Best Alpine Mountain Bike Rides Near Seattle

Mountain Biking Washington
July 29th, 2019

There aren't many places you can mountain bike trails from the sea to the sky on the same day, let alone just a couple of hours. Nestled between Puget Sounds and the Cascade Mountain Range, however, is a place where you can. From dense rainforests to the high alpine where the views stretch for miles on end, Seattle's unique geographic position in the Pacific Northwest makes for some of the most diverse scenery and mountain biking you'll ever experience. While many of the lower elevations trails are well known, the avid mountain bike experts at the evo    Seattle bike shop lent their knowledge to round up some of the best alpine mountain bike rides in the Seattle area for you start checking out and checking off your list!


1. Suntop (mt. Rainier area)

For some of the most stunning views of Mt. Rainier you'll ever get to see from the saddle of a mountain bike, head on out to the Suntop trail, park od the Highway 410 trail system. Marked by a fast and flowy trail through the forest with several incredible peaks at Washington's most iconic volcano along the way. Although riding Suntop as a roundtrip loop is certainly attainable for the average rider, there's no denying that sometimes you just want to go downhill and, alas Suntop can also be shuttled for hot laps with the crew. If you're looking for a killer lunch spot in between mountain bike shuttles, head on up to the  Suntop Fire Look out for some panoramic views and a covenient  picnic table.

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2. ape canyon trail (mount st. helens area)

Riding through the plains of a volcanic blast zone is a pretty unique experience and one that Mount St. Helens can offer. With the Ape Canyon trailhead starting lower on the mountain and winding through an old-growth forest that was miraculously spared by the 1980 eruption, you eventually pop out in the Plains of Abraham and navigate across the vast expanse of relatively flat, barren landscapes. If you time your ride right in the spring or early summer months, you may get treated to beautiful wildflowers blooms. Otherwise, the experience has been likened to  riding across the surface of the moon. Overall, the Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham trails boost a balanced mix of climbing and white-knuckling over fields of volcanic pumice rock! It's worth noting that the Ape Canyon Trail is a multi-use trail so hikers, dog-walkers  and other recreators may be present.

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3. angels staircase loop (methow valley area)

If you're looking for a physically gruelling challenge intermixed with incredible alpine views, then the Angels Staircase loop is beckoning your name.  Although certainly not for the faint of heart,  those that actually complete the loop all hold fast to the notion that this mountain bike epic is just that... epic! Chock full with expansive views of jagged peaks, alpine lakes, wildflowers, old-growth trees and 'no-fall zone' ledges, the Angels Staircase loop is one of those rides that isn't done justice by words or photos. Topping out at 8,100 ft this is the highest elevation singletrack trail in Washington that's open to mountain bike so pack your calories, bring plenty of water and get ready to log some miles. Note: There are a couple of hike-a-bike sections so be prepared!

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4. stafford creek trail (north teanaway area)

With the lower portion of the Stafford Creek trail winding through a densely canopied forest and through some fairly rocky and technical sections, the 5.8-mile uphill leg of this ride is a hearty challenge. That said, your efforts are well-rewarded with an initial technical downhill descent that eventually evolves into smooth, fast and flowy singletrack. From the top (i.e. Navajo Pass) you're treated to awesome views of the Stuart Mountain Range - for an even more panoramic experience, you can ditch your mountain bike here and hike up the steep Country Line Trail to Navajo Peak! While it's possible to do this ride in shoulder seasons, several small creek crossings make it ideal for the late spring and summer months.

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5. esmeralda (teanaway area)

The Esmeralda mountain bike trail is another amazing alpine trail located in the Teanaway area. The climb is full of numerous switchbacks and quickly gets you above the treeline after crossing small creeks and scenic viewpoints. There are trails in the area that are closed to mountain bikers (Longs Pass and Ingalls Lake) so be sure to read the trail signs and stay on the mountain-bike designated trail. Enjoy lunch at the top with an incredible  view of Mount Stuart.



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Not sure if you're ready for a longer endeavour? Swing by the evo Seattle store and get any necessary bike repairs and tune-ups before hitting the trail. You can also pick from their awesome fleet of the latest and greatest mountain bike rentals to take out and try before you buy.