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Trail:South Fork Snoqualmie

From Evergreen Trail Guide

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Name South Fork Snoqualmie
Tech Rating icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif
Grunt Rating icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif
Singletrack 17%
Fire road 83%
Paved 0%
Total trail 23 mi.
Alt. change 2400
Latitude: 47.3921322886921
Longitude: -121.579513549805
Nearest medical: Not set yet
Page adopted by: No one yet
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Trail Overview

South Fork Snoqualmie is an area where Evergreen is working on plans to create a 23 mile singletrack network on National Forest land. Most of it will be old logging roads converted into singletrack using heavy equipment. 4.2 miles is currently open, with another 6 in the works and scheduled to be open in 2012.

The South Fork area is south of I-90, between exits 38 and 47.

Previously, this project area was often called "Olallie"; we now use that name only for the State Parks trail project near Cedar Butte ( Olallie).

Phase 1 - Hansen Ridge

September 2009: The first segment of road has been converted to singletrack! See Hansen Ridge for information about this fun and VERY scenic 8 mile out-and-back ride which starts up a logging road at 3400 ft.

The Hansen Creek Drainage is the very eastern part of the South Fork Mountain Bike Area. See map.

Phase 2 - Harris Lake

Construction is under way on the newest segment, which will add 6 miles to the network and go up to scenic Harris Lake at 3700 ft elevation.

Funding for this includes a $75,000 grant written by Evergreen. Additional funding was secured by our partners, the Forest Service and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

Years of Behind the Scenes Work

A huge thanks needs to go out to the Evergreen volunteers who worked tirelessly on this project for almost fifteen years. If it wasn't for the work of, among others, Art Tuftee, Brian Jones, Preston Peterson, and more recently Doug Walsh and Justin Vander Pol, this project never would have happened. We still need to work towards getting approval (a new ATM plan) to build new singletrack to compliment the 23 mile road-to-trail system, but we've taken a huge step in the right direction thanks to the years of work of these key volunteers.

Roads to Trails

Evergreen has been working closely with the Forest Service and Mountains to Sound, who is the contractor on this project, to ensure that the conversion results in the best quality trail possible.

These roads won't simply be abandonded, but large excavators will come in and pull the old tailings up to re-create the natural slope of the mountain (or as close to it as possible). Then trails will be placed in the area that has been filled in. Here is a picture of a newly constructed road-to-trail conversion. This image is also in the thumbnails at the bottom of this page.

Evergreen has been providing design guidance to the Forest Service and Mountains to Sound to ensure that the new trail is the best possible. The trail will meanded back and forth along the former road prism, and obstacles such as old logs and stumps will be placed alongside the trail to provide visual obstacles.

How to find it

This area is defined as the Forest Service owned land bordered by

- I-90 to the north
- Cedar River Watershed to the south
- Olallie State Park to the west
- Hansen Creek or the Bandera air strip to the east

You can reach this area from many points along the Iron Horse Trail.

The first phase of this project is on Hansen Ridge. Click link for more info.

Typical Conditions

Here you describe how the trails hold up with rain, late in the summer, etc.

Current Conditions

This is where folks will report how the trails were on a recent day.

Turn-By-Turn Guide

See Hansen Ridge

Local Points of Interest

Here you might list nearby places to get a bite to eat, nearby bike shops, etc.

Misc. Information

Here you mention anything that doesn't fit in the other categories.

Advocacy Information

Project History

In the early 1990s a policy change within Washington State Parks meant that mountain bikes lost access to many trails that we were previously allowed to ride. In response, State Parks applied for a grant to study potential new mountain biking area. Several user groups, including the Washington Trails Association, Sierra Club, Middle Fork Outdoor Recreation Coalition, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and others reached an informal consensus regarding the general suitability of the South Fork Snoqualmie area (referred to as the Olallie Study Area) for future mountain bike trails.

The Olallie Area Mountain Bike Trails Study was completed and published in 2002. It identified the area as suitable for mountain bike trails, and included Forest Service land and Olallie State Park.

As a result of the study, there is now formal approval for new trail in the adjacent Olallie State Park, and this road-to-trail conversion in the National Forest. In the future, as funding becomes available, the two trail systems will connect at Mt. Washington and provide over twenty-five miles of singletrack made up of new singletrack and road to trail conversion.

In 2002 BBTC proposed a 30 mile trail network in this area based on a concept created by Art Tuftee in response to the Olallie Study. The proposal want meant to be the first step in realizing a larger trail network in this area.

In January, 2009, the Forest Service issed a final decision in favor of the road-to-trails conversion and road decomissioning plan. That means the project could no longer be appealed, and we moved forward with the first steps of converting old forest road to singletrack.

In the summer of 2009 Evergreen was awarded a $75,000 Recreational Trails Program grant. This funding was combined with grants for road decommissioning that Mountains to Sound Greenway brought to the project, and allowed the first section of trail to be created on Hansen Ridge in September 2009.

The Future

Currently funding is available for the first segment of road-to-trail conversion. We are actively seeking funds to do the next segment of conversion, and will continue with this until all 20+ miles of available roads are converted to singletrack.

Beyond that, the Forest Service, and other user groups, have agreed that this is an appropriate place for new singletrack. However, a new Access and Travel Management Plan (ATM Plan) must be completed in order to build new singletrack beyond what is scoped out in the current decision (mostly road-to-trails). A new ATM will require securing up to $300,000 to carry out the studies and pay for Forest Staff time to manage the project. ATM plans can take 5-8 years to complete, due to the rigid comment, response and appeal process. This is a long-term project, but Evergreen will keep pushing forward, as the South Fork Snoqualmie area represents a huge opportunity to create a legacy trail network.

Olallie State Park

The South Fork Snoqualmie area is bordered by Olallie State Park, to the south. The 2002 Olallie Area Mountain Bike Trail Study included both the South Fork and Olallie State Park. Once all 20 miles of road are converted to singletrack, this system will be connected to the Olallie State Park mountain bike trail at Mt. Washington.

Currently, there is no funding to build the Mt. Washington trail in Olallie State Park. As always, we just need to keep writing grants and searching for funding to finish the trail. This will happen, but it will take several years.

More info about Olallie State Park.

Road to Trail Conversion Analysis

This is an analysis of the initial proposal put forward by the Forest Service and Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust in September, 2007.

Map showing road grades for potential trail conversions (3mb)

As point of reference, the road climb up to the Preston RR Trail on Tiger Mountain, starting at the lower parking lot and ending at the intersection of the crossover road, has a 9.8% grade. This is 1367 ft elevation gain over 2.65 miles (13,992 ft).

Official Documents

Olallie Area Mountain Bike Trail Study - Executive Summary (1.9mb)

Public Scoping Document for NEPA. This has now been fully approved.

Proposed Action Map. Compliment to the NEPA Scoping Doc.