Trail:Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
From Evergreen Trail Guide
This trail is open to bikes on odd-numbered days only, between June 1 and October 31.
This trail follows the Snoqualmie River, rolling along on the opposite side of the river from the MF Road (FR56). It has tricky spots, but the lower stretches are appropriate for intermediate riders. The lower trail is nice and in very good shape; the upper 2/3rds above Dingford is more technical. Top third is wildest and beautiful, middle third is roughest, lower third is most maintained and perhaps has more rolling elevation.
FR-56 and the trail connect in four places: At the main trailhead ("Middle Fork TH") (bridge); at the Dingford Creek trailhead (bridge); near Goldmyer hot springs (bridge); at the upper trailhead (near Dutch Miller). The road is gated and closed to motor vehicles past the Dingford Trailhead. Goldmyer Hot Springs is a nice natural hot springs. See . Reservations are advisable, particularly on the weekends.
You can do this trail in a number of ways:
- Ride out-and-back, as far as you want. (max 14mi x2)
- Ride a loop using FR56 and the trail, to the Dingford Creek trailhead and back. (DC is about 5mi(?) from the main trailhead.)
- Park at Dingford Creek trailhead, ride past gate up road to Middle Fork Trail 1003, come down trail to Dingford Creek crossing (don't miss the Dingford trail instersection to get back to car!) 17 miles. This is a great route if you're not in for a full epic.
If you go all the way to the upper TH it's well worth going the extra few hundred yards to the DMG TH, great lunch spot by the river. Some deluxe camp sites with grills too.
When is it open?
Trail is open to bicycles June 1 through October 31, on odd-numbered dates only. The three year test period (2005-2007) has been superseded by this permanent arrangement. Please continue to share the trail and minimize user conflicts by yielding to hikers and equestrians.
How to find it
- I-90 Eastbound to Exit 34.
- Turn left off the exit, cross the highway, pass major truck stop.
- Road will curve left. About 0.5mi from freeway, turn right onto SE Middle Fork Rd. (Set odometer to zero.)
- Road splits after less than 1.0mi. After about a mile this turns into Forest Road #56. Soon, the pavement ends.
- After 5.0mi on MF Rd, you'll cross a major bridge. At 9.5mi you'll pass the entries to the CCC Road and CCC Trail. After about 11.5mi, look for the Forest Service trailhead parking lot on the right. Turn in and park. If you get to a major T intersection, you've gone too far.
You'll need a NW Forest Pass.
Beware of Car Break-ins: a few car break-ins have been reported at the main trailhead. Don't leave anything valuable in your car. If you find vandalism or theft, please report it to the Forest Service. [contact info].
It takes a solid hour to get to the trailhead from Seattle. Add extra time; road has lots of pot holes.
Some of the trail is clay, and after substantial rain those areas are slick and susceptible to damage. The wood bridges are slick like ice when wet. It's best to ride somewhere else when it has recently rained hard, and let the trail dry out for a few days.
Be prepared for a lot of dismounting even in the best of conditions due to numerous punchy little climbs.
If you go east past the Dingford Creek TH junction, be prepared to make a number of stream crossings (some significant) by fording.
Check the Forest Service Web Page.
All blowdowns cleared, some mud but other wise great. Hit it before the brush gets bad. 6-2-13
There aren't really any turns in the trail.
Places where hints may be helpful:
Near Goldmyer: If you're riding downstream, once you get to the Goldmyer bridge, stay to the right. You'll have to ford Burntboot Creek. 7-31-10 nice foot logs make crossing easy.
Near Dingford: When you're getting close to Dingford, don't miss the signed split in the trail; you can bypass the Dingford bridge & TH altogether if you stay on the high side, or go down to the bridge.
Printable map: File:MidForkSnoqualmie-printable.pdf
Local Points of Interest
Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend, old fashoned burger stand.
Mileage (taken from GreenTrails map):
- MF TH to Dingford TH/bridge: 5.5mi
- Dingford to Goldmyer: 5.1mi (new bridge)
- Goldmyer to upper end of trail: 3.4mi
- MF Trailhead @ 1030ft
- Dingford @ 1500ft
- Goldmyer @ 1800ft
- Upper Trailhead (Dutch Miller): 2800ft
So the total trail gains about 1800ft from bottom to top.
More mileage for you:
- MF Parking lot to Dingford trailhead by ROAD: 6.1 mi. (road is gated here)
- MF Parking lot to Goldmyer trailhead by ROAD: 10.7 mi.
- MF Parking lot to the upper trailhead by ROAD: 13.3 mi.
The wheels are turning again on the Middle Fork Trail, by Greg Johnston in the Seattle P-I, September 29, 2005
Updates below are in blog order (reverse chronological order).
June, 2008 The US Forest Service has determined that the three year trial period was a success, and that the trail will be open to bicycles each year, on odd days, between June 1 and October 31. The variable opening date was a hassle, and the trail tends to be quite wet in the Spring.
The Agreement Here is a copy of the agreement BBTC signed (in 2005?) to open the Mid Fork back up to bicycles on a three year trial period. The agreement also included BBTC's support of a future Wilderness Bill in the Mid Fork Valley. The agreement was signed by Alpine Lakes Protection Society, BBTC, Middle Fork Outdoor Recreation Coalition and Washington Trails Association. View the agreement (300k pdf)
August 27, 2005 Middle Fork Trail has been reopened to bicycles on odd numbered days during the dry season. This is the culmination of almost 10 years of work by dedicated volunteers who have attended dozens of meetings and worked with the Forest Service and other user groups during this long process.
The trail will be open to mountain bikers on odd numbered days from April 15 [this has now changed to June 1] to October 31. The trail may open later, or close earlier due to weather conditions, if Rangers feel it is necessary. Please pass the word that it is very important that mountain bikers respect the closure if we want the trail to remain open.
This is the start of a 3 year test period, after which the odd-day mountain bike opening will be evaluated. If the test period goes well, the trail may then be permanently open to bikes on odd-days during the dry season. As part of this test period, BBTC will be doing trail maintenance, educating users, and have volunteer mountain bike patrols on the trail to educate users.
July 2005 We heard that the FS had issued the decision referenced below, but they have not yet done it. We hope they do it soon. As soon as the decision is issued, then the official comment and appeal process will begin.
April 2005: Decision issued on Revised Access and Travel Management Plan - Alternative E once again selected.
The Forest Service has issued notice about their decision to implement Alternative E, which is our preferred alternative. This is in response to an appeal made on the original decision to support Alternative E.
There is now a 30 day waiting period, in which time the decision can be appealed. The FS tells me that there's better than a 50% chance that the decision will once again be appealed.
If the decision is NOT appealed, the process moves forward and we can continue to work with the MidFORC coalition to open the Middle Fork Trail to mountain bikes on odd days during the dry season. Its possible that this trail could be opened by the end of summer, but its also possible that administrative roadblocks could push it back until next year.
If the decision IS appealed within the 30 day window, the FS has 60 days to work with the appelant to address their concerns. After the 60 days the FS can decide to uphold their earlier decision, or make changes to satisfy the appelant. If this is the scenario that plays out, next summer is likely is the earliest that we would once again be able to ride this beautiful trail.
Forest Service Website with more info about the decision.
January 2005: We need your help!
The Middle Fork Snoqualmie Access Travel Plan Environmental Assessment has been adjusted to work with the needs of the in-holders. None of the agreed upon changes has any real effect on bicyclists or the Middle Fork Trail. We are still on track to have access on odd numbered days during the drier season between April 15 and October 15, subject to Forest Service decision based on rainfall. It should also be noted that bicycle access is on a 3 year provisionary status, as was previously negotiated. The plan can be reviewed here on the USFS site.
Alternative E is still the preferred alternative for bicyclists and recreationists. We are in a 30 day comment period until February 22. It is very important the Forest Service hear from supporters of alternative E. Please write, email, call, or FAX your comments in support of Alternative E before February 22nd. Remember the Forest Service has been very fair in dealing with all the competing interests in this area. They are not our enemy - Thank them for their continued efforts to arrive at an equitable solution and indicate you support the decision to choose alternative E. Comment period is ended.
November, 2004: The process is bumping along slowly. The Forest Service is still working on details of the miners' challenge to the Access & Travel Management plan. No public hearings are schedule but there will be a comment period once it is released again.
December 5, 2003: The decision has been withdrawn to accomodate an appeal. As part of the ATM (Access and Travel Managment) process, a final appeal window of 45 days was given. Several in-holders (property owners) in the area appealed the decision. Given the agency’s appeal process it was not possible to address the inholders’ access rights within the prescribed timeframe. This was an anticipated "bump in the road" and it looks like it will delay the process by several months.
Sept. 30th, 2003: The forest service has announced the acceptance of "Alternative E", which had been under review following a period of public comments. Mountain bike access has been reinstated to the following trails for a three year trial period: 1003, 1003.1, 1003.01, 1003.2, and 1002. Access will be from roughly April 15th to November 1st, depending on trail conditions. Mountain bike use will be restricted to odd numbered calendar days only. The forest service decision can be found on-line at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/projects/mf_atm/.
Thanks to the many, many people who took the time to weigh in on this great trail and area, your voices had a huge impact on the process!
If there was ever a trail worth working for this is it.
The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie river basin is based around a deep forest access road which follows the Snoqualmie River. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley is a scenic natural recreation area within 1.5 hours of downtown Seattle. The wild natural beauty of the Middle Fork Valley is unsurpassed by other lower elevation recreational areas in Western Washington State. The Middle Fork Trail (MFT) follows the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River all the way to the end of the Forest Road, ending at the privately run Goldmeyer Hot Springs.
One of the most beautiful trails in the Puget Sound Region, the MFT presents the essence of the Western Cascade foothills. Breathtaking views take in Yosemite-like cliffs and the rushing Snoqualmie River. Old growth forest drips with ever present moisture and life. Raucous creeks pour through moss covered rocks and massive trees. The river is a constant companion, widening and narrowing through groupings of falling trees and rocky beaches. On hot days, multiple swimming holes beckon at every turn. The trail twists up and down but never climbs nor descends too steeply. The multitude of rocks, roots, and wood trail bridges make for a challenging trail though, and what at first glance is an easy walking trail soon surprises with its challenges. The trail is also long - it would take a full summer day and a lot of Power Bars to ride the entire length and back. Where else can you do that within an easy drive of Seattle?
Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club has pledged 300 hours a year of trail work and education to this trail. This isn't a new concept; we're following on the tradition set by the club in the mid 1990s when bikes were allowed on the trail. The agreement to provide the volunteer commitment is part of a three year trial to allow bikes on the trail. Giving back to the trails and treating all those that enjoy the trails with respect is part and parcel with using the trails.