75 miles/5100′ vertical elevation gain in Northwest Washington. Map here:Worried About Lead Poisoning Near Spada Lake | Ride | Strava
I like the ride to Sultan, either via the Mackworth Forest or by the Ben Howard road, so when I mapped out a route to Spada Lake I decided to go via the former and return via the later. From Sultan the trip to Spada Lake is an out and back, of which I’m not fond, but when venturing out into new fairly roadless areas returning the way you went is often a good option.
The shopping center at Redmond Ridge is a safe place to park with plenty of food options for when you return and consequently it’s become a go-to starting point. The descent into Snoqualmie Valley is always dicey as drivers seem to check their brains at the top of the hill. There was a chill to the morning air making it hard to believe that just a week before we were sweating under the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Seattle area.
After a quick roll across the Snoqualmie River and a short jaunt up the Snoqualmie River Trail we were climbing up the Tolt Pipeline. Normally I access the Pipeline via Big Rock Road, but Mike R had recently shown me a nice shortcut directly off of Highway 203. The climb up the Tolt is a nice gradual warmup on cush gravel, I knew that my subdued pace was holding Steve back a little, but I had to keep something in the tank for the 1100’ climb up to Spada Lake.
We climbed Stossel Creek Way up to the Mackworth Forest where we followed familiar gravel out to Cedar Lake Road and then onto the Ben Howard Road. A quick ride took us to Sultan where we were disappointed to see a Closed sign in front of the Bakery. No bear claws for us.
We climbed a nice steady grade out of Sultan and then onto a tree-lined bench that rolled pleasantly onward. The climb to Spada begins gradual but becomes significant after leaving the pavement behind. Despite some steep corners Steve and I made steady progress. Being a Midwestern American I’m fairly accustomed to gunfire, so passing the numerous informal gun ranges along the road didn’t freak me out – too much. Steve and I, however, did put a lot of trust in those folks having the knowledge, training and sanity to properly handle their firearms.
We decided not to drop the five hundred feet to the Lake shore, instead opting to turn around at the top of the hill. Despite a predominately downhill shot all the way onto Sultan we now realized that we’d had a significant tailwind on the outbound leg. Now it was time to pay a modest price for the outbound push.
From Sultan we bucked a headwind all the way down the Ben Howard and through Tualco. We got a bit of a push down the Snoqualmie River Road and soon we were climbing back to Redmond Ridge and the car.
There was not as much gravel on this route as I would have normally liked, maybe forty percent, but the gravel that we did have was nice and the paved portions, while not devoid of cars, weren’t crowded. The area between Sultan and Granite Falls seems to have some good gravel potential and I look forward to more exploration.