10000 ft North Cascade Weekend Part II - Highway Cycling

This year, SR 20 the North Cascades Highway opened unusually early due to the increasingly warm weather. I had been planning this scenic cycling trip for years but was concerned about the road conditions and whether they would be suitable for my road bike. This time, I borrowed a gravel bike from a friend and finally made the trip!

The trailhead felt like a party. The parking lot was packed, and the highway shoulder was lined with vehicles. The entire trip route from Ross Dam Trailhead to the Washington Pass sign spanned roughly 60 miles with an elevation gain of 5,000 feet. We maintained a relaxed pace and finished just before a beautiful sunset.

The entire route was easier than I had anticipated. Although there were multiple passes to cross, the inclines were manageable. When riding back, you can imagine how it felt to descend 4,000 feet.

Riding in the center of the highway, enjoying the full width of the road, was a unique experience. The views were just gorgeous. And it turned out there were not as many tiny rocks or dirt patches as expected, so a road bike could have easily handled it.

Our final stop was just past Early Winter Spires at the roadside view of Washington Pass. I’m grateful for all the hard work done to clear the route, providing us cyclists with this once-a-year opportunity.