Ride This! Panther Creek, Gifford Pinchot

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a National Forest located in southern Washington, USA, managed by the United States Forest Service. With an area of 1.32 million acres, it extends 116 km along the western slopes of Cascade Range from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River.

The lower portion of the Gifford is very accessible. Headed just outside of Carlson, Washington this route gets into some amazing scenery in a short period of time. The route crosses many creeks and runs close to the Pacific Crest trail.

Ride Parameters

82% Smooth Gravel
35c + Tyres required
3 Water bottles or a water filter
No food or commercial water sources
1/4 Mile of bike a hike, through a section where the path has been manually removed. Difficulty, medium but you will have to carry your bike and have some balance skills.
Time: My moving time was just under 5hrs and that was with a lot of photography.


I have only ridden this once in July and I see from the terrain that that depending on the time of year, conditions could drastically change. There is some high elevation and potential for land markings to change. Be prepared to turn back if unsure.

Water & Food

There are no commercial services along this route (except for right at the beginning and end where you pass a grocery mart in Carson). Carry all the food you need and for most people this ride will require 3 -4 bottles of water. If you are a camel, them you can get by with 2 as long as it’s not hot out. On route there are several creeks to refill. These places are round about 30 miles in (more details to come), where streams cross the trail. You will need a water filter like the Sawyer

From the coffee shop in Carlson, a nice warmup starts this ride. There are few miles of flattish smooth top to get the body working before diving into some gravel. This is quickly followed by some gravel climbing! but with some serious payoffs.

Mellow – Bear Creek Rd
Amazing views just past the Grassy Knoll
A good accessible water spot is at Big Huckleberry Creek (31.8miles). There are others but I found this plentiful of water and easy to get to with little bush whacking.
The smallest most awesome filter rolls up – Sawyer.
Yeah, we get a little rouge at mile 32. The approach looks like the path dead ends. But 1/4 of a mile, not too long but a little bike a hike. 6801 was decommissioned from the NF60 side, thus the earth mounds. Still passable by foot / bike.
A small river crossing. No big deal, a little scrambling.
A little dirt scramble. Good yeah.
NF6801 meets NF60
I went up NF60 for a mile or so to check out the PTC crossing. there is a vaulted toilet there and some picnic benches. But no water source. (Mile 37)
Smooth white gravel at the top of NF 60
NF60 turns to a 8ft wide smooth top before it hits Wind River, watch out for unmarked holes theres a handful and this road is fast!
Wind River Rd
Last few miles are mellow roads back into Carson. This is on Old State Rd. (mile 56 ish)
Pizza! at Backwoods brewing. pretty darn good.

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