Stampede Pass to Tacoma Pass via Lizard Lake
While I embrace the uncertainty of adventure cycling, I prefer to have some confidence that a route actually pushes through the rough stuff and actually goes somewhere. This is why I appreciate the NW Gravel Riders Facebook group – new routes that are ridable and that don’t dead end are posted nearly every day.
My buddy Erik and I have been poking around Stampede Pass lately and when we saw a new route posted by Michael Grundmann we figured why not. Per usual we started from the Hayak parking lot and rode the Palouse to Cascade Trail to Forest Road 54 (Stampede Pass Road) where we turned right and began the long, yet familiar, climb. At Stampede Pass we turned left at Lizard Lake and began a pleasant gradual descent on good gravel.
The climb above Lizard Lake is, for the most part, a gradual grade on deteriorating roads. Finally the road ended and we had to hike-a-bike along of path paved with downed saplings. I carried my bike while Erik elected to push. Both methods worked fine and without much cussing or fussing we returned to disused but ridable gravel road. The going got a bit rough here, but we rolled along on 40mm tires without incident.
The descent down to Tacoma Pass was rough in places but overall the drop was fairly easy. Once on Forest Road 41 we were all smiles until we hit the loose gravel. The final mile or two before Forest Road 54 is lose front wheel-gabbing fresh(ish) gravel and you really have to pay attention to avoid washing out. Vehicles coming in the uphill direction at high speeds are also a concern on this section.
Once back on 54 we made a fast descent while avoiding crater-sized potholes, and then it was back on the P2C. No matter how many times I try to fight it I always end up time trailing back up the trail.
34 miles and 2900 feet, not a bad afternoon in the mountains.
Route info: Bushwhacking with Erik | Ride | Strava