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Mountain Biking in the Yakima Valley!

Mountain Biking in the Yakima Valley!

The 300 days of sunshine and diverse geology means the Yakima Valley is a prime spot for mountain biking!  And the best part: you don’t have to drive forever to go do it! There are tons of places to get out and enjoy the outdoors with your bike! Whether you’re a just getting started riding or you’re a seasoned pro, there are plenty of trails for everyone.  Check them out!



Just a 15 minute drive from Downtown Yakima gets you to the trails of Cowiche Canyon Conservancy. These are gravel trails along an old railroad spur that connects to hilltop single-track and jeep trails. The most popular trail for both hiking and mountain biking is the Cowiche Canyon Trail, running along the Cowiche Creek and crossing over nine trestle bridges. Ride between steep canyon walls made of Columbia basalt and Tieton andesite rocks.

For a little more scenic tour, take the Winery “grunt” Trail, which climbs the north hillside, through the vineyards to the Wilridge Winery & Vineyard and Naches Heights Vineyard. Or hit the junction with the Uplands Trail, climb the south hillside and then cross the Cowiche Canyon Uplands to the western parking area on Scenic Drive Extension. There are parking areas at both the east and west ends of Cowiche Canyon Trail, and at the wineries at the north rim of the canyon. With nearly 30 miles of trail out there, there is plenty of ways to explore the Cowiche Canyon!



You could also head for the Cascade Mountains for unlimited trails of varying length and difficulty in the forest. In less than a 45 minute drive from Downtown Yakima you can fly along low-elevation trails in the sage-covered fringes of the forest (great for springtime and fall rides), or take trails in the timbered zones and high country that traverse alpine terrain.

Find sweeping cliff views on the Little Bald Mountain Loop, just northwest of Naches off of Chinook Pass (Hwy 410). The11-mile climb (2900 ft. gain) up toward Little Bald Mountain has varied return trip trails on rugged single track.  Kaner Flat is an intermediate ride, long enough to be challenging but with moderate enough climbing to be doable without a lot of hike-a-bike.

Looking for accommodations closer to your biking experience on Chinook Pass? How about a cozy updated cabin at the Elk Ridge Campground? They’re only a 15 minute drive to those trails. Wondering what to do in the evening? Work out any aches and pains with a relaxing massage at The Spa at Elk Ridge. Go out to dinner at the nearby Woodshed Restaurant at Eagle Rock Resort, and enjoy live music at the Woodshed on the weekends. Looking for a post-ride beer? Bron Yr Aur Brewing is only 15 minutes away in Naches, offering craft beer and hand-made pizza - hand tossed straight onto the bricks!

Here are a few of the rides with descriptions from Cascade Single Track.



Want to feel the burn? Ride to the top of the White Pass Ski Area at 6500 ft., an elevation gain of 2000 ft.! You may have to use your granny gear on this ride ‘cause it’s a grinder! Not up for the challenge? There are numerous trails around Leech Lake and down to Dog Lake following the winter Nordic Trail Loops . Then it’s back to the White Pass Village Inn to soak away the pain in the swimming pool sized hot tub!



These are just a few of the many trails. For additional Mountain Biking information:

  • The Mountain Bike Project website describes the 15 best trails in the Yakima. Each of the trails, including the Cowiche Canyon Trail, the Uplands Trail, the Jeep Trail, are listed with a map, virtual tour of the ride with elevation, distance and grade. You are also able to access this information on your cell phone.
  • Naches Ranger District Mountain Biking. For updated trail conditions in the Cascade Mountains and trail opening dates in the spring. The Naches Ranger Station is located on Highway 12 in Naches, WA.

And May is National Bike to Work Month, so even if you don’t have time to get out to these trails, take advantage of biking to work to not only preserve the environment, but also your health!