July 15, 2012
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Reviewed by: Brain
Cross Country Rider
We (myself and four of my children ranging in age from 12 to 18) did a loop beginning with Goat Mountain Trail #217. This climbs very steeply for about 2-1/2 miles with very little letup. Since it is not technical, past a few easy root-overs, it is all rideable--if one has the stamina for the almost nonstop 1750' climb in two miles. We walked perhaps 1/3 of this portion of the trail.
The scene from the top makes the climb worthwhile as it yields breathtaking panoramic views of Vanson Peak, Strawberry Mountain, Mount Margaret, Ryan Lake and the valley below.
The first climb was by far the most difficult 2-1/2 miles of the total 27 we rode yesterday. We continued on past Vanson Peak and Vanson Lake, then down trail 213A to Trail 213 (Green River Trail) and back up to our starting point for a total of somewhere around 27 miles. Ride time was about 3-1/2 hours but total time was about six hours.
Directions: out of Randle, down 131, then right at the Y onto FS Rd 25. Look for the next paved Y. The right fork is Rd 26 but not marked as such. 10 miles up here gets one to Ryan Lake. Turn right just before the gate and go about 1/2 mile down to the Trail 217 trailhead on the right. Alternatively, coming from the South, take FS Road 90 to FS Road 25, then left on FS Rd 99 (toward Windy Ridge), then right on FS Rd 26 and up to Ryan Lake and the trailhead.
While the trails to the top of Goat Mountain are in excellent condition and the remainder in fair-to-good condition, once we passed the top of Goat Mountain, most of the trail was in the woods with very little to see except more trail. I think it might be better in reverse direction, which would move the great view to just two or three miles from the end and finish with a smooth and fast two-mile downhill; however, this would also mean a four-mile, 2600-foot climb at the midpoint.
Other recommended trails in the same area:
Ape Canyon, Plains of Abraham, and Smith Creek--an epic 25 mile loop that is one of the most spectacular rides in the northwest.
Also Lewis River.
We also have plans to ride some of the other trails in the Goat Mountain / Green River area, though, such as Strawberry Mountain and the western end of the Boundary Trail.