Mountain Loop Highway 2016


A cloudy and wet summer trip around the Mountain Loop Highway.

It rained a lot in the beginning of the day, but no one turned down continuing on the trail with us. 

We took 530 out of Arlington to the tiny town of Whitehorse, where we filled up. Following, we jumped on NF-18/17, which led us on a very long dirt section through the mountains.

The silty roads were soaked already, and it was raining heavy when we first got off the pavement. Coating each other with wet mud flinging off our back tires, we rode it out and it cleared up within an hour or so.

Pit stop on   NF-18

Pit stop on NF-18

Luckily, once we got up to the top of our first climb, the weather cleared up.

The dirt section after quite a while, dumped us out on the loop after crossing a pretty cool bridge. We hightailed it on tarmac to Darrington, where we all grabbed lunch at the Burger BarnA bit more gas, then we were rolling back down the highway, briefly back the direction we had just come from. Right turn, white bridge, and another right soon after put us right back on dirt again.

From there, it was a steep and windy rocky dirt road to the top of Gold Mountain. Vantage points at the top made Darrington seemingly directly below us, since we had gained so much altitude so quickly.

Dropping back down on the opposite side we climbed, we took Sauk River Road back to 530, which took us to our final stop of the day at camp.

Grocery stop in   Darrington

Grocery stop in Darrington

The following morning, we took 530 to Green Mountain Road. After a quick climb to the top, we took a group photo at a viewpoint with a wide open vantage of Mt. Pilchuck right in front of us.

We split off from there and headed home.

The GPX tracks for this ride can be downloaded at the top of this page.