Lawrence Lake Loop WA

Trip Date: 11/25/2007


  • Countless Scenic Views of Mt. Rainier
  • Hearts Lake
  • Lawrence Lake
  • Bunkhouse BBQ (a must try!)
  • Nisqually River
  • Views of Narrows Bridges and Puget Sound
  • This is a very scenic ride...


  • Ice on roads (winter months)

  • Deer

Lawrence Lake Loop & Bunkhouse BBQ Video
16:9 Widescreen (441Kbps 15.7 MB)


Trip Details:

Ok, first thing I'm going to say is the "Trail Boss kicked my butt"! You will have to keep reading to figure this one out. :-)

I can't say it enough. Be it cold and allot of the time wet due to winter, don't give up on riding. You will be missing out on some great riding experiences. Invest in some good cold weather gear. Stay dry and warm and you will have as much fun riding during winter as summer. Today's ride is a prime example. During the winter months we have less day light and sometimes ice so shorter rides seem to fit the time window a bit better. In this case I planned a very scenic 98 mile ride that took us right at the Roy Y and about another mile we went left on 8th. This is a 11.5 mile stretch that is strait as an arrow. What it lacks in turns it more then makes up for in some of the most scenic views of Mount Rainier Washington has to offer. You will notice we took our Wings off road a bit. This area is Fort Lewis land and we wanted to get off the pavement and down a dirt road to get some breath taking photo's of the mountain. This can be done from the road but a photo of two wings in the middle of a field with the Mountain behind them has much more flare. The dirt roads were not too bad. We pushed on down 8th making three stops for photo's of the mountain. Make this one of those rides where you are not in a hurry and take time to stop and enjoy the spectacular views. 8th soon turned into Hearts Lake Road and we caught some great views of the lake as we navigated the turns that brought us around the North end of the lake.  Once we rounded the end of the lake we road another 4.5 miles where we turned left onto SR 702. This short stretch flew by and within minutes we turned left on to SR 507 and headed into McKenna. As we made our way through McKenna just before the bridge and Stewert's Meats is a little Gem of an eatery called  Bunkhouse BBQ. It's a small rustic building with a gravel lot. Now listen close... You have to stop in and WA motorcycle rides roads Hamburgers burgers burger Bunkhouse BBQ Washingtontry the burgers. No kidding, they have what is now calling Washington's best Hamburger.  This is where I met "The Trail Boss" and got my but kicked. It's not your average burger. It's not even close to what I knew as Washington's largest burger. The Trail Boss is Washington's largest and best tasting burger hands down! (That I know of... ) When we entered the establishment we received a warm country style greeting from  the two waitresses on shift (Alicia and Tabitha). They were extremely hospitable and made our dining experience much more enjoyable. Great atmosphere always seems to make the eating experience all that more enjoyable. As with the outside the interior was rustic with Saddles and antlers on the wall and a pellet stove in the corner next to the door kicking out heat. I really enjoyed the place and it was very clean as well. Alicia and Tabitha both explained the bonus if you finished the mammoth burger. You get 1 hour to finish the thing off. If you complete the task at hand, you get your picture on the wall of fame and a hat that has printed on the back "I kicked The Trail Bosses Ass!" Let me tell you, when they explained how it all worked I said three words "bring it on".  I sat in front of the wall of fame to fuel my fire. I was hell bent on eating the thing. That is until they brought it out. I sat there and laughed my back side off. It was enormous and some how I could already see myself eating my words. About this time the cook (Richard) came out with a tape measure so we could see it's actual size. See WA motorcycle rides roads Hamburgers burgers burger Bunkhouse BBQ Washington photo's below. I believe Richard was enjoying this. As soon as I cut into the thing they started a timer. The first few bites I was amazed at the flavor. Most the larger burgers don't seem to be contenders but this one was an instant winner! Four 1/4 lbs. patties, Ham, six slices of bacon, cheese, Onion, Lettuce, Tomato's and Pickles. The thing was the size of my dinner plate! I was making great time half way through but as I started rounding 3rd base I lost traction. I was so stuffed after making it 3/4's of the way that I couldn't even swallow my pride. I took that long walk of shame as I asked the waitress for a box for the leftovers. That's right, Rob threw in the towel! Bunkhouse BBQ is owned and operated by Todd Skinner of Rainier WA. According to his employees, Todd is also a fellow rider. From what I picked up, they will be expanding the place next summer. I also hear they have excellent BBQ. You don't find very many BBQ places that are worthy in Washington state. I know because I have experienced BBQ from places like Huntsville Alabama and Wichita Kansas. I will give the BBQ a try next time and let you all know what I think.

We took some photo's paid the $43.00 bill (2 burgers and drinks), said our good-byes and headed back down the road. Let me clarify on the price. Yes about $20 a hamburger but let's put things into perspective. You could easily feed 4 to 6 people with one of these. Or.. Two of me. I recommend making it a fun outing by ordering a few for your group and cutting them up and sharing. When you do this the pricing is inline with other burger joints. If you do stop in, tell them Rob from sent you.

As we pulled out of the Bunkhouse BBQ lot we could see our next turn left up the hwy about 100 yards. We turned onto Vail Rd. approximately 1 mile to Bald Hills Rd. where we turned left onto it.  This stretch of road is about 3.7 miles where we turned right Lindsay and then onto Pleasant Beach Dr. As we navigated this road we enjoyed yet more spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. we made our way around the lake to the south end where we pulled into the public boat launch. The lot is gravel but is in very great shape. We rode right down to the water where we had another great view of the Mountain. I never get sick of looking at Rainier and you don't get to see many views of it where its backing a lake. The view was awesome!. My stomach however was doing Hula-Hoops around my butt! That mammoth burger was too much and I should have stopped half way through. We enjoyed the view and got some more WA motorcycle rides roads Lawrence Lake MT Rainier Washingtonphoto's and then headed back up Pleasant Beach Dr to Lindsay where we went left. We followed Lindsay to Vail Loop Rd. The country side out here is great. Allot of small farms and houses. The air was cold, crisp and clean. Much different then the city. I'm really going to have to move out of the city one of these days. Vail Loop Rd. became Vail Cut Off Rd. and intersected with Hyw. 507 after approximately 6.7 miles. At this point we made a right turn onto SR 507 and rode back through Rainier to SR 510 in to Yelm. Both these towns are very small and quaint. I'm sure there are some great eateries in them as well but at this point I don't want to think about eating. As I type this it's been almost 5 hours since the burger and I'm still in pain! We road SR 510 for about 9.3 miles to the Old Pacific Highway just past Saint Clair. This was my first time on this stretch of road and I really enjoyed it. It's nice to find new back roads out there. Old Pacific Hyw. took us across the Nisqually River about 5.6 miles to I-5. Once again a neat stretch of road with more great scenery. We turned on to I-5 just long enough to turn off onto the Steilacoom DuPont Road. This is another back road near the city that allot of folks pass up as they ride the grind of I-5. This road took us 6.3 miles through some nice long turns and trees and was much more pleasant to ride then I-5. After the 6.3 miles it became Chambers Creek Rd. and we road past some ponds and Chambers Creek. There is allot of bird life in this area and I believe a hatchery. I may be wrong.   From there we made our way up to 64th Ave where we turned left  and then right on Grandview. This is where we start getting into the city or should I say University Place. I would normally end the trip log here as city riding is quite boring. I will continue for a bit because once we made our way to 6th avenue and turned left we entered Titlow Beach park. This is another stop worth making as you get a great view of the Narrows bridges and the Puget Sound waters. If you didn't stop at Bunkhouse BBQ and have an appetite, try Steamers just off to your left. Steamers has some great seafood and a awesome view from inside. It pains me to think or type about food right now. Just remember, Rob goes all out for the viewers.  Enough said! That's the ride and I highly recommend following this route to the tee including the stop at Bunkhouse BBQ. For those of you who eat light they have a smaller version of The Trail Boss. Same stuff on it but more realistic in size. Ride safe!

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