Mount Rainier National Park Road Tour
Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and Mount Hood are all on the menu for this road biking tour through the central peaks of Oregon and Washington State.
We begin near Mount St. Helens and then travel through Mount Rainier National Park. These roads are so remote, you won't believe that some of these roads are paved. They sneak up on to the shoulders of these massive peaks and make for good long climbs, stunning views and thrilling descents. Our route to the base of Mount Adams is a beautiful forest service road that takes us right to Tahklahk Lake for lunch. Then down, down, down into the Columbia River Gorge for a lap around Mount Hood to finish the week.
We stay at tiny inns along the way with a splurge the last night right in Hood River. More questions? Call us at 800-845-2453. We'll answer all your questions about this amazing trip.
After meeting in Hood River, we will shuttle north to the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center. Here we will learn how these giant volcanoes formed and what is most likely to happen next! An earthquake triggered the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The subsequent collapse of the north flank caused the largest landslide-debris avalanche ever.After lunch we will depart for our afternoon ride along Riffe Lake as we make our way up, down, and up again to the western slope of Mount Rainier and the tiny town of Ashford. Here we will stay at the famous Whittaker’s Bunkhouse, where many a Rainier ascent was staged. We’ll go out for a great dinner just up the road before hitting the hay in preparation for tomorrow’s big ride. TOTAL MILEAGE: 45 miles
Today’s ride is truly stunning as we work our way up the western slope of Mount Rainier. We’ll take a rest stop at the Longmire Museum before we continue on our way to the Nisqually Glacier. Many of the glaciers on Mount Rainer were advancing until 1850. Since then, they have both advanced and retreated, with the most recent trend being a slow retreat. After a break at the top we will begin a descent with incredible views of the Tatoosh Peaks looming all around us. Eventually we find ourselves surrounded by the old growth forests which make up the eastern slope of the national park. We will have lunch at the Grove of the Patriarchs where a short hike brings a new appreciation for these giant trees. From here we continue down into the town of Packwood. TOTAL MILEAGE: 63 miles
We begin with a ride through the Cowlitz River Valley before we head south through Gifford Pinchot National Forest on our way to Mount Adams. Pinchot was the first chief of the US Forest Service and we have him to thank for these public lands. We climb on this peaceful forest service road, which has almost no traffic. The only bad news is that the pavement ends just before we get to Takhlakh Lake, so we will jump in the van because the reflection of Mount Adams in the lake at its base is worth the trip. From here we head down, down, down into the valley of the White Salmon River to our home for the night in the tiny town of Trout Lake. TOTAL MILEAGE: 55 miles
You’ll want a hearty breakfast today since we will be riding almost 50 miles before lunch. It’s a big morning, and we’re going to have some incredibly beautiful and fun riding. We’ll be cruising along quiet country roads through lovely pastoral settings of open farm country and tiny towns with wonderful vintage post offices. Our perspective of the volcanoes will be quite different today as Mount Adams towers majestically over the landscape. You’ll really understand why the Native Americans in this area revered this volcano. After a full morning ride we’ll have lunch in the quaint town of White Salmon. We’ll then shuttle over the bridge into Hood River and park the van at the historic Hood River Hotel where we will spend the night. There is still more scenic riding to be had on the historic Columbia River Highway. Although this road is closed to cars, it’s easy to imagine driving your Model T through the impressive masonry worked into the stone tunnels and guardrails. There are awesome views of the river and it’s hard to believe it can be that blue. This is a short out and back, but it’s so lovely that folks often ride it twice! Our rooms should be ready by now and we’ll settle into the historic hotel for the night. TOTAL MILEAGE: 49 miles AM, 12 miles PM (optional)
We wake up in Hood River with several choices for the morning, beginning with what type of fruit you would like on your waffle! In fact this morning’s theme is fruit as we will be riding the famous Hood River Fruit Loop, past orchards, farm stands and country stores where you can find everything from ripe peaches to blackberry jam to pear brandy. The van will be following us to pick up any purchases. The whole loop is 35 miles, but we ride it as an out and back so that we can stay on the back country roads. Besides being known for its luscious fruit, Hood River has recently been designated as the wind surfing capital of the world. Perhaps we’ll view some “board heads” at play along the waterfront while we have lunch. Afterwards, we will load up in the van and shuttle back to town. TOTAL MILEAGE: 35 miles
Accommodations may be changed due to availability. Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the trip. Low gears and at least 23cc tires are recommended for this trip. Although there is a lot of climbing, super lightweight tires are not appropriate.
Overall Rating: Intermediate/Advanced
Physical Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced
Altitude: 150 - 6,000 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.