crossing (scope it first). Otherwise, the trail stretches on with little need to pedal until the final climb past the bridge far below. The Wildcat Trail
serves up a final section of notable technical challenge rolling over a craggy rock just before the final mile of undulating terrain.