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.
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.