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Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

Big Skidder Hill

Lower elevation adventure ride on the Olympic Peninsula

By the Numbers

Distance
54 miles
Elevation
4350 feet
Moving Time
3h45m
Nutrition
Limited food & drink options outside of Chimacum – bring what you need
Logistics
Park at HJ Carroll Park in Chimacum
External

In January the higher elevation forest service roads are covered in snow & ice and inaccessible, safely, by bike. Wanting to ride some forest service roads, I opted for one of the lower elevation areas which is muddy and cold but generally snow free. The area around Big Skidder Hill is closed to vehicles but open to walker and bikes so it’s a wonderful place to ride in the winter.

The drive to Chimacum passes by a beautiful farm at the intersection of Egg & I and Beaver Valley roads. The light this morning was wonderful so I stopped the truck to take few quick photos.

Early morning light on the farms
Early morning light on the farms

The ride itself covers quiet farm roads which I enjoy throughout the year. The route I rode follows West Valley Road to Eaglemount Road, descending Highway 20 towards Discovery Bay before crossing US 101 to West Uncas Road. Wycoff Road is the last paved road for a while as you leave the asphalt after and head towards gate, leaving the cars behind. I enjoy the quiet through the Big Skidder Hill complex and it’s meandering logging roads.

Connector trail between the Big Skidder Hill complex and FS Road 2986.
Connector trail between the Big Skidder Hill complex and FS Road 2986.

The only tricky bit of the ride is the connector trail between the main road through Big Skidder and FS 2095. The trail is not marked but it’s just beyond the bridge on the left. The first time I rode this route I didn’t see the turn off but fortunately a few motorbikes came through and made the turn so I followed. The trail is all hike-a-bike as it’s very wet, wildly undulating, and suffers from a lot of blow downs. It’s not too long and eventually arrives back to rideable forest service roads. Once through the connector the rest of the ride is enjoyable, firm, hard-packed gravel roads.

After the climb up Jimmycomelately it’s a long, often cold, descent down Palo Alto Road back to the Olympic Discovery Trail. I don’t love the ODT but it serves the purpose of separating cars from the highway, for the most part anyway. Heading back into Chimacum there are myriad of options and had I been a bit warmer I might have ridden up to Port Townsend but given the conditions, and needing to head home, I road back to the car via Anderson Lake Road.

All in, a great winter ride with plenty of variety.

References

Route

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