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The Snoqualmie River Trident

Three short, easy dirt rides near Seattle

With cooler temperatures rolling in, it’s the time of year when short day trips start to become the norm. Sure, many have the gear to battle the elements year-round, but sometimes, with shorter days, busier work/life schedules and sketchier weather, an afternoon is all one has to get out and ride.

For dual-sport/adv riders in and around Seattle, finding a stretch of open country not packed with cars is getting tougher to do, but there are a few sections of dirt roads within earshot of the city that offer a few miles of easy gravel.

Following the Snoqualmie Rivers North, Middle and South fork’s respectively, Forest Service roads 55, 56 and 57 all are accessible from nearby North Bend, Washington, which offers a nice selection of lunch and coffee spots to cap off the day’s ride.

To be clear, these aren’t technical or particularly challenging roads. In fact, one might say they make a great trio for newbies or for those trying to ease their friends into the cult of ADV. But when the clouds part and you need to scratch the itch, they’ll be close by for a quick, casual ride.

Tackle one for a fast out-and-back or take a day and ride all three – The Snoqualmie River Trident!

Forest Service Road 55 & 5510 Spur – Out and Back 18 Miles on Dirt

Directly off Interstate 90 at exit #42, FS 55 is a 5.5-mile (one way) road that terminates in the parking lot for the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail. To be frank, the road itself is nothing special. Just a straight shot that would be good for first-time dirt riders or those riding more street-oriented motorcycles. Walking the nature trail is a good opportunity to warm up, before doubling back and taking the 3.5 mile climb up the 5510 spur, which offers a nice vista viewpoint about ¾ of the way up.

Forest Service Road 56 – Out and Back 12 Miles on Dirt

After taking the elegant trip (seriously smooth asphalt!) down Lake Dorothy Road, the pavement turns into dirt with a 6 mile (one way) climb up to the trailhead parking lot for Gold Meyer Hot Spring. If you’re considering traversing on foot to the hot springs, you’d be wise to note the 24-mile round trip route (also, reservations are required). The road itself is rocky with a few beginner-intermediate spots that are good practice for “getting up on the pegs.” Additionally, the forested nature of the road can cause a few tricky shadows, so paying attention on a sunny day is a must.

Forest Service Road 57 – Out and Back 40 Miles on Dirt

In the shadow of Mt. Si, FS 57 offers a nice, twisting route through the alpine wilderness, on an overall well-maintained road. The first few miles of gravel (last few on your return), are a bit loose, but otherwise the obstacles are few. On the route, you’ll cross several bridges as you snake back and forth over the Snoqualmie river, earning a few good photo ops along the way. At 40 total miles, this is one of the best opportunities near Seattle, for a full afternoon’s worth of riding.

Derek Roberts/October 2018


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