From Evergreen Trail Guide
Please see South Fork Snoqualmie for information about the Forest Service land adjoining Olallie State Park. What was referred to as "Olallie Phase 2" is now called South Fork Snoqualmie to remove confusion.
The Olallie State Park trail up to Mount Washington is currently being planned by Washington State Parks. This phase will be an out-and-back up to Mount Washington, and trail mileage could be between 5 and 7 miles each way.
State Parks has run into more issues in developing a detailed trail design that they can use to put the project out to bid. The project has again been delayed. Justin, Jon, and Doug W are meeting with the Director of State Parks in March '08 to put try and sort out these ongoing issues. Keep reading this page for detailed info. Map of Phase 1
This trail will eventually connect with the FS's proposed South Fork Snoqualmie trail system, directly to the east.
How to find it
This trail will be accessed from the the Iron Horse Trail by coming from Rattlesnake Lake (exit 32).
The trail is not yet constructed.
Take Exit 32 and head south to Rattlesnake lake. At the end of the road, park at one lots and find a sign that points you to the Iron Horse Trail. From there, ride about 1 mile east, at which point Cedar Butte will be on your right.
The trail will begin by climbing up Cedar Butte, then it will traverse that saddle that connects to Mount Washington. At that point the trail will climb Mount Washington on a road-to-trail conversion. Once the trail reaches the northeast flank of Mount Washington, the trail will end (but it will be connected to old logging roads).
Where the State Park trail ends, it will eventually connect to the proposed South Fork Snoqualmie trail system on Forest Service land.
Local Points of Interest
Here you might list nearby places to get a bite to eat, nearby bike shops, etc.
Iron Horse Trail, the rail-trail that runs from Twin Falls State Park, just to the west of here, all the way east to the Columbia River.
South Fork Snoqualmie, the Forest Service land directly to the east of here which will someday connect up with this trail.
This new trail will start at 1115 feet and top out at approx 3800 feet.
Trails in Olallie State Park include CEB-2 and OTW-1 through OTW-8 (see map, at bottom of page).
As a follow up to last month’s article on the Olallie Mountain Bike Trails project, a little background might be in order. A good place to start is 1995 (yes, thirteen years ago), when a proposed system of hiking and bicycling trails was developed by a range of stakeholders including the then-Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, as well as hikers, and conservationists.
The proposal envisioned the creation of new trail for bikers and hikers in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and on Washington State Parks and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands. The mountain biking portion was developed partly in recognition of disappearing biking trail opportunities at Cougar and Tiger Mountains and other locations.
In time the concept focused on the Olallie area, which encompasses 15,000 acres (24 square miles) along the north side of the ridge that divides the Cedar River and South Fork Snoqualmie Watersheds. The emphasis was road-to-trail conversion of old logging roads, with some new trail as well.
In 2000, State Parks secured funding from the Non-Highway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) program to conduct a feasibility and reconnaissance study of the Olallie area. The study was completed in 2002, and presented a conceptual framework for the project. Following the study, State Parks secured approximately $400,000 in funding from NOVA and the state for design and construction. Unfortunately, a range of problems set in at this point and the project was delayed while these issues were resolved.
Fast forward to May 2008, thirteen years from the beginning. Through the efforts of State Parks, a partnership was developed between Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and Mountain To Sound Greenway (MTSG) to complete a detailed design of the Olallie Mountain Bike Trail. With MTSG managing the design and permitting processes, Evergreen is providing the technical expertise on the specific routing to help ensure a high quality mountain bike experience.
During the months of October and November, the Evergreen and MTSG will be working together at Olallie to assess the terrain, and complete a final design and budget for the project by November 30th. This means that after years of progress and delay, we are within weeks of a completed design for a new mountain bike trail at Olallie consisting of up to nine miles of new singletrack from Cedar Butte, past Mount Washington, and up to Change Creek near US Forest Service land at South Fork Snoqualmie.
On the less-than-bright side, however, just as the project is gaining momentum we are anticipating significant funding constraints. Due to project delays over the past few years, the funding that State Parks secured for construction is set to expire mid-next year. This is about the time that trail construction would begin. Evergreen is currently assessing the situation with State Parks and as we finalize the design and budget, we plan to seek re-appropriation of funds. If the funds are not re-appropriated, our next step will be to look for new funding for construction. Either way, we still have some distance to go before we can realize the Olallie vision. So you might consider this a very positive update about some great progress we’ve made on the project.
Note: Includes source material from the Olallie Area Mountain Bike Trail Study Executive Summary (September 2002).
Last week, Evergreen’s John Lang and Justin Vander Pol met with Washington State Parks and Mountain to Sound Greenway (MTSG) to begin work on the design of the Olallie Mountain Bike Trail. Based on a feasibility study completed in September, the finished trail would consist of approximately 8.6 miles of single track, including 4 miles of new trail and 4.6 miles of road-to-trail conversation. The trail will be constructed to include easy (5% maximum sustained grade) and moderate (8%) sections, with shorter, more difficult sections (10%) requiring a little more fitness and/or suffering.
We are excited at this first important step and over the next two months Evergreen’s Art Tuftee and Mike Westra will work closely with WA State Parks and MTSG to finalize the design. Once the design is completed, much work will remain even before construction can begin. As a next step MTSG will work to secure environmental permits from Washington State and King County. In addition, Evergreen will work closely with State Parks to address funding needs for the project through state agencies and the legislature. And IF everything goes well, construction would begin next summer!
To be sure this process will not be quick or effortless, and there are plenty of obstacles in the way. It is also important to note that while the primary use for Olallie is mountain biking, Evergreen has worked closely with equestrian groups to ensure their access to these trails, in conjunction with our partnership to see the South Fork Snoqualmie project move ahead.
We are looking forward to working with State Parks and MTSG, as well as other stakeholders, to see this project to completion. More importantly, in the coming months (and years) we will need your sustained voice and your time up on the trail to highlight our strong commitment to Olallie. In particular, funding is tight right now and as we look to secure adequate funds for construction your voice to state agencies and the legislature will be invaluable. We will have a better sense for our funding needs in the coming months as we complete the design and project budget, and will update you on progress and ways you can be involved.
So in short, we have a lot of hard work in store. But you might agree that there is something worthwhile on the other side: Almost 9 miles of sweet singletrack within 25 minutes of Seattle and Bellevue, with the possibility that Olallie will simply be the gateway into a larger mountain bike network in the South Fork of Snoqualmie. Stay tuned.
Doug Walsh, Jon Kennedy and Justin Vander Pol went down to Olympia to meet with the Director of Washington State Parks, Rex Derr. We set this meeting up several months ago in response to the funding for the Mt Washington/Olallie State Park trail once again being in jeopardy. The meeting was a success and we’ve been assured that State Parks is committed to the project.
Doug will be taking over from Justin as point person on this project and the related South Fork Snoqualmie project with the FS. To contact Doug, email .
The current status and full funding for the project is still a green light, but delayed. These delays put the funding at risk unless we keep the pressure on due to grant deadlines and competing projects within State Parks (SP). SP needs to hire someone to design the trail for, and then put the project out to competitive bid for construction. They were going to partner with (hire) the Forest Service to do the design, but the staffer who was going to do it was seriously injured and the FS doesn't have another person who can do the design.
The goal of the meeting was to ensure funding for the project was secure. We also took the opportunity to educate Director Derr on what singletrack is and how it is a different experience than rail trails like the John Wayne/Iron Horse. He asked all the right questions and understands the trail experience mountain bikers want.
The SP staff in attendance included Nikki Fields, the PM for the project and Don Hoch, Puget Sound Region Manager, as well as Director Rex Derr. We were very amiable and polite, and just the fact that we were having the meeting was accomplishing our goal of escalating the issue to ensure SP leadership was behind it and would help us keep funding secure.
All in all, the mission was accomplished – and then some. This kind of meeting has the potential to pay big dividends in the future on State Park lands. Jon also took the opportunity to work with Director Derr and set up a ride on the Iron Horse with the State Parks Commissioners.
The City of Seattle's Cedar River Watershed has approached State Parks and would like to purchase a small corner of Mount Washington, as they say it is within the hydrographic watershed boundary. This little corner is critical to routing of the trail, and State Parks has assured us that this piece will not be sold to the city. map of the parcel
State Parks is partnering with the Forest Service to create a design for the new trail. The design should be completed during the 07/08 winter. State Parks will then put the project out to competitive bid in the spring, with construction happening the summer of 2008.
The project has run into two major issues which will likely delay the project one year. The estimated completion date is now August 31, 2008.
- A lawsuit was brought against State Parks to remove Trails Unlimited, an Enterprise Corporation that is part of the Forest Service, from the project. The lawsuit claimed "the appearance of impropriety" and appears to be brough by the National Trail Builders Association because they feel the Ineragency Agreement used to hire Trails Unlimited was anti-competitive. As such, Trails Unlimited will not conduct the construction portion of the project, though they may still do the design and permitting. State Parks is now investigating hiring someone to create a bid package so that this project can go out to competitive bid. Under this process the State must hire the lowest bidder who is deemed qualified to complete the project. One challenge with this process is that sealed enginnering drawings for the project must be created before the project can go to bid - thus driving up the cost of the project.
- A section of the intentende route appears to be impassible using moderate cost construction methods and an alternate route needs to be found. On the map of Phase 1 the problem section is OTW-4 which is in a very steep cliff area. Going to the south of Mount Washington appears unlikely because the Cedar River Watershed does not allow public access in order to protect Seattle's drinking water.
It is important that a passable route be found, even if the trail needs to stay lower. Phase 1 is just the start and it is necessary for these trails to eventually connect up to the Forest Service land to the East so that Phase 2 is possible in the future. State Parks is investigating alternate routing options.
State Parks has selected Trails Unlimited as the contractor to design and build the trail. Trails Unlimited is an enterprise corporation that is a part of the US Forest Service, which allowed them to bypass the competitive bidding requirement for this kind of project.
BBTC has been involved in meetings with State Parks and Trails Unlimited, and have been actively voicing our design goals and opinions about routing, design and construction techniques. We have some concerns about the types and sizes of machinery that will be used for construction. The contractor will be using a combination of 4' wide dozers and mini-excavators. It is the opinion of many in the local trail building community that dozers are not capable of building as high a quality of trail as a mini-excvator can. We also are concerned that a 4' wide machine will result in a wider gauge trail than is ideal. One thing to mitigate our concerns is that a wider trail will become narrower over the course of 5 years.
Flagging has begun for the project, but ran into a snag on the North flank of Mount Washington. This area is very steep and rocky, and would require extensive blasting to bench in a trail in this area. Blasting is not feasible on this project due to cost, nasty permitting requirements, and Trails Unlimited does not have a Washington blasting license. Right now, State Parks is meeting with the Cedar River Watershed to see if they can get permission to route the upper portion of the trail on the South flank of Mount Washington. This is a bit of a challenge since the watershed does not allow public access in order to protect the safety of our drinking water.
Washington State Parks has secured funding for construction of Phase I of the Olallie mountain bike trail system. This trail will be approximately 6 miles of singletrack that will be ridden as an out-and-back. The trail will start at the Iron Horse trail, near Cedar Buttle and will end near the summit of Mount Washington.
BBTC is actively working with Washington State parks to ensure mountain bikers are involved in the design and construction process, and help State Parks build an excellent singletrack trail. This section of trail will be completed by Fall, 2007.
Mt. Washington mountain bike trail map 2 mb pdf This map is a schematic, and the actual route will vary slightly from what is shown here to take into consideration appropriate slope grades and soil/forest conditions. This phase will include the following trail segments: OTW-1 through OTW-7 and MWC-1 through parts of MWC-3. CEB-2 is an alternate start to the route, since the pink area listed as DNR land is now owned by State Parks.
Art Tuftee has spent several days investigating conditions, and some of the roads (OTW-2 & OTW-3) are already decomissioned. It is the professional opinion of BBTC that it will be more cost effective, provide a better user experience, and result in a more sustainable trail with lower maintenance costs if new trails are created that run parallel to the old roads rather than construct trails on the decomissioned road beds.
BBTC is committed to working with State Parks to assist them with the process and ensure that a trail is created that:
- Is environmentally sustainable
- Is an excellent user-experience for mountain bikers
- Takes into considation the interaction with other user groups
- Is durable and does not require substantial ongoing maintenance