Looking Forward to Cle Elum: A Guide to Cle Elum's Top Mountain Biking Trails | Cle Elum, WA

Gearing up for an epic Cle Elum adventure when you are able to visit us again? One of the biggest draws of our area is its diverse terrain, which lends itself perfectly to outdoor activities like hiking and biking. So, when it is time to dust off those bikes and hit the trails, consider Cle Elum your go-to destination for outdoor recreation. Eager to explore the area's best trails before your future visit? Mountain biking enthusiasts can begin planning an adventure-filled weekend with these top trails!

Cooper River

Just north of Lake Kachess, Cooper River Trail traverses some rough terrain, running from the Salmon La Sac campground to Cooper Lake. This trail is a moderately technical, 10.8-mile rolling river trail that winds through the Wenatchee National Forest. Located on the east slope of the Cascades, you'll enjoy plenty of short ups and downs, but there are no extended climbs which makes it a perfect ride for the beginner or intermediate biker. Views of Cooper River and Cooper Lake make quick appearances throughout the out-and-back ride, so keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of the sparkling bodies of water!

Esmeralda Basin

This scenic loop around Esmeralda Peaks is an excellent "mini" Cascade alpine sampler. It is a nice shorter backcountry ride with a solid vertical climb and a technical descent full of tricky switchbacks. Though the mileage is relatively short, you can anticipate spending 3.5 to 5 hours on the trail due to the singletrack and an occasional hike-and-bike. This ride is best suited for endurance riders, able to handle steep, sustained ascents and technical terrain. Parking at the De Roux Campground and pedaling the quick 2 miles to the Esmeralda trailhead provides a nice warm-up as the trail immediately climbs steeply away and you will then finish the ride at your car.

Rat Pac

Cle Elum's Rat Pac trail is a local favorite, descending from Cle Elum Ridge to the eastern side of Roslyn with stunts and other features along the way. The hills are steep enough for some downhill fun on this 4-mile trail, making this a very popular ride. Hard and easy lines are well marked, and there are structure options for more advanced riders. Many natural features, including giant rocks, a line of trees, or steep drops, are incorporated throughout the trail, keeping riders interested and engaged. An ideal trail, Rat Pac was also built at an angle instead of straight down so that the rider hardly needs to break. Altogether, this trail was thoughtfully designed to challenge even the most advanced riders!

Kachess Ridge

With a tough forest road climb to the top of Kachess Ridge and a bit of a hike-and-bike, you can set off on a spectacular downhill singletrack for an hour or more. As you make your descent, you are treated to breathtaking scenery of the northern Cascades, including Lake Kachess, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Stuart, and more. The singletrack portion of the trail mostly follows Silver Creek on a winding descent through shadowy forest glades, open meadows, sections of head-high wildflowers, and exposed ledges. This is a wilderness ride that requires several hours of endurance but all of the effort put in is richly rewarded.

We hope that when you are able to travel again, you choose Cle Elum! Load up the mountain bike, gather your trail pals and explore the area's wide-open spaces that await you.


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