Route Dev : Gifford Pinchot NF 0.2b

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington is bloody huge, covering 1,400,300 acres (2200 square miles) there’s a lot to be explored.

Having been on Rainier and St Helens windy ride and Spirit Lake but never down in the Gifford closer to Oregon the plan was to explore some new roads.


Set to be a 100degree day, so we kicked off early to avoid the majority of the heat. The way up was pretty tough, new roads are rarely easy but this one was an unmaintained / not for public use Forest Rd that turned into single track. Overgrown and with trees down it took a while. Wishing we could find a way to clear this because it’s a great ride up, tough but pretty, covered and epic.

The big reward was up top with sweeping gravel curvaceous roads containing epic views of the Gifford Pinchot looking NW, tons of wildflowers and a killer fast gravel descent (disc brakes please) that gradually tapered out to a mellow rip. A few stream crossings low down provided for some fresh water on a hot day.

Gifford Pinchot Explore
Gifford Pinchot Explore
Gifford Pinchot Explore
Gifford Pinchot Explore


  • 90% off road
  • 48miles
  • 4,600ft
  • Gravel or off road bike. 35c+
  • A few water crossings for refills.

Feature :

  • Killer gravel descents
  • Amazing views from NF4220
  • Crazy rock formation and valley views.
  • Wildflowers in July

Tech Notes:

  • Epic Above treeline views – milepoint 21.8
  • Cougar Rock – milepoint 26.3
  • Refill creeks – Trout Creek 29.4 and Pass Creek 30.7

Gear Selection:

  • Gravel, cyclocross bike or bigger, with 34c or larger tyres.
  • Running tubeless on G Ones at 32PSI was perfect for me (165lb on 35c)
  • Water filter needed for streams


  • Plenty of other ways up. Might be better following a less hike a bike version than the NF412 / 41 combo we took which was quite overgrown with quite a few down branches.
  • Reversing route would be a smooth climb but would miss the fun descent on gravel NF42.

Note: Route Dev Series is an inside look of unfinished rides, scouting, reconnaissance etc. Final routes will change.

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