Hwy 12 White Pass - I 90 Snoqualmie Summit Loop 

Trip Date: 4-28-2007

Features:

  • Elbe
  • White Pass
  • Snoqualmie Pass
  • 2 Damns
  • Nisqually & Cowlitz Rivers
  • Several Waterfalls
  • Eastern & Western WA Twisties
  • Another Great Burger!

Hazards:

  • Eastern WA Winds
  • Deer!

 

Click the Play button to start the video!

2 Passes
Hwy 12 White Pass & I 90 Snoqualmie Summit
21 MB 768 Kbits/Sec.

Trip Details:

Thursday I found myself searching the map for a ride I have not done. I was looking for something around 300 miles give or take with a variety of scenery. One route kept peaking my interest. Tacoma through Elbe and down through the twisties of Skait Creek road also know as National Forest road 52 (nf-52). This roads winds for 23 miles and come out at the rear of Packwood. Then east bound on Hwy 12 over Whites pass and on to Ellensburg via 82. 82 would take me to I 90 where I would get to cross a second pass called Snoqualmie pass. I visited the WA DOT web site and checked the current and forecasted pas conditions as well as the weather. It looked like I had the green light with maybe some rain early Saturday morning. I called up a friend and drug him into the mix. Saturday brought even better weather then what was forecasted. I love it when that happens. 7 AM and it should have been raining but instead Tacoma had partly cloudy skies with sun breaks.  We had agreed to meet at Sprinker recreation center in Spanaway to start our journey. After packing the bike, fueling and topping off the tires with air I was on my way. That is after I stopped and got a 20 oz.  Mocha on ice. We met as planned and headed down Spanaway loop road. I'm not going to bore you with any of the ride up until Elbe. That is with the exception of the great twisties prior to Elbe. I really love these turns. This time as I rounded one I got to test the braking capabilities of my ST as a Deer slowly crossed the road about 20 yards out of the end of the turn. The ST stopped in time and I got to watch the deer run off into the brush. We stopped in Elbe to stretch our legs and check out the Nisqually River that runs behind the old church. I noticed allot more tree debris then normal. This is due to the heavy flooding we experienced this winter.

ARoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video MT Rainier National Forest SR 410 Washington waterfall fter the site seeing we were back on the road heading Ashford. When riding this road you have to watch on the right side for a piece of property that has a bunch of metal work displayed in the yard. The artist had taken metal and welding rod and constructed everything from trains, skeletons riding choppers to dinosaurs.  This is a great stop for photos. After we took some photo's we were back on the road heading  toward NF-52. This road is on the right side just after Ashford. We made the right turn onto NF-52 and made our way through the turns  only to find the gate was still locked! I forgot this road was not open yet. This meant that if we were going to finish this 2 pass ride we would have to back track to Elbe and take Hwy 7 through Morton. When you ride through Morton you will first see an old lumber mill. I enjoy this because as you ride through you are immediately overwhelmed by the smell of cedar. The next two towns are Randle and Packwood. This section of road wasn't too bad, but I have ridden it allot. I was really looking forward to NF-52.

The ride through Packwood was uneventful but did give us a few photo opportunities as did Elbe. As we road up hwy 12 towards White pass we were treated to allot of fun twisties and gorgeous scenery. We stopped at a view point to watch a pretty large waterfall on the opposite hill side. This was a really cool waterfall and I made it a point to get some photos and video. As we continued we paralleled  a Cowlitz River..

We navigated our way through the turns up to the Pass. As we went up in elevation we could feel the climate change and it began to get a bit nippy. Soon we could see snow on the ground in the shady areas. It wasn't long and there was snow on the ground in the sunny areas. This was all good as the roads were dry and the turns were excellent. As we approached the summit everything but the roads was snow covered. Skiers vehicles lined the road as they made their way up and down the slopes. We stooped and took some photos and watched the skier for a while. What a cool ride this time of year.

As we started down the other side we came across a half frozen large Pond. It's not on my map so I will refer to it as a pond. Another gorgeous view point. The ice seem to have a slight bluish tint to it. I kept thinking to myself what a great time of year to make this ride. Why didn't I think of this before. In fact it will be first in line next year when the conditions are favorable. The ride down the west side is just as great as the ride up. Soon we came up on Rimrock lake, Rimrock Dam and the town of Rimrock. We were getting hungry so we stopped at the first place we could find. It was a little place called the Trout Lodge. Trout lodge has a four unit motel, small store and restaurant all together. I'm not sure what the rooms are like but it's not a bad location to rest for a night. At minimum, it's a great little place to eat. We were seated in the back and the rear window faced a large creek. I'm going to say creek because it wasn't on the map. A very fast flowing creek! The creek was surprisingly close to the building. Approximately 20 yards behind where we sat. The folks were great and the burgers were awesome!  We ate, paid our tab and headed down the road.

As we rode down in elevation it warmed up to about 64 degrees and it started looking like eastern Washington. We road Hwy 12 to the hwy 82 junction. This would take us to I 90 and Ellensburg. If you have ridden this area its allot of rolling hills that open up from time to time to big flats.  From time to time  you get some nice scenic views. Nothing like what we experienced crossing White Pass.  As we approached Ellensburg it really started to get windy. It actually felt like the wind was coming at us from  both sides. I had to reduce my speed a bit just to play it safe. This would be a good time to mention bugs, bees and insects. You name it, it was on my windshield. I had to stop a couple times and clean them off so I could shoot decent video. It was obvious that there were more yellow jackets then anything.

We pushed on to Cle Elum where we stooped for a bio break and fuel. My buddies bike has a much smaller tank then mine so once again he filled and I just topped mine off again. We could see the Mountain range just west of us and we knew we were getting close to the pass. I really wasn't expecting much since I have crossed this pass too many times. The only reason we came this way was Chinook Pass was closed.  As we crossed the summit and headed down the other side, we rode next to allot of small waterfalls running down the rock face next to us. I mean this water was really moving. My other trips were later in the year and these water falls were almost dried up. The water falls made the ride down very enjoyable. Another good reason to ride this loop this time of year.

We made our way down the west side and on to hwy 18. The rest of this ride could never hold a candle to what we experienced crossing the passes. Although bright green with new foliage from this point on it was straight roads and much more traffic. I have to say this loop is now one of my top if not the top ride. 377 miles from start to end and we took our time doing it. It was a very enjoyable 10.5 hours on the rode and I wouldn't have it any other way.          

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Tacoma, Washington - United States (USA)
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