Ride This : Windy Ridge NF25/99

As of July 2023 there is a landslide on NF25 coming from the South. So the way to complete this route is starting at Randle WA. From Randle NF26 can be used to make a good loop. Always check the road status (links in text below) before riding.

Slightly shorter Alternative route can be found here: link to Strava Route

Almost an institutional ride now, this being my 4th time. This ride has mind blowing landscape and killer mountain views of Mt. St Helens, WA. With the added bonus that its 100% traffic free delight (right now).

Mileage: 81 Miles
Elevation Gain 8,000ft
Elevation profile – Out and back. with large amounts of climbing.
Terrain: 100% road
Ride Route: here Ridewithgps
Services: Limited to none, recommendations in text below
Bicycle: Road or touring

NF25 and 99 are closed winters, gated and generally open up to motor vehicles in Early July. This translates into 81miles of car free enjoyment. NF 25 is a tree lined beautiful road that twists it’s way through the Gifford Pinchot National forest up to the first viewpoint of Mt. St Helen’s. The visual rewards come early at mile 15 with a great view of St Helens, from there a mix of descending and climbing the real fun comes when you break tree line on NF99 and are exposed to the dramatic rocky, wind-scoured landscape and fantastic views of St. Helens, Mt, Hood, Adams and Rainier sometimes. The top section of NF99 is rolling, twisty and a visual delight. The lower section is a bit of a climb from 2800ft to 4,000ft, a nice climb.

You can leave your car at the Pine Creek Information Center to start. Here are bathrooms but no other facilities. (An alternative route is to start in Randle Washington and head South on 25 (instead of North). The road from Randle will probably be open for traffic, but NF99 will still be gated and closed. Alt Route here, warning I have not ridden the miles from Randle to NF99)

Since services are close to non-existent, and also depending on when you ride, the roads closed, you have to be prepared.

Road Status: Check NF99 status  Here . Check NF25 status here

Food – Take the food you need, see below for drop bag details.

Tools – During the times when the road is closed for traffic there can be debris on the road and light rock debris especially at the top of Windy Ridge. Some of these rocks can be sharp – worst case they can slice your tyre- make sure you take tyre boots and the rest of the puncture fix gear you need,

Hydration – In moderate temperatures, I have ridden this with 3 large water bottles, I would say I am an efficient person. In hotter conditions, I carry a musette bag with 2-3 extra bottles in it and hide them under trees at the marked point on the gps map – about 25 miles in, where there is a snow park. This is great to ensure 2 bottles to the top of Windy Ridge then upon return you have another 2 for the way back. If you leave food bars here, make sure they are fully sealed.

UPDATE 2023: of recent years I have also found that a nice stop and a way to get fresh cold water is to carry a water filter. Iron Creek Falls is a beautiful place, easy to walk down to and easy to filter from, its about 1/2 a mile off the route very close to the bottom of NF99

UPDATE : NORWAY PASS : As of July 2023 the water source at Norway Pass has been closed off

There are springs / rivers that run beneath the roads, most are not accessible, they are far down and on sharp rocky descents. If you go at a time when there has been a lot of snow, you will find quite a small water falls along NF99 that you can filter from.

first_climb_view_01_webFrom the first viewpoint at mile 15

A little bit of snow on NF25
Cool Waterfallnf_99_view_08_webnf_99_view_09_webspirit_lake_10_web
Spirit Lakenf_99_view_11_webnf_99_view_12_web

Mt. Hood in the background thereriders_13_web

6 thoughts on “Ride This : Windy Ridge NF25/99

Add yours

  1. Another “Buckyride” that I checked off my list. I did this one last week and it is absolutely a must ride. Nothing to add to the description, it is accurate and the views are stunning. Think about your supplies though as there is absolutely nothing, which can be hard on a warmer day. There is a lot of climbing to do… thanks again for sharing this ride!

    1. Hey super, I love that ride. I thought I mentioned pretty heavily about supplies though?… there a couple of water stops, as long as you make sure you have food for 70miles you will be fine.

  2. The road 25 car-free ride does not work. The road is never gated allowing cars to drive as far as they dare, snow or no snow. The road is, however, designated as closed which means the snow-free sections will have debris/trees/garbage that will never be cleaned up until at least the road officially opens.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: