The road improvement project that lasted 4 years is now complete at Mt. Rainier National Park. The last phase involved repaving the 11 mile segment from Longmire to Paradise. It is now smooth sailing vice the bumpy ride in the past. In this video I have the top segment from my recent ride in October 2017, with the bottom segment showing 3 camera shots (left, center, right) from February 2014. I had to continually pause the 2017 ride so the 2014 video could "catch up." Better bike (Salsa Cutthroat vs. Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo), better tires, but mostly better road.
Ride the Interior of Mt. Rainier Out and Back in One Day is a concocted ride I did a few days prior to the annual RAMROD (150 miles/10,000 feet of climb). RIMROBOD stays within the confines of the park with stats of 121 miles and 15,600 feet of climb, a leg burner for sure.
This video covers rides not included in the major climbs and descents in the park. Most of this footage was shot when the roads were not open to public vehicles, including the short section from Highway 410 to Mt. Rainier's White River entrance. To target viewing, the following lists the specific sections and minute marks:
1. Lower West Side Road: This first 3 miles of the road, with 1000 feet of climb, is usually open in the summer season. Filmed before the gate was open on a sunny April day: 00:00 - 09:27
2. White River Campground to White River entrance: filmed when road crews had plowed and were in the process of clearing debris, but otherwise void of people, a good time to access these areas of the park before vehicles are allowed: 09:27 - 27:53
2A. Highway 410 to White River entrance: filmed during the low snow year of 2015 on February 11: 27:53 - 32:57
3. Chinook Pass to Cayuse Pass: Chinook Pass marks the northern entry to the park on Highway 410, and descends over 3.5 miles to Cayuse Pass, losing 800 feet. Cayuse Pass is also the intersection with SR 123, taking the rider south on the eastern side of the park: 32:57 - 41:58
OVERVIEW and STATS: 42:00 - 43:15
Smooth pavement characterizes this short 5.5 mile section from Longmire to the West Side Road with an elevation loss of 600 feet.
Highway 410 transits the northern part of Mt. Rainier National Park, starting at the Crystal Mountain turnoff and ending at Chinook Pass. This video begins at Cayuse Pass and ends at the park boundary, with the last part of the video filmed in February of 2015, an unusually low snow year. Highway 410 was closed to vehicles for the winter but the road was clear of snow, allowing me to venture into the park via the White River entrance and even day hike to Summerland, practically impossible in a normal snow year. The first part of the video was filmed on June 8, 2016, covering the 3 miles and 1000 foot descent from Cayuse Pass to the White River entrance to the park. The grade on Highway 410 allowed for some consistently higher speeds versus some of the other bike rides I have captured.
Mt. Rainier's Sunrise Park road is a moderate but fun climb and descent, especially if the timing is right. I filmed this on June 19, 2016 when the road was closed to public vehicular traffic but officially open to recreation. My early start before 6 AM ensured I had the road, and Sunrise, to myself, only encountering some climbing bikers well into the descent. This romp involves 10 miles and a 2500 foot descent, especially fun in the S turns towards the latter part of the road (@minute 20:00 in the video).
SR 123 is a seasonal road only open during the summer months. It connects Highway 410 to the north to Highway 12 in the south. This video starts at Cayuse Pass and descends 2600 feet over 11 miles to the Park's Stevens Canyon entrance. Highway 123 is part of the RAMROD route (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day). Filmed on June 8, 2016.
Mt. Rainier National Park has some of the best bike climbs and descents in the state. The Stevens Canyon Road ranks right up there, with 3400 feet of descent, starting at the junction with the Paradise road, interrupted by a 700 foot climb to Backbone Ridge, then continuing on to the Ohanapecosh (Stevens Canyon) entrance and intersecting SR 123 for a total of 18 miles. The first part of this video was filmed on May 2, 2016 before the road was open to vehicular traffic. The rest was filmed on June 8, 2016. I'm using a mountain bike to keep speeds reasonable, topping out at about 35 mph.
Mt. Rainier is a training ground for many things but the biking is sometimes overlooked, except for the annual RAMROD event (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day). I like to sometimes bike from Longmire to Paradise, a 2600 foot climb, perhaps hike to Camp Muir (at 10,100'), and be rewarded at the end of a hard day by the wonderful downhill bike from Paradise to Longmire. This is best done early or late in the day during the summer, or on an off time like this video (mid week Feb 26) to mitigate traffic problems. In the winter the gate to Paradise is opened at 9:00 AM so all the traffic is uphill. Taking advantage of sparse downhill traffic at around noon, I used 3 cameras mounted Left (Contour Roam2), Center (GoPro Hero2), and Right (GoPro Hero3 Black Edition) to capture this entire 11 mile journey. I use a mountain bike to keep speed reasonable and the fatter tires cope with rough roads, cracks or detritus easier than my skinny tire road bike. Shot in 960 Tall on each camera.
Mt. Rainier National Park's West Side Road was originally envisioned as part of a motorcar road that would encircle the entire mountain. This idea was eventually abandoned, dynamiting the bridge that spanned the North Puyallup River and, sometime in the 80's, letting the road from Klapatche Point to the North Puyallup Camp revert to trail status (I used to day hike this area driving to the North Puyallup parking lot, 1983-1987). This video is an entire transit of the 9 mile section of the West Side Road from the (original, now moved further down road due to boulder from Mt. Wow danger) parking lot to Klapatche Point, filmed on the downhill portions for expediency. To target viewing, use this guide:
00:00-01:38 Sampling of uphill at beginning of West Side Road
01:38-14:10 Round Pass to low point past So. Puyallup River
14:10-15:36 final ascent to Klapatche Point
15:36-21:18 Klapatche Point to St. Andrews Creek
21:18-28:53 St. Andrews Creek to low point
28:53-46:25 Round Pass to Dry Creek Trailhead
Significant improvements have been made to the West Side Road, with emphasis on the first section from the gate for about a mile, which includes a new vehicle bridge over Fish Creek. In 2015 a portion of the road next to Tahoma Creek was washed out, necessitating a bike carry through the creek bed to continue on. The following video shows a side by side comparison over this section.
The Ipsut Creek Road was once driveable its entire 5 miles, with the Ipsut Creek campground a drive in akin to Cougar Rock or Ohanapecosh. After two major flooding events the road has been converted to trail status, open to hiking and biking. This video was recorded on April 29, 2012. As of this writing (June, 2016) the trail has suffered more damage and some parts will be more difficult to transit on bike.
5 years later with mother nature keeping things in flux, this update (filmed on May 26, 2017) shows the entire trail with no time editing......23 minutes to cover the entire 5 miles.
This short video highlights some of the biking opportunities at Mt. Rainier National Park.