Tolt-MacDonald Park

Description: Tolt-MacDonald offers a maze of cross-country singletrack trails. The trails are up on a plateau. There is about a 300 to 400 vertical foot climb to get up to the plateau where the trails are. After the initial climb the trails are mostly rolling up and down with no extended climbs. The trails are through forest. There are roots to get over and dips to go down and up. The trails offer enough difficulty to wear you out even though they aren't technically difficult. There is a variety of trails up there. Some are easy and some are more difficult. In the summer all of the trails are dry and in ridable condition. It's in the wet season that you need to be more selective in choosing a trail (some trails stay dryer than others).

I'm not sure how well a group ride will work on these trails. There are lots of intersections where someone in the group could take a wrong turn. We'll have to come up with a system to keep everyone together. At every intersection we could have the second rider (the rider behind the leader) stop and direct everyone in the right direction then join up with the group at the end of the line. I also have a pair of FRS radios which could be helpful. We'll have figure out something based on the size of the group and the skill levels of the riders.

Location: The town of Carnation about 20 to 30 minutes from Mount Si High School
Distance: You can make the ride as long as you want. There is about 10 to 15 miles of trail up there.
Difficulty: Intermediate
The Trail: The trails are a maze. I loose my sense of direction up there on every ride. For the most part I ride up there in a state of lost. My strategy up there is to bring a GPS and mark a waypoint at the top of Itsabitch so I can find my way back. I also have waypoints for the NE, SE, and SW corners of the jeep trail so I can keep my bearings. If you don't have a GPS then at least bring a compas so you can at least have a chance of heading in the right direction to get back to "Itsabitch". If someone wants to go riding here on their own I can loan out my GPS.

From the parking lot head across the river on the suspension foot bridge. There is no riding allowed on the bridge so walk the unicycle across the bridge. Once across the bridge continue straight towards two group camping cabins. Right by Cabin 2 the Itsabitch uphill climb begins. Look for the trail behind Cabin 2. It's a difficult climb. I end up walking parts of it. There are some oddly angled water dams placed on the trail that can be dangerous for the bikes but aren't too bad for a muni. After some freshly cut switchbacks there will be an intersection. At the intersection turn left (the trail to the right will look unused and I don't know where it goes). Continue up. At the top you'll reach a 4-way intersection with the jeep road. Get a good mental picture of the intersection here. This is your way back and there is no sign on the trail saying "To get back to the car head down this trail". If you have a GPS mark a waypoint at this point.

My strategy is to just pick a trail and ride it not always knowing where I'll pop out. Then I'll look for another trail and repeat. It is like jumping down a rabbit hole and not knowing where it will emerge. Using this strategy it is very easy to get disoriented which is why I use a GPS.

I usually head towards the SE corner of the jeep trail loop and ride Walter's Trail, Blair Witch Project, Toothpick, MLR, Bypass, and Double Bypass. I often make a wrong turn along the way and end up on a different trail than I expected. It's all part of the fun up there. When It's time to head home I look at the GPS to figure out where "Itsabitch" is and head back to the car.

As a point of reference, at the SW corner of the jeep roads there is a white sign saying "No Motorized Vehicles" and a yellow sign saying that this area is not public property. This is a 4-way intersection right by trails 13, 14, 15 on the map.

Notes: There is water at the Tolt-MacDonald campground so you can top of your water bladder before you head up to the trails. There is no water up where the trails are.

There are toilet facilities at the campground.

Pack some basic tools with you. It is a long walk back to the car if you have a mechanical.

When parking at the trailheads do not leave valuables in the car.

Getting There:
Directions to Tolt-MacDonald from Issaquah:   Driving directions and map
Directions to Tolt-MacDonald from Snoqualmie:   Driving directions and map
Maps: Map 1 133 KB

Map 2 236 KB

Map 3 26 KB