Whitehorse Trail (Nov 2, 2019)

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whitehorse_trail_coverConditions: gravel bike ride
Gear: fat tire bike
Map: USGS Stimson Hill, USGS Oso, USGS Mount Higgins, USGS Fortson, USGS Darrington
Area: Arlington/Darrington
Reference: n/a
Stats: 41.82mi, 920' gain (round trip)

I've passed the junction with the Whitehorse Trail many times as I've biked the Centennial Trail. I knew this trail was being resurrected and knew it was something I wanted to bike at some point. I saw a post from a friend of mine about the trail and it looked like construction (or would that be reconstruction) of the trail was far enough along that it was time to give it a try. Steve did some searching online and found a contact who he called. Steve learned that the trail is actively undergoing construction. It is mostly open on weekends but some sections that asked people to avoid during the week (to give workers the room they need to work the trail). Additionally, it sounds like there is a small slide close to Arlington that hasn't been cleared so that section is best avoided. So...we decided to start in Cicero.  I looked at Google maps to try to find a good place to park the car long 530 and found a great spot near a bridge over the Stilly

The first bit of the trail was recently paved (maybe a mile) but that quickly gave way to gravel. The gravel was fairly well compacted. Fat tires are best (skinny road tires would never cope with the gravel). The trail was heavily covered in leaves in some places but that was just fine. Compared to many of the more urban multi use trails (North Creek, Centennial, Sammamish River, Burke-Gilman) this trail is deserted. We saw maybe 6 people on foot and two other cyclists all day.

Once the gravelling is complete this trail will be spectacular. The trail mostly follows 530 sometimes close to the Stilly but really never that far away. Lots of cool old trestle bridges. The trail is super wide and super scenic and since it is an old railroad route the grade is super easy.

We continued biking east and once the trail gets to about Swede Heaven it gets a little "rougher". The last few miles into Darrington aren't graveled but it is still bikable.

We decided to have lunch in Darrington and picked River Time Brewery. Steve had a beer and we both had great sandwiches.

After lunch it was time to head back west. While the last few miles of the trail into town were bikable, we decided to avoid that stretch on the return trip. We stayed on the shoulder of 530 all the way back to Swede Heaven where we picked the trail back up.

Gorgeous fall day out on this trail. I can't wait to return to check the progress of construction. This trail will definitely be one work repeating many, many times.
Whitehorse Trail Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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