Bike tour/Sep 2020

From WikiDotMako

This page is for planning a bike-touring trip from Seattle to Portland via Yakima.

NOTE: due to weather we are instead planning on Olympic route.

See also:


  • bike maintenance - order necessary parts early!
  • bike accessory - order early!
  • camping items - order early!
  • food plans
  • route plans
  • make reservations
  • check COVID rules at campsites/hotels

Place an REI order with pickup for things (all confirmed to be at the Seattle Flagship store):


  • September 18-26/27 (9-10 days; tentative)


  • Seattle to Yakima to Carson to Seattle.

Biking Yakima2020.png


  • As of Aug 23, this schedule has no wifi/shower at the overnight locations for the first 4 days.

Day 1: 9/19 Saturday [DONE][edit]

  • Note: Medium chance of showers.
  • Note: Iron Horse Trail is now called Palouse to Cascades. [Trail Website]
  • Note: Mika will be moving at ~5 miles/hour on gravel, so it'll take ~5 hours for North Bend -> Hyak Parking Lot (~24 miles/2500ft). Home -> P2C parking lot (~40 miles/2600ftt; 4 hours), so the suggested schedule would be 8/9AM-6PM, with all the stops.
  • Note: Sunset in Snoqualmie Pass is 7:09PM; sunrise at 6:50AM next morning.
Home → Cold Creek Primitive Campsite (~68 miles/5000ft) [Ride with GPS link]
Alternate Route
1) Carter Creek Primitive Campsite (52 miles/4000ft), 2) Meany Lodge (~70 miles/5000ft)
Mika recommends this route it avoids any steep climb around Snoqualmie/Fall City. The only potentially difficult part is that we'd be on 202 for about 1.5 miles between Fall City and Snoqualmie Falls, which is a busy street and we'd be climbing. There is some shoulder and I suspect a group of touring cyclists would make cars go slower around us. Note that the last bump on this route is not real since we'll be going through the tunnel.
  • Stop for water and beer in North Bend (there's a Safeway which is likely a good bet) before heading onto the trail!
  • Breakfast: home before we leave
  • Lunch: pick up/consume something at supermarket in North Bend or pick it up
  • Dinner: camp food + beer/cider
Camping along the Palouse to Cascades trail at Cold Creek.
There are four campgrounds along the trail (not all are on Google Maps), each with three to four campsites, one picnic table, and a vault toilet. They are located at milepost 2109.5 at Roaring Creek, milepost 2113.2 at Cold Creek, milepost 2123.2 at Carter Creek, and milepost 2127.1 at Alice Creek. We're targetting Cold Creek which is after Hyak.
  • We should be able to filter water at all of the sites (definitely at Cold Creek). Water is also available at the Hyak parking lot, so we got water there.
  • Fees are $12 and should be payable in cash (bring an envelope or pick one up at Hyak?) in a collection box at the site.
  • Camping is primitive but it's free and first-come. Toilets and picnic tables are available at each campsite.
  • The last campsite for the day is Roaring Creek at the end of Keechelus Lake.
  • When we stayed at Cold Creek last time, it was very clean and only 1.5 miles from Hyak Parking lot so we got water there.

Other camping options from west to east:

Day 2: 9/20 Sunday [DONE][edit]

  • Note: gravel downhill is slow and hard work!
  • Note: no water at the campsite, so pick up some in Ellensberg or filter.
  • Note: If the campsites along the canyon are closed b/o the fire aftermath, we can stay at Yakima River RV Park (right before the canyon). Incident page for the Evans Canyon Fire is online. It appears to be in "mop up" mode on 9/10 so we're probably good.
  • Note: Sunset at 7:05PM; Sunrise at 6:46AM next morning.
Cold Creek Campsite to Big Pines in the Yakima River Canyon Campsite (~73 miles/300ft)
Alternative Routes
1) Carter Creek Campsite (~83 miles/1000ft); 2) Meany Lodge (~67 miles/360ft) to Yakima River Canyon Campsite; 3) R2G link from Hyak to Roza campground (~78.4 miles/1300ft);
If the gravel is bad, there's an option to get off the trail from South Cle Elum (right on upper Peoh Point Rd); it'd require some climbing if we take this alternate route.
  • Stop by bakery and/or cafe for snacks or lunch in Cle Elem which is cute (~30 mi) or Ellensberg which is bigger (~55 mi)
  • Scenic bike trip down the Yakima River canyon
  • Breakfast: camp food
  • Lunch: Ellensburg supermarket or takeout somewhere
  • Dinner: camp food
  • Camping at Yakima River Canyon Campgrounds, in Big Pines campground (the center of the campgrounds) (reservations on
  • It's a big campground but Mako reserved Walk-in Site B which is basically the most secluded/isolated spot in the joint and it's not directly on the road. Should be nice.
  • There's a 2-day minimum reservation on weekends so we actually have it on Saturday and Sunday nights.
  • Other options for places to stay: See this map 1) Bighorn campground (closest to Ellensburg on Yakima River Canyon), 2) Lmuma (between Bighorn and Big Pines Canyon Campsite); 3) Roza (closer to Yakima/down the hill a little bit)
  • There is no no water and probably no cell phone coverage.
  • make a reservation at the campsite (not sure if there's a hiker biker spot): [DONE]
Other details:
  • Open Season Yakima River Canyon Recreation Sites are open YEAR ROUND.
  • Fees - $15 overnight, $5 Day-Use
  • Campsite Reservations May 01 to September 30; first come, first serve October 01 to April 30.
  • No Drinking Water or hookups available.
  • Cellular Phone Coverage is limited in many areas of the Yakima River Canyon.

Day 3: 9/21 Monday [DONE][edit]

Note: Sunset at 7:01PM; sunrise at 6:49AM.
Note: If anybody needs to make the trip shorter, there's an option to take Route 12 from Yakima towards Mt. Rainier.
  • Yakima Canyon/Big Pines campground to Brooks Memorial State Park (~76 miles/3600ft) Ride with GPS link. This will likely involve riding on gravel while being chased by dogs + hot, dry road (Route 97: ~38 miles) up to a pass with no towns, shops, or shade.
  • Consider leaving the campsite around 7AM, so that we are not on 97 during the hottest hours (i.e. after 1PM). 38miles of mostly downhill on paved road from the canyon campground to the beginning of 97.
  • Pick up tons of water/gatorade in Wapato or Toppenfish as there are no shops or houses on 97. And it's hot.
  • Breakfast: cold breakfast/pick up something in Yakima
  • Lunch: Route Optionpick up something in Yakima, Wapato, or Toppenfish and have it on route 97
  • Dinner: camp food

Stay in Brooks Memorial State Park. Reservations end on September 15th so all sites are first-come-first-served. Water, showers, toilets are available.

The park has 22 standard sites (sites 24-45), 23 full-hookup sites (sites 1-23), one dump station, one restroom and two showers. A limit of eight people are permitted per site. Maximum site length is 60 feet (limited availability). Electrical sites have 50 amp hookups. Water is available in hookup sites from mid-April to late October.

Check-in time is 2:30 p.m. Check-out time is 1 p.m.

  • make a | reservation at Brooks Memorial State Park (long day/Option 2): (not possible)

Alternate Plan

There's a plan for a short day that has us staying in Toppenish instead:

  • Yakima Canyon to to hotel in Toppenish (~38miles/38tft); They all look kinda bad (see below).
  • make a reservation either at a motel/Yakama Nation RV Park (short day/Option 1) (Yelp and other sources suggests this is closed and they are not picking up the phone...)
  • Other options are: Toppenish Inn And Suites; or Legends Casino Hotel (~$138 per room/night); there's a third option in Toppenish but it looks sketchy even by Mako's adventurous standards
  • If we're doing this, we have more time to play in the canyon in the morning AND pick up tamales at Los Hernandez in Yakima or Union Gap. Open only from 11AM...
  • Also, the next day will be long and hard (63-77miles/3000-3500ft).

Day 4: 9/22 Tuesday [DONE][edit]


From Brooks Memorial State Park to Columbia Hills Historial Park [Ride with GPS] (~39 miles/770ft)

  • Breakfast: camp food
  • Breakfast/Snack: St. Johns Bakery near Brooks Memorial Park (9AM-6PM).
  • Dinner: camp food
Camping in Columbia Hills State Historical Park
Horsethief Lake has four standard campsites, eight partial-hookup sites, four standard "walk-in" sites, two primitive hiker/biker sites, two rustic cabins, one dump station and one restroom. Maximum site length is 60 feet (limited availability). Campers should be aware that it can be very windy in the Columbia River Gorge and should be prepared for such conditions. The location on the Horsethief Lake campsites on the Columbia River means it is also close to active train tracks. Campers should be aware that trains pass along the edge of the park throughout the day and night.

It includes potable water.

Spots are not reservable after 9/15 and there are two hiker/biker spots. We should just show up.

Alternate route/historical information

Option 1) a: Yakima Nations RV Park (~63 miles/3000ft) or b: Brooks Memorial State Park (~25 miles/380ft) to Maryhill State Park, Option 2) a: Yakima Nations RV Park (~77 miles/3400ft) or b: Brooks Memorial State Park (~39 miles/770ft) to Columbia Hills Historical Park,

Day 5: 9/23 Wednesday (Wifi/hot tub PM!) [TODO][edit]

  • Note: Mako needs to be on a call on Wednesday AM, so it'd be good to be in Carson by Tuesday.
  • Note: Route 14 is a little busy and the shoulder is small; a few detours can be taken (though a little more climbing); the tunnels have "bicyclist-in-the-tunnel" lights.
Columbia Hills Historical Park (~40 miles/1300ft) to Carson Hot Spring. Ride with GPS
  • Get in early and soak.
  • There used to be a "natural" hot spring but last time we went, it dried up. We should look up and see if we can hike there.
  • Breakfast: camp food
  • Lunch: pick up something in one of the towns
  • Dinner: Brewery pizza at Backwoods Brewing (open until 9pm)

Overnight (to be reserved)

Carson Hot Springs and SPA

Something weird is going on: the website linked above is broken and doesn't seem to resolve and there's a pretty crazy note on the the Facebook page... Rooms seem to available on but I would call: (509) 427-8296 and find out if (a) they are really renting rooms and (b) if the hot springs are really open. —mako 03:05, 11 September 2020 (CEST)

OK. It seems open and running now. Someone should call and verify that (a) they are open and (b) their spa is open. We should probably reserve two rooms: (1) King Room w/ Hot Tub (more expensive but then we can hot spring on our own schedule) and (2) double-queen room. —mako 03:05, 11 September 2020 (CEST)
  • Alternative overnight options:
Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins (more expensive, only 2/cottage, looks nice, right by backward brewery): we'd visit Carson Hot Spring just for the sauna experience (~$30/person?)
Home Valley Campground seems to be closest campground
Sunrise at PM; sunrise at AM.
Other options
Bonneville Resort

There are two routes, with and without bus.

The hood river shuttle is a dial-a-ride and runs four times a day across the bridge. No bicyclists and pedestrians are allowed on Hood River State Bridge and the nearest bridge is 20 miles away. The bus leaves Port of Hood River at 8:25, 12:00, 1:40, and 4:30 and costs $1 per person. Runs only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We must call (509) 493-4662 in advance to make sure that the bike space is available.

We want to arrive in Carson before 4:30pm to take advantage of the bath and wrap which is available only until 18:00. Google suggests ~5 hours (48.6 miles) from Maryhill State Park to Port of Hood River. It should 97 minutes (17.2 miles) to Carson from the other side. If we make the 1:40 bus, we should make it to Carson in time.

  • After Carson, it gets hilly, so I suggest shorter distance each day.
Alternate Routes

Route: 1) Maryhill State Park (57 miles/2000ft)

Day 6: 9/24 Thursday (Wifi/hot tub in AM) [TODO][edit]

  • Note: Mako has a call in the morning, so this needs to be a short day.
Carson to Swift Forest Camp (~38 miles/3200ft).
  • Sauna in AM; biking in PM.
  • Breakfast: somewhere in Carson
  • Lunch: pick up something in Carson?
  • Dinner: camp food or we can check out THE Pizza Place.
Sunset PM; sunrise
  • make a | reservation for Swift Forest (>70 available as of Sep 4).

Day 7: 9/25 Friday (Wifi/shower day for some at least) [TODO][edit]

  • M has meetings on Friday, so she needs to be in a place where she can take calls in AM. Wifi would be nice.
Swift Forest Camp to Morton (e.g. Seasons Motel, 200 Westlake Ave, Morton, WA 98356; wifi yes) (~55 miles/4700ft) OR to Randall (e.g. KM Resorts - Maple Grove Resort; wifi yes) (~46 miles/4100ft)

Other people may want to stay at locations closer to trailheads etc.

Option 1
Swift Forest Camp to Iron Creek Campground, Forest Road 25, Randle, WA 98377 (36 miles; 3800ft)
Option 2
Swift Forest Camp to Cowlitz Falls Campground, 889 Peters Rd, Randle, WA 98377 (51 miles; 4300ft)
  • Breakfast: camp food
  • Lunch: ?
  • Dinner: town food or camp food

Day 8: 9/26 Saturday (Wifi/shower in AM) [TODO][edit]

  • Mika has a call until 2PM.
  • Options for destination include: Elkamp, Rocky Point, Whittaker's bunkhouse??

Day 9: 9/27 Sunday [TODO][edit]

to home!

Day 10: There is no day 10[edit]

Resources and Links[edit]


Home → Cold Creek
  • Day 1: Breakfast - Before leaving
  • Day 1: Lunch - Cold lunch on the road (e.g., sandwiches, etc)
  • Day 1: Dinner - Hot dinner cooked at camp (STOVE)
Cold Creek → Big Pines/Yakima River Canyon
  • Day 2: Breakfast - Hot breakfast cooked at camp (STOVE)
  • Day 2: Lunch - Lunch at diner or supermarket or similar in Ellensberg
  • Day 2: Dinner - Hot dinner cooked at camp (STOVE)
Big Pines/Yakima River Canyon → Brooks Memorial State Park
  • Day 3: Breakfast - Quick breakfast so we can leave early (STOVE)
  • Day 3: Lunch - Cold lunch eaten on road (e.g., sandwiches, etc)
  • Day 3: Dinner - Hot dinner cooked at camp
Brooks Memorial State Park → Columbia Hills Historical Park
  • Day 4: Breakfast - Hot breakfast? (STOVE?) / Something in Goldendale?
  • Day 4: Lunch - Cold lunch eaten on road (bought in Goldendale?)
  • Day 4: Dinner - Hot dinner cooked at camp (STOVE)
Columbia Hills Historical Park → Carson
  • Day 5: Breakfast - Hot breakfast cooked at camp (STOVE)
  • Day 5: Lunch - Cold lunch eaten on road? Something at Carson if we make good time?
  • Day 5: Dinner - Pizza!

Stuff below in still in process...

  • Day 6: Breakfast - Town food
  • Day 6: Lunch - Cold lunch (pick up before departure)
  • Day 6: Dinner - Hot dinner cooked at camp (unless we stop at The Pizza Store) (STOVE?)
  • Day 7: Breakfast - Hot breakfast cooked at camp (STOVE)
  • Day 7: Lunch - Lunch at the destination (short day)
  • Day 7: Dinner - Town food (for MM)/camp food for others if we stay at different places? (STOVE?)
  • Day 8: Breakfast - Town food (for MM)/camp food for others? (STOVE?)
  • Day 8: Lunch - Lunch at the destination
  • Day 8: Dinner - Town food
  • Day 9: Breakfast - Town food
  • Day 9: Lunch - Town food
  • Day 9: Dinner - HOME?
  • Note for MM - hot dinner ideas: 1) ramen with eggs and freeze dried veggies, 2) Japanese curry with FD tofu and veggies and eggs, 3) shepard's pie with instant potatoes and TVP and FD veggies, 4) couscous with FD veggies, 5) "risotto", 6) Indian curry retort
  • hot breakfast ideas: eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, "french toast", instant potatoes
  • snacks
  • nuun

Review from 2015[edit]

  • we should have brought more hot sauce.
  • we need heat-resistant/non-scratch utensils.
  • heat packs were useful.
  • REI Huevos Rancheros looked/felt a little too digested. Pad Thai was great.
  • french bread breakfast is great.
  • bring salt/pepper and peanut butter/jam packets.
  • tea/hot chocolate was great.
  • avoid gravel road as much as possible.
  • lots of camping options in the canyon.

Review from 2021 Sept 22-27 (B+L)[edit]

  • very windy biking westbound in the gorge on the north side
  • there are coin-operated showers at Hyak trailhead (for PCT folks?)
  • horsethief lake campsite was meh. windy, even with windbreaks, tent sites are very close to each other, lake water is not river and smelled a bit. bathrooms did have coin-op showers
  • st john's bakery, coming south from Brooks Memorial campground, was really great. coffee and greek pastries baked by nuns from monastary
  • we pushed it a bit too late arriving at Brooks Memorial, but generally hitting the pass after the heat of the day was good (didn't climb in the hot/exposed time of day)
  • gravel coming down from Hyak was mostly fine, ruts worn in. the last ~10 miles to ellensburg was a bit thicker/slower, when trail was flat. otherwise made 12-14 mph easily on the trail.
  • not too many fruit trucks in yakima valley last week of september. no beer available in the whole valley that we saw (there is a fancy hotel/restaurant now, but doesn't sell to-go)