Tucked away in Greenwater, Washington, the Ranger Creek Trail unfolds as an epic biking journey for the daring cyclist. With a distance of 23 miles and classified as 'Difficult,' the loop trail offers a vigorous uphill climb followed by an adrenaline-pumping descent. Along the way, mesmerizing vistas of the Cascades and tight, challenging switchbacks punctuate the ride.
The ride begins with a strenuous 10-mile ascent via forest service roads. Starting on road 72 for 7.4 miles, make a right onto road 7250, followed by another right onto road 210 which ends at 10.2 miles. This brings you to the Dalles Ridge Trail #1197. Follow this for half a mile, then make a sharp right onto Ranger Creek Trail #1197, ensuring not to miss the turn.
The ascent through forest service roads may be tedious, but it offers staggering views of the Cascades. For those who dislike riding on roads, an alternative approach involves a scenic, albeit steep, climb through Ranger Creek Trail. This begins at a parking lot off hwy 410, near Buck Creek Campground/Ranger Creek Airfield. From here, connect to the White River Trail and make a long, beautiful climb to "the cabin," a well-known waypoint.
Once the uphill grind is conquered, prepare for a challenging descent filled with steep slopes and tight switchbacks. Choices abound—either descend through Ranger Creek or take the slightly less daunting Palisades. Both options feature the trail’s characteristic steep grades and scenic overlooks, perfect for the adventurous cyclist.
For multi-day excursions, incorporate nearby trails like Skookum Flats and Crystal Mountain. Camping is abundant, and cabin rentals are available on HWY 410. Note that some parking areas require a "Discovery Pass" available online—Buck Creek is an exception.
The Ranger Creek Trail provides an unmatched blend of scenic beauty and challenging terrains, perfect for the cyclist looking for a trail that pushes the limits. With towering views of Mt. Rainier and heart-racing descents, the Ranger Creek Trail epitomizes an epic mountain biking experience.Strap on that helmet, brace for the climb, and revel in the descent—a fulfilling and exhilarating ride is guaranteed.