Yacolt Burn State Forest Road

Length: 57 Miles
Direction: Counter Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 4520 ft
Highest Point: 1878 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X27 or lower

DirectionsSee full ride directions
View map and ride data at GPSies.com
Download Print-Friendly Directions

The view from here makes the rough terrain worth itHaving ventured down various forest roads over the years, I now look back at how poorly prepared I was had I ever gotten lost or had a bike mechanical. So for the first time in nearly 20 years of riding, I placed a phone call to ask about the Yacolt Burn road. I was given a heads up that the road is reasonably bumpy but passable on a bike. Armed with my GPS unit, I drew the ride online and downloaded it so I would have a map ready to follow. I was glad that I had this little piece of technology. It sure beat my old strategy of placing sticks at various turns as a sort of ‘leaving breadcrumbs’ trick. The other aspect I considered was to attempt to create a route around the area instead. However a quick view of the map showed little to no options. Upon completing the ride, I was quite pleased with the chosen route. Although the forest road can be difficult at times, it was quite worth doing to enjoy the magnificent roads both before and afterward. Recent comments however do indicate that my desire for the extreme may not be as well appreciated by others. So I would sincerely recommend wider tires or a cross bike. Or a detour of the route to skip the gravel here:


This ride takes in over 4500 feet of elevation gain and there is really no harm in having a low gear such as a 39X27. There is a considerable amount of climbing to do before you even get to the Yacolt Burn forest road. That being said, there is a pretty amazing descent to enjoy down to Washougal River Rd as well.

Start this ride on the I-205 bike path and Marine Dr. Cross the Columbia River via the bike path and then head east on the Evergreen Hwy. This little beauty runs you into Camas and then through Washougal. As soon as you turn off onto Sunset View Rd, the climbing begins. Take note that there are little to no water filling options on this ride once you turn off of Evergreen Hwy. You may wish to consider topping up your stores to get you back to Camas, approximately 30 miles later.

One you’re through Yacolt Burn and off of the forest road, Boulder Creek awaits with smooth pavement. Turn onto Lessard Rd and face one more major climb on the day. Then, for the most part, you’ll drop back down to Washougal River Rd. These roads through here, such as Ireland and Stauffer, are incredible and give you a sense that the effort of climbing all day was all worth it. Washougal, a road worthy of its own ride destination, then takes you back to Camas, where you’ll retrace your original path back to the start.

Evergreen ParkwayPerhaps a thousand year flood dropped this boat here at over 1000ft elevationDescend to Washougal River and start climbing again right awayBoulder Creek is most welcome after descending gravel

12 Responses to “Yacolt Burn State Forest Road”

  1. jeff smith Says:

    Are there any Washington State maps that cover this area —? the atlases (DeLorme & Benchmark) don’t help much.

    Looks like a very interesting ride…

  2. Jacob Says:

    I hope you’re able to follow through to the gpsies.com map. By default gpsies shows the map in terrain view. Click on Terrain in the top right corner of the map and then click Google under Maps. This will give you a street map. Hope that helps.

  3. Jacob Says:

    I did create a variation of the ride that skips the gravel. It is available on gpsies.com at this link:
    This is a good loop for those looking to explore riding in Washington a little more but don’t want to venture on any rough roads.

  4. Andy Says:

    What section of this ride is gravel? It looks like the gravel starts at about mile 25, but where does it end?

  5. Jacob Says:

    The gravel ends at Boulder Creek Rd around mile 31

  6. Leaf S. Says:

    I did this ride yesterday and it was okay. Definitely bring your climbing legs! The dirt section was okay, I was on my camping bike with big tires (700×37) and found it a bit difficult. I can’t really imagine doing the dirt section on anything smaller than 28s and having fun. Still, the dirt descent is fairly short and the roads that take you to and from that section are really nice. But ultimately, I find the roads in NW Wa County much more enjoyable and would recommend if you want to hit some dirt on your road bike consider doing Dixie Mtn and consider exploring the gravel roads in the area.

  7. Jacob Says:

    Thanks Leaf. I created this ride with 23 tires and it was bumpy to say the least. But I still enjoyed it and would rate it as a ride you do every once in a while when you need to do something extreme. However I did map a route that skips the gravel in the comments below

  8. Dave Says:

    Did it on a road bike skinny tires (1 flat) don’t recommond it.Had to walk some of the gravel.hands cramped breaking on the gravel down hill.(skinny tires).Good directions.Nice roads lots of climbing.

  9. Brian Says:

    I rode this on a Sunday a few weeks back–broke my GPS en route, but I had the cue sheet. The directions were excellent. The very first 1/2 mi or so of gravel was very rough. Sticking it out, I’m glad I did, it gets better but overall worse than say the Lolo Pass gravel. Through the steeper parts I was riding 4-5 mph. Traction problems forced a couple of stops. There was quite a lot of gun fire (I assume none aimed at the spandex), and motocross happening in the area.

    The ride to the Yacolt out of Washougal is excellent as is the ride out. Jacob describes it well as something on the extreme-side–an adventure ride, one could call it.

  10. Jacob Says:

    Glad you persisted. I think the ride really is an adventure that was worth sharing. And good to hear you still negotiated without GPS so you had a greater adventure than I did!

  11. Tim Says:

    I did this ride and perhaps took a wrong turn in the Forest Part…. I will try again. But Lots of gun fire a crazy ass motocross riders…

  12. Toby Says:

    I just finished this ride, and probably wouldn’t do it again solo. I had high hopes, and it would be an amazing route, if it weren’t for all of the rednecks. I ride normally and try to be considerate to other road users. That being said, I was honked at, buzzed WAY too close, and even had some jerk in a lifted diesel purposefully put out a HUGE cloud of black smoke right as he passed me. I had to breathe that in for 100 yards while climbing. Not fun.

    Once I got to the gravel section, I there were a ton of lifted 4x4s and rednecks shooting guns that gave me dirty looks just for being on the bike.

    This route would be good if you have 3+ cyclists. The climbs are brutal and the views are great. It’s a shame that other road users ruined it for me. I was glad to safely get home.

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