Middle Fork Road
Located only thirty miles from Seattle the Middle Fork Road provides convenient access to quality hiking and fishing, but in the past this convenience has come at a price: weirdness. The last thing I want in the wilderness is weird, funky uncomfortable situations. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on weird (much to the chagrin of my children), but dangerous, volatile, unpredictable weird – no thanks. During the nineties and early two thousands the Middle Fork seemed to be the domain of the dangerously weird, and every time I visited the area I’d pass by numerous uninviting blue tarp camps and would hear the repeated cracks of not-so-distant gunfire. Thankfully twenty years of hard work and a lot of money has paid off and the Middle Fork Road has now been transformed into a safe, idyllic outdoor playground.
I parked in the town on Snoqualmie and pedaled the backroads to North Bend. I would have preferred to ride the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, but it was closed due to the pandemic situation. From North Bend I paralleled I90 towards the truck stop that marks the beginning of the Middle Fork.
Whoever paved the Middle Fork Road really knew how to lay asphalt; I’ve rarely rolled over a surface this smooth. Combine the silky-smooth road with the lush mountain scenery, rolling rivers, fog enshrouded craggy peaks and a total absence of vehicle traffic and you have the recipe for a postcard bike ride. I soon found out why there were no vehicles on the road: a construction worker who was manning a barricade told me that the road was washed out seven miles ahead. He said that I was welcome to ride, but to be careful of the fast-moving dump trucks. As it turned out I was only passed by one truck on the fourteen mile out and back.
The weather was a bit misty but it felt appropriate. The temperature was in the mid to upper fifties and I was rolling along at a good pace and I was fine with the light rain.
The road is now repaired and I look forward to exploring the portion past the seven mile washout. This road also seems like a wonderful easy family ride – so long as you do it on a weekday.