5 days in a little slice of paradise, but on the Black Diamond dates, we turn up the heat! Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed town in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, is the perfect host for your singletrack adventure, and is the perfect host village for 5 days of riding, fine-tuned for advanced riders.
The Cascades Mountain Range in the Pacific North West are a geological wonder. The mountain bike is the most perfect way to experience and explore the region to reveal a story of continental shift. As we connect our tires to the soils, minerals, lichen, roots and transition through ancient trees, our high vantage points give way to “young” volcanos, and we see where 2 continents collided, with a twist.
Your week will be packed with choice lines, no doubt, but a week in Leavenworth affords a great mix of food and brews within a walking distance from your hotel. If you are like the guides, you might like a little something at the end of a good day of riding, like a “cool-down” lap. Just a couple pedal strokes from the hotel, you can hit the 2nd Velosolutions Pumptrack in North America (Brooklyn was first), hit a flow trail or push something steep for an overhanging view, followed by a descent back to the Wenatchee River for a dip and a beer before cleaning up for dinner.
Is This Ride For You?
You love a variety of fast and flowy riding mixed in with rocky, janky, technical trails to keep you on your toes. You can handle long climbs and don’t mind hopping off the bike for the occasional push so you can see the best views and gain access to higher elevation trails that are more technical, challenging and fun. You like to play with your bike and look for the extra tech lines littered with roots. You’re up for some long climbs, but you really love the shuttle days so you can let loose and squeeze in some extra laps. You have strong bike handling skills and have mastered cornering techniques, but you’re always looking to push your skills and grow as a rider. You love tacky dirt, loam, rocks, clay, sand and anything else you can get under your tires. After all, these mountains and terrain are a mountain biker’s paradise.
Day 1. Headed for the Dry Side
Willkommen to Seattle! We’ll pick you up in the morning either at the airport, in downtown Seattle or in Issaquah before heading to our headquarters to get fitted on your Giant Trance (unless you opt to bring your own bike). Once bikes are tuned and ready to go, we will load up and head over Snoqualmie Pass to the dry side, as “Washingtonians” call Eastern Washington.
Your first ride is an old classic, Kachess. This ride will start with a long flat fire service road next to a lake which will transition into a climb up 3000 feet over 4 miles. Enjoy the view of peaks, lake and the majestic Mount Rainier before we drop in. From here, except for a short double-climb, it’s blissful downhill single track through meadows, across streams and a few technical sections back to where the ride began. Overall, a spicy blue square ride.
Lunch will be on top of the ridge before we descend or along the trail depending on your energy levels. After a cooler raid at the creek next to the pickup point, you will have a scenic 1 hour shuttle over another pass before we land in Leavenworth, heart of the Cascades. Check into lodging and it’s time to eat. Welcome to little Bavaria.
Day 2. Leavenworth
Leavenworth is easy to love. Tourism has been the driving industry in this small mountain village since the logging work came to a halt in the 50s. As a means of attempting to keep a dyeing town from becoming a ghost town, the city counsel took a leap and added a façade to the front of a couple buildings downtown to mimic Bavarian architecture. It worked, very well. Today Leavenworth is packed year-round with visitors looking to shop and stay in this out-of-place gem. So, what do we want to do there? Leavenworth hosts mountains and rivers on every side with exceptional opportunity to ride, kayak, fish, hike, climb, ski, and most important, ride mountain bikes.
Today’s ride will start with a pedal to breakfast tacos and coffee. Following we make a gentle warm up climb through neighborhoods to Ski Hill. Depending what we want to accomplish for the day, we will either start with a steep climb, or a very steep climb! Either way, we have a great set of options as we hit a network of trails ranging from smooth flowy and wide, to steep, narrow ridge lines.
After a fun morning on the obligatory Leavenworth trail system, we coast to lunch back in town. From here, we have options. Kick back and enjoy the village? We could also take another lap on Rosy Boa or any number of options.
Day 3. Tronsen Mission
Eat a big breakfast, this will be a big day of riding. Shuttle van will make a half hour drive up to our drop point. We will be taking full packs of fuel; we are getting our there today.
The van will drop us with most of the climbing done high above Swauk Pass. This is a rarely ridden ridgeline, due to it’s remote location and tricky logistics. The overall ride is 7000 feet of descending with 2000 feet of gain over 35 miles. Yes there are variations we could consider that could include a hot descent with the option to run it twice, but the planned ride is going to be a tour. You will spend a long day on ridgelines connecting technical single track by way of remote 4x4 roads to a segment of the Devils Gulch, transitioning to Mission Ridge for a steep finish to the pavement. You can hop in the shuttle if you must at mile 25, but we recommend coasting the gentle chip seal the last 10 miles through peach orchards to the Wenatchee river. The ride is just amazing.
You won’t likely want a post ride, ride, but if you do, we will be ready. Dinner is going to taste extra good tonight!
Day 4. #2 to Sage Hills
By day 4, you are likely waking up sore. Sleep in and extra hour, or join us at the river for stretches and choice yoga poses. We still have 2 days of riding ahead. After breakfast and coffee, hop in the shuttle rig.
We are headed 30 minutes to the Columbia River then headed up to the Number 2 Canyon trailhead. Tucked around a mountain blocking your view of the river, we will hit the trail. Today’s ride will be less intense both technically and physically than the last, to balance out the challenge from the epic on Tronsen.
The trails at #2 are mostly smooth hard clay with comfortable intervals of shade until we hit the downhill portion which will present long views and lots of sun exposure. Frist up, Stairway to Heaven. The grade makes for fast climbing through the ponderosa pines and tall grasses with the occasional basalt outcrops. We will climb until we hit our first view of the river, then potentially decide to add a loop dropping back to the trailhead and regain the elevation again before finishing the climb to the summit.
From the top, there are 2 “summits” so we will ride to each trying to decide which is higher. After photos, a refill and flipping switches on suspension, it’s time to descend.
The ride down is 4500 feet of flowy, fast, snake-shaped trail. We will take breaks to let the arm pump relax and use it to name peaks and geological features easily seen from this vantage. Glacier Volcano over there, The Enchantments just to the left, wheat fields of the eastern side of the state over there… This view presents a story of Cascadia. The great Columbia River is roughly where a micro continent collided with North America. The “seam” we are looking at is an oceanic trench, pinched by colliding continents, filled in with basalt flows and covered by soils imported from our friends in the Kootenay Rockies. These rugged mountains provide a playground for mountain bikers, with a varied history geologist are only beginning to understand.…. So yeah, we are taking photos!
As we get close to the Columbia River and the town of Wenatchee, we will have segments of exposed single track and tightly twisting trails through the grasses and sages.
We will finish the ride coasting through town to a pub where our van will be waiting. Back in Leavenworth we will head out for our last dinner of the week and hit the sack, or, enjoy one of many great venues for some after dinner gelato, cocktails or brews.
Day 5. Back to the West Side
The shuttle back to the Seattle area is 2.5 hours from this point. We will pack up in the morning, eat some more amazing breakfast tacos, drink great coffee and cross to the other side of the Cascades.
We are not done riding yet; we need to hit Raging River. This new trail network hosts enough single track to keep you busy for days. So we will go right in for the primo selection.
Ride the one way climb trail for the first half of the mountain then hop off to the forest service road for the second half so you can spend more time talking with your new friends on the way up. From the summit, we will see deep into the western slopes in one direction and Mount Rainier in the other. That is unless, you get the winter view of grey. Sounds bleak, but the fog in the douglas firs is nothing to apologize about.
Ready to hit trail? We are starting with Canyon Creek Downhill. This “Blue Square” is packed with roots, corners, berms and lines in a dark forest of loam heaven through hemlocks and firs. The lower segments give to faster trail and a couple fun hips with landings in just the right place. When we come out, we will need to tackle a stiff climb for 1000 feet. Following this last climb of the week, we will hit the most popular trail in the state, Poppin Tops. This flow line is so fun. Doubles, tables, berms, views. A perfect conclusion to a week of riding hard.
From here guides will break down and pack your bikes, unless you used ours, while eating lunch in the park. We will be back in Seattle to drop you off for an early afternoon flight out of town, or you could hit up our favorite hotel in Seattle, The Thompson, to wash off the ride and enjoy the evening overlooking the Puget Sound.