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Two wheels. Four mountains. Eight days. A million memories. Crafted for solid cyclists, our bicycle tour of four volcanoes is not for the faint of heart, but it's infinitely rewarding. You'll immerse yourself in the ultimate Cascade Mountain bicycle experience, riding through vast reaches of dense forests, along sparkling rivers, past snow-crowned summits, wildflower-strewn meadows and volcanic moonscapes - some of the Pacific Northwest's most dramatic terrain.
Meet in Seattle. Ride from Cle Elum, a tiny alpine burgh, into the Cascade Mountain foothills.
Start on Saturday morning with a complimentary ride in our van from Seattle over the Cascade Mountains. Begin cycling on the eastern slope of the Cascades, following country roads through the woods to Cle Elum in the Wenatchee National Forest. Spend the night at the Iron Horse Inn, a bed and breakfast with an outdoor hot tub and rooms filled with railroad memorabilia. The inn is adjacent to a major rails-to-trails bicycle path that crosses Washington State and is near a former railroad station/roundhouse recently converted into a railroad museum.
Follow scenic back roads over Snoqualmie Pass along the glittering Yakima River.
Bicycle from the forested hills down into open cattle country near Ellensburg. Ride beside the Yakima River as it exits the Cascades and cuts through a beautiful, winding canyon before curving into the apple orchards near Yakima. Spend the night at the Birchfield Manor, a luxurious inn with an award-winning wine list.
Cycle beneath basalt cliffs along the Naches River, then up to Alta Crystal on the slopes of Mt. Rainier.
Follow the Naches River, gently ascending the wooded eastern slope of the Cascades. Continue riding up to Alta Crystal Resort on Mt. Rainier. The heated pool and hot tub will be most welcome after today's climbs!
Ride Mt. Rainier – from the Grove of the Patriarchs to dramatic Paradise Lodge, which has hosted the likes of skater Sonja Henie and President Harry Truman.
Most of the cycling today is within Mt. Rainier National Park. Climb 30 miles to Chinook Pass. Reward yourself with a 12-mile downhill through Cayuse Pass (yes, down to a pass) and along the Ohanapecosh River. Then it’s back to climbing again — 24 miles on a spectacular road up the eastern flank of Mt. Rainier. This is a challenging but very rewarding day, as you work your way up the mountain through virgin evergreen forests, past waterfalls from streams filled with snowmelt, and along a road with little traffic.
Hike the soaring Skyline Trail. Bike to the mineral springs at Longmire.
Spend two nights at Paradise Lodge, a national park lodge located in the middle of the park (at 5,200 feet) on Mt. Rainier. The classic lodge has been beautifully redone over the last two years. Wednesday, hike a gorgeous trail through meadows of wildflowers, beside sparkling streams, and up to an area with commanding views stretching for 100+ miles. Prefer to ride? Head down to the mineral hot springs of Longmire, then back up again to Paradise.
Ride south, skirting the flanks of both Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.
Ride beside a river through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest along a little-used country road heading toward Mt. St. Helens. Approach from the northeast, cycling straight into the route that the exploding gases and ash took during the eruption of May 18, 1980. At first the evergreen forest looks normal, but then you'll notice pebbles of white pumice on the forest floor. Further along, some trees have lost branches. Standing dead trees appear, then trees that were knocked down by the blast. They lie like spilled toothpicks on the hillside, trunks all neatly pointing to the still smoldering crater.
Devastation seems complete until you crest a ridge and view the ultimate — no trees. Here, hot volcanic gases blasting at over 500 miles per hour not only knocked everything down, but literally blew it all away. From a vista overlooking log-filled Spirit Lake, a park ranger tells the incredible story of the explosion, the current buildup of a cinder cone in the volcano’s crater, the dramatic increase in volcanic activity since September 2004, the amazing reemergence of life in the 1980 blast zone, and the possibility of a future eruption. Awesome!
From Mt. St. Helens, van to the Columbia River and elegant Skamania Lodge for the night.
Ride Mt. Hood to Timberline Lodge.
Friday’s ride is through the apple and pear orchards of the Hood River Valley. Pass through thick forests of tall firs in Mt. Hood National Forest as you wind around the mountain and finish the day with a climb to Timberline Lodge (famous for its place in The Shining). Spend the night here. Enjoy a superb meal in a spectacular setting: at an elevation of 6,000 feet, the views are majestic.
Ride down Mt. Hood to a gourmet picnic among the red cedars of Meinig Park before heading to Portland.
Today, ride a lovely long downhill from Mt. Hood, followed by a beautiful ride on winding roads beside a river and through a wooded canyon in Mt. Hood National Forest, all the way to the outskirts of Portland. Take a short shuttle to the Portland airport, airport hotels, and downtown Portland hotels.
* Bicycle Adventures operates under special use permits while on Federal Lands managed by the National Forest Service (USDA), National Parks and Bureau of Land Management. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.