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Rat Trap Pass

This is a rare opportunity for an actual day loop ride over a named pass in the Cascades. In spite of the 3000ft elevation gain the road stays in deep forest and offers only a few glimpses of the giants above. For me the main attraction is the deep mossy forest.

1.(00.0m,0560ft)START-END SOUTH: jct Wa530-Mountain Loop Hwy, Darrington
2.(09.0m,0980ft)profile turns left onto FR23
3.(18.8m,3170ft)TOP: Rat Trap Pass
4.(25.0m,1060ft)jct with FR25
5.(28.2m,0840ft)START-END NORTH: bridge over Siuattle River and jct with Siuattle River Rd


Approaches

From South.
The profile starts in Darrington and goes up the quiet, paved part of Mountain Loop Highay to Barlow Pass. Just past the boat launch at the jct with FR24, there is another junction with FR23, and the destinations on the signs includes this pass.

Initially the road is a smooth surface and follows the White Chuck River. After crossing onto the north side the surface becomes more rocky, the climb intermittently steeper and the forest remains as impenetrable as before. The main reason for this road seems to be the Meadow Mtn Trailhead. Past that the road takes another step down in maintanance and ridability.

A short distance below the top nature has helped the National Forest Service's aims by washing out the road. This saves them the work of closing down yet another road to through going traffic. But to make sure forest service erected extra barriers on each side. Fixing the road would probably have been less work. Luckily a bicycle can easily get through all these obstacles easily. The top is a long straight road in the forest.


From North. (described downwards) On one of the wide meanders there is an actual view of a mountain towering above, giving at least a hint of the landscape above (picture to the left). The profile stays left at every intersection. None of these have any signs, but the left always goes downhill. The deep peaceful forest on this side, with its copious amounts of moss hanging on every branch, to me is the most impressive aspect of this summit. After a narrow bridge over the Suiattle River, the route turns left onto the paved Siuattle River Road and continues in peace with a few views of snow capped peaks through the trees, to the jct with Wa530, which leads back to Darrington.


Dayride with this point as highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED

( < Bartlow Pass | Stampede Pass > )

Rat Trap Pass , additional out and back : jct Mtn Loop Highway - FR to Mt Pugh Th <> out and back on Mtn Loop Highway as far as Bedal Campground >> Mtn Loop Highway north > FR24 > Rat Trap Pass > down various unmarked forest roads as shown on map <> out and back on one of these with turnaround point a mile or so beyond Darrington Seat Orachard >> down more unmarked forest roads > Siuattle River Rd south > Wa530 south > Darrington > Mtn Loop Highway south back to starting point: 65.5miles with 5010ft of climbing in 6:35hrs (garmin etrex30 m5:17.8.25
Notes: on the unpaved portion I spoke to a total of three 2-wheel travelers. One was Doug Canfied of mountaineersbooks.org, who had just crossed Barlow Pass with a small dog in the backback. The other two were motorcyclists on two bikes with empty sidecars. They were forced to turn around by the washout. Without the sidecars it wouldn't have been a problem.





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