The Little Mountain Park Ride is a downright gorgeous loop that's especially well suited to newer and intermediate riders who are getting into mountain biking or looking for a beautiful pedal with a few choice challenges thrown in. This comprehensive tour leaves from the East Trailhead and takes riders on a manageable climb and fun descent that includes nearly all of the multi-use singletrack open to bikes.
From the trailhead, the Nature Trail
makes a great warm-up as it travels across a bridge to the start of Cairn
. There's just a touch of climbing before this trail levels out to wind through ferns and new-growth forest.
At the intersection with La-Z-Boy
, head to the right for a bit of descending that fades into a rolling climb. There are some mild tech spots and pinch-points before a gravelly climb ends at a crosswalk next to the Entrance Trailhead. Across the road is the Hop Connector
, and don't worry if you notice a "hikers only" sign, as this applies to a different trail.
Riders will immediately leave Hop Connector
to follow Rooty
as it winds along the contours of the hill. Despite the name, there are almost no roots on this trail, and the dirt is quite smooth, albeit steep. Sight lines are tight in this lower section, so be aware of descending trail-users.
Pretty soon, Rooty
levels through open trees with a view of the road below that lends the narrow singletrack a nice "elevated" feeling. The side-hilling continues with the occasional rocky spot as Rooty
heads to the intersection with Huff-N-Puff
opens with a small root-lunge before the classic singletrack climbs off on a steady grade. There are few obstacles on this trail, making it an agreeable workout rather than a technical challenge. Near the top, the grade backs off before reaching the intersection with the Service Road
Take a right on the wide gravel road that circles around the mountain. Riders will see glimpses of Mount Vernon in the distance before the road narrows and is replaced by Sidewinder
at an unmarked intersection. Just keep heading straight and it will work out.
really hits its stride as it follows a series of tightly packed switchbacks that lead to the summit after passing the top of Bonnie and Clyde's
. These turns are so closely wound that it can make progress feel slow even though the easy elevation gain allows for quick going. There's a fair share of rock mixed into the trail, including a few of the turns, so expect some mildly challenging spots to practice uphill maneuvering.
ends at the North Viewpoint Trail
where a turn to the left leads to a viewpoint. This is a good spot for a breather, but by now the ride is nearly to the summit if riders feel like waiting.
Keep following the North Viewpoint Trail
to the Little Mount Park Road and follow it up to a paved walk that leads to the Pickering Viewpoint and views over Skagit Valley, the Puget Sound, and various islands. When you're ready, follow the paved path down to the top of the North Viewpoint Trail
This quickly returns to Sidewinder
, where the same stacked switchbacks provide plenty of opportunities to work on handling in the shallow turns of this fun descent. Keep an eye out for an optional log ride if you're so inclined.
Ahead, turn left onto Bonnie and Clyde's
to follow a few turns (the second one is pretty exposed) before the narrow bench cuts across a steep slope. The descent soon ends, replaced by a rolling climb past a beautiful fern-covered forest and one dilapidated car (see below). Bonnie and Clyde's
really shines where it turns to follow a small ridge full of larger turns and bobbing singletrack that ends at the mid-mountain parking area.
Follow the road to the start of Upper Surfer's Way
, where a punchy climb leads into rocks, roots, twists, some tight spots, and a mandatory log roll. There's even an optional rock roll that can be sessioned along this fun descent that ends at the intersection with Lower Surfer's Way
and Down South
. Turn left for a milder exit on Lower Surfer's Way
that connects to La-Z-Boy
The top half of La-Z-Boy
gently weaves past tall trees and larger stumps. Most of the trail follows an easy cadence except for a series of tight s-curves after a long straightaway. Further down, take Cairn
for an easy descent back to the bridge where a turn to the right follows Sidekick
for a nice alternate pedal back to the trailhead.
This ride was compiled based on suggestions from the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation. To find out more about the park and their efforts to support it, click here