It was raining. The trail was thick with mud. A stagnant swamp stood in my way. But I had decided to ride up Issaquah’s Grand Ridge trail to check out the latest building efforts at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park, and that goal made all the difference.
Distance: 18+ miles (Grand Ridge out-and-back from High Point exit—14+ miles; Duthie XC trails—4 miles)
Altitude change: 1,100′
The Park: The multi-discipline mountain bike park on 120 forested acres hasn’t had its official opening yet, and the trails are still under construction. But every time I visit Duthie I see something new and inspiring. Yesterday I spotted members of the Dirt Corp team preparing materials for their jump line. Dirt Corp is one of many trail building groups who seem to always be at Duthie, building and enhancing trail, even in the rain.
Not just a hub of activity, Duthie is also a center of learning. It’s here that XC, freeride and DHers intersect in a place that everyone can call home. And riders can learn at their own pace on features designed for a range of skill levels.
On yesterday’s ride I saw one mountain biker teaching another rider (his girlfriend?) how to mountain bike. I took her for a roadie—comfortable on a bike but maybe not over roots or logs. As she rode along the Bootcamp and SX XC trails, she seemed cautious but game for trying anything in her path—and the guy was commendably patient with the process. Duthie Hill Park, with its short, fun, skill-building XC trails, is an ideal place for just this kind of learning.
In the center clearing at Duthie, riders can practice their technique on a series of low, progressive drops.
The fun Bootcamp trail, which begins right behind the five drops, offers secondary lines with manageable and progressive stunts that do not obstruct the main singletrack.
Intermediate skill-building features, like the multi-turn log ride in the middle of Bootcamp, will keep honed the reflexes of even seasoned riders.
After the extended log ride, Bootcamp’s sweet downhill berm section awaits. A swooping ride through giant green ferns ends at a dirt road; cross it and pick up the SX XC trail for more cross-country riding. The trail dumps out near the end of the Dirt Corp jump line. Keep a look out for the team in action, either catching air or building a new gap jump.
Completed features on the Dirt Corp line include a ramp/drop option and a wall ride, among other jumps and stunts.
Dirt Corp is just one of many lines at Duthie, and other carefully-engineered trails are on the way. If you haven’t yet visited the Park, it’s time you came and checked out the spectacle. Oh, and bring your bike.
From High Point parking lot via Grand Ridge: see directions in my earlier blog on Grand Ridge (Slip-Sliding Down Grand Ridge). The Grand Ridge trail ends at Issaquah-Fall City Road. Across the road is the south maintenance access road that will take you into the heart of Duthie. Ride into the main clearing and you’ll spot the progressive drops. The Bootcamp trail picks up right behind them.
For directions to the main (north) entrance and more information on the Park, visit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance’s trail trail wiki page for Duthie.
Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park: worth swimming through Grand Ridge’s swamp to get there:)
See you on the trails!