KETTLE CREST, WASHINGTON
The Kettle Crest Trail in Washington is a single track that follows along the ridge located atop the Kettle Crest region. Each meander gives way to snow-capped peaks and wildflower filled alpine meadows that are a sight to behold. However, the track is not motorized, and thus, cannot be used in winters, while it regains its good shape immediately in spring and summer months. This having been said, the best time to visit the trail is in late summer, or early fall just after a rain, which helps soften the track a bit, while also infusing the nearby surroundings with a hint of freshness and crispness that one desires while biking or hiking. Designated as a National Recreation Trail, it is one of the best that Washington has to offer, particularly in good weather. There are also tripgrounds available on each side, which are mostly isolated, and are a good place to unwind and relax after a hard day’s labour.
Starting with an elevation of 5200 feet and climbing from there, the trail is quite long and a little rocky in places, but the views atop the ridges are spectacular. At different places on the trail, one can spot the North Cascade Mountains as well as the Canadian Rockies. Beginning with the Old Stagecoach Trail which offers stunning view of the entire Kettle Crest Mountain Range, climbing onto the Midnight Ridge Trail offers resplendent view of the Lambert Creek drainage in the West. Moving fast through tall, majestic pines and firs, and then descending through to brilliant fields of flowers is an experience in itself! Pushing up the steep slope of the Ryan Hill is worth the work for the pure adrenaline rush of the Stickpin Trail. After the extraordinary vistas provided above the South Fork Boulder Road, the trails forks through a dark timbered trail, beyond which there is fun drop in elevation in less than 3 miles. This exciting part will be followed by the wonderful rolling descent down the SFBR. It is recommended to see the Thirteen Mile Mountain, the ride to which would provide some of the best sceneries, followed by a wonderful view of the Sanpoil River Valley while actually leading one through charming meadows set in little creeks and drainages. An awe-inspiring look at the canyon must be followed by a quick tour of the Swan lake, whose beauty and serenity is an experience in itself.
The best part about the Kettle Crest Trail is its northern part through Sherman Pass, which is a stretch of well groomed track, meandering its way through forests and rocky outcrops and little rivers. The loop trip around Columbia mountain, considered one of the finest backpacking routes, is a juicy appetizer for the trail yet to come. With the oldest abandoned fire house in the region atop this mountain, it launches hikers towards the tops of rolling mountains and the most amazing flowered meadows. The perfect end comes with the fun ride down the west part of Sherman Trail.
In a nutshell, Kettle Crest is a jewel; something that must be experienced to be believed.
MOUNTAIN BIKING TRIPS
- available as custom trip for 5 or more – click here to email
- level: intermediate, advanced
- ages: all (call for under 18)
- group size: varies
"After 9 years of guided mountain bike trips in North America, your Durango trip had the best trails!!!!"David Sawyer, 2008
"'trip Ned' in Durango was stupendous. Lodging, food, choice of trails and individual guidance on bike set-up, techniques and gear were all excellent. Nate inspired me through some killer climbs. Matt's no slouch on the trails, and also performed some dutch oven wizardry in the kitchen. Big Mike’s tour of Hermosa Creek drainage was epic. Thanks guys- I'm getting a gang together and picking a place to join up again in '09!"Tom Kammerer, 2008
"I thoroughly enjoyed my Hermosa Creek Guided tour! My guide, Matt, was professional and personable: offering great cycling conversation, guidance, and food for thought. He took care of everything so all I had to do was just show up and ride! His experience and knowledge of the CO trails made me feel confident and the ride was truly a treasured experience. Most of all, I had the absolute best time and I loved every nanosecond of it! Thank you !"Julie Urlaub, 2008
"The guys on my trip inspired confidence amongst our group every step of the way. Be it on the trail, shuttling to the trailhead, or arranging logistics in advance they kept things running smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. They accommodated us every step of the way and kept it fun and flexible. Of course, the best part was their ability to provide the epic mountain bike experience. We left Durango pleasantly worked over, dusty, and smiling ear-to-ear. Now if they’d only get on the right brand of bike…"Travis Ott, Gary Fisher Bikes, 2008
"Super job you guys do, better than any other tour/group ride I have been on, either in the US or Europe. I especially appreciate the little things that make the stay more pleasant without the client having to ask for them. (the trail map and the gorp selection for instance, nice touches)."Sam Joseph, 2008