One of my favorite trails to date in the Puget Sound area is the Lower Dungeness and Gold Creek Trail Loop. I have ridden it twice before and I was excited to get back out for another outing in the area.
The first few miles of the Lower Dungeness trail can be brutally steep and amazingly pretty. A lot of people opt to take the fire roads around to 3 o’clock ride and then take a connector trail down to the Lower Dungeness cutting out much of the brutal climbing section of the trail.
I have done both options and decided to take the forest service roads/3 o’clock ridge option.
The views from along the forest road are really nice and grades are reasonable but you are missing out on pristine stuff my bypassing those first few miles.
Once I reached 3 o’clock ridge there was quite a bit of zippy downhill singlet rack goodness down into the creek watershed. Once down there it was just sublime Pacific Northwest loamy, mossy forested goodness following the creek up stream.
There is plenty of undulations along the Lower Dungeness trail and since you are heading upstream you know you are trending uphill. You probably will not care as the experience is pretty incredible.
Once the trail reached the junction of the Dungeness Creek trail and another fire road it was time for some more climbing to get to the top of the Gold Creek Trail and the Tubal Cain Trail at the edge of the Buckhorn Wilderness. It was not a horrible climb, but you certainly did some work.
The Gold Creek is pretty awesome section of trail that spends a lot of time along the a steep hillside with the Lower Dungeness Creek far below.
It was not recently that I learned that a portion of this trail is also part of the Pacific Northwest Trail. Established in the 2009, the Pacific Northwest trail is 1,200 miles long and goes from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Oceans.
Hmmmm, I was a little lite on pictures through much of the ripping downhill sections of this trail. Gold Creek will eventually drop down off of the high ridge sides. Where you will enjoy some more creek-side riding before you have to a wee bit of climbing on an decommissioned forest road back up to the trail head.
On this day I logged right at 20 miles with 3,900 feet of climbing. My legs were drained and my soul was full!