Best done as a two-car shuttle, this trail is 7.5 miles with 2000' descent. There's a climb of about 500' in middle and maybe 200' near the end. It could (theoretically) be done as a 15-miles out-and-back. Fairly technical trail 45 miles (but about 1.5 hour drive) from Portland. A combination of smooth, fast singletrack, some rocky sections, and switchbacks that are wide enough for most to make.
1. I-5 north from Portland
2. When crossing Columbia River bridge, stay in right lane.
3. Exit Hwy 14 east just after the bridge.
4. Just past the very pungent paper mill is Camas; a few miles more is Washougal. Turn left into Washougal at 15th street (a cell tower will be on your left).
5. Stay on this street and it will turn into Washougal River Road. It will wind along the Washougal River for about 15 miles. The only major intersection is a 3-way at a country store - veer left. Watch the speed limits; there may be speed traps.
6. Just after the fish hatchery, there will be a bridge and the paved road will end at a 3-way intersection. Turn left onto the dirt road W-2000, go 3.2 miles. This is the bottom trailhead. If you're going to shuttle, leave a car here.
7. Continue up W-2000 for 5 miles, to a bridge followed by another 3-way. Turn left at the intersection (this is still W-2000).
8. After 3 miles there is a fork in the road - go right. This is another road (W-1441?).
9. Go one mile, park at mile marker 11. You can keep going but its easier to start riding now.
10. Continue down the road for one mile by bike. Just before mile marker 12, There will be a small bridge over a small stream, with a trailhead on each side. The trailhead on the left goes to the top (not recommended for non-masochists). The trailhead on the right (just past the stream) goes 7.5 miles back down to the lower trailhead that you passsed earler.
You can continue up this road and turn left onto 1400 at the top, but this drive (about an hour each way) will only yield about 15 minutes of riding and a 4-wheel-drive is needed (the view is spectacular, though).
Note: this trail is described in the book "50 choice singletracks" but the driving directions are wrong. This trail only crosses W-2000 at the bottom.
Summary: As noted in other reviews, directions are wrong - you go right, not left, onto dirt road when pavement ends.
Good ~4 hr workout, quiet a few fun switchbacks, great lunch spot at top.
Recommended Route: Forget the shuttle and forget starting at the top unless you prefer driving to riding - start at the bottom for a great out-and-back. It's fun both directions, and the bottom is as good as the top, just different.
Summary: Lots of switchbacks without berms, 2 major uphills that suck if your pushing a 50 lb. bike. You gottta cross a stream to finish the other side of the trail. Word of advice... accept the inevitable you WILL get wet so dont try and hop across the rocks it will result with you getting soaked. Overall its a fun trail that makes you earn your downhill (yes, even if you shuttle it), which is very fun despite the bermless switchbacks. Definitely will hit this trail again... hopefully in the daytime next time.
Recommended Route: The directions on mtbr are wrong. After step 6 on the trail directions (after the fish hatchery) you don't turn left you go right you'll see kinda of a big parking area there. After that I think everything else is right. At the top of the trailhead theres not much of a place to park you could probably park maybe 2 cars there but itll be tight.
Other recommended trails in the same area: post canyon, syncline.
Summary: Rode this trail on June 28. Very overgrown. Lots of blackberry shrubs and other sharp weeds made for a scratch fest. I rode the trail up from the bottom, was planning on doing an out-n-back. Near the top there is so much blow-down that I was hike-a-biking for about half a mile. Needs some serious trail maintenance before you could do the shuttle or the road loop rides. As an out and back, just turn around at the start of all the trees that are blocking the trail. Still a fun ride.
Summary: Living in Portland and working in Vancouver this is a fairly quick trail to get out to (though the forest roads are fairly slow going if you don't drive a jeep). The trail is beautiful and fast and keeps your heart pumping the whole time. There are a few switchbacks that most people are going to have to hike but only like 1 or 2. The bridge is out at Stebbins Creek so be prepared to ford the river there.
There are many ways to do this trail, it just depends on what you are up for. Riding up from the bottom trailhead will cause most people to do quite a bit of hiking. Shuttleing from the top makes for a short ride for a reasonably long drive. See my recommended route below.
There is more trail info and maps etc here (as of this writing):
Recommended Route: We shuttled up the dirt road from the main trailhead, then rode up the trail on the left to the high point near three corners rock and then all the way back down the main trailhead. This gives you about 9 miles of singletrack with around 1500-2000' of elevation gain and about twice as much descending. That first mile and a half or so up is quite the workout, and as others have said there is still 1000' of climbing after you get past Stebbins Creek on the way down so plan your time accordingly.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Larch Mt / Tarbell, Ape Canyon
Summary: I live just about four miles from the trailhead, so I have the pleasure of riding the lower portion of this one about once a week in the summer. I have ridden the final ascent to the summit only once. The lower 6-1/2 miles to the road crossing is closed by DNR right now for some reason, possibly repairs, so I have not done it in the last couple of weeks. I hope this is not a permanent closure.
I cut my MTB teeth on this trail at 38 years old, although I would not recommend this as a first ride. I had done some road riding on my MTB locally and thought I was in pretty good shape until I hit the first uphill on this trail. The lower portion of this trail could probably have followed much more gentle slopes to get where it is going, but seems instead to have been designed by someone who had a good aerobic workout in mind.
The trail begins with 6 rideable switchbacks over a fairly steep -mile uphill section. Next comes a -mile downhill with no switchbacks, but several corners at small creeks (just trickles).
The next section is a fairly arduous ascent of 1-1/2 miles involving 18 mostly rideable switchbacks. There are some small sections that are a little rocky, but no major technical challenges (about a hundred yards of hike-a-bike for me).
Next come the 1-1/4 mile descent (8 rideable switchbacks) to Red Bottom Creek (not much more than ankle-deep but too rocky to ride across). Then, a nonstop 1-mile (9 rideable switchbacks) ascent that is followed by another 1-1/4 mile up-and-down to the road crossing. Total riding time to this point is about 1-1/2 hours.
Now begins the real challenge. From here to the top is just less than 2 miles, with 19 mostly rideable switchbacks. Again, there is nothing overly technical, but it is almost continuously steep, with a little hike-a-bike for me. It took me about 45 minutes overall (starting fresh from the road crossing), 32 of those riding, to get to the top.
Dont forget that coming back is not all downhill
Recommended Route: Up and back from the trailhead. The popular plan is to park at the trailhead, ride the 9 miles around on the roads, and come back down the trail to the trialhead Beware this plan, though; I think the trail is much better as an up-and-back, especially right now, when the road is freshly graded with lots of loose rock. Skipping the section from the road crossing to the top misses the real visual reward in the form of a panoramic view of everything from Mt. Hood to Mt. Rainier. I would not do this as a shuttle, except perhaps to drive around to the road crossing, ride the last couple miles to the top of the rock, and then back down across the road to the trailhead at the Washougal River. The final two miles to the top can be a real workout, especially if you cycle the prior 6-1/2 miles up from the trailhead first.