Hood Canal Travel Guide: Spring Mountain Biking

Itinerary #7: Spring Mountain Biking Near Shelton, WA

A mountain biker is a rugged and intrepid creature. No throwing in the towel for this one, especially if she also happens to be a weekend warrior. A little rain is a welcome challenge, and in many occasions it translates to mystical, magical, tacky brown pow.

The Olympic National Park may be a bit wetter in the spring months, but catch a dry(ish) weekend, and you’ll be sure to come across fewer human tourists, much more wildlife, and a whole lot of excellent singletrack.

Please note: spring biking is only feasible (1) if there is NO standing water on the trail, (2) if the dirt is still sturdy/does not resemble mud and (3) is NOT frozen. Disregarding too-wet trail conditions translates to hours of hard repair work for those that dedicate their free time to keeping our trails beautiful and navigable.

If the timing is right, grab your pals, a warm flask, tune your steed, and hit this perfect singletrack downhill trail in Hood Canal. Oh, and if you’re like us, you’ll be in the mood for some live music and a juicy burger at the end of the day. We’ve got you covered there too.




Gear Head Deli | 9am

For a strong espresso drink and a tasty deli sandwich wrapped up to go, swing by Gear Head Deli on your way to the trailhead. Just off Hwy 101, this small garage-themed deli is clean, friendly, and their deck offers a nice view of the garden when the weather is agreeable. Insider tip: the pulled pork sandwich is amazing.

Open daily from 8am-3pm (open until 4pm on Friday and Saturday)

Lower Big Quilcine Trailhead | 11am

This 6.2-mile singletrack trail loses just less than 2,000’ of elevation gain as it wanders through a deep old growth forest, and is complimented by vistas of the Buckhorn Wilderness. A slew of technical roots test the intermediate biker, but are easily navigable and shouldn’t deter anyone with a bit of experience.

While it’s possible to ride this trail as an out-and-back, most choose to shuttle from the Upper Big Quilcine Trailhead to the Lower Big Quilcine Trailhead. From the upper trailhead, expect to encounter several creek crossings during the upper section amidst smooth, twisting trail thorough tight vegetation. The middle section presents several more technical rock fields and rooted sections, but again, nothing anyone with a bit of experience can’t successfully navigate.

The bottom of the trail serves up wider track and more open space. While it’s easy to pick up speed, keep in mind that the trail is open to dirtbikes and horses as well as hikers. Note that trail etiquette dictates that bikers yield to both hikers and horses. The final mile of the ride is an easy, yet sustained climb to the parking lot.




The Geoduck Tavern | 6pm

If anyone tries to steer you away from the Big Burger Dip when you sit down at the Geoduck Tavern and get a cold Rainier Beer in your hand, don’t listen. This enormous beefy, cheesy goodness will only put you back $11.75. And believe you me, it’s something to write home about. Hit it on the right night, and you’ll be in for some live music to boot. Oh, and we won’t judge if you ask for the second half of your Big Burger Dip to go.

Open daily from 11am-11pm (open until midnight, Friday and Saturday)

Click this link for full driving directions, and be sure to swing by Dosewallips Flats just before you arrive to the tavern for a quick hike to a beautiful view.

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