STAY – Single Track Alliance of Yakima
- May 1, 2017
- by Kathleen Goyette
Only a short distance from Yakima, the Rocky Top Trailhead is truly the epic backyard playground everyone desires. With the approval of Ron Anderson, the Single Track Alliance of Yakima was given the go ahead in 2011 to develop a trail system at Rocky Top. Today the trailhead is a gateway to a trail system with a total of length of 13 miles and 15 unique trails. There are many loops that bikers, hikers, and horseback riders can utilize, along with one large loop that encompasses the entire system. All trails are oriented towards cross country mountain biking. The historic William O’Douglas trail runs right up the middle providing horsemen and hikers accessibility to Mt. Rainier National Park.
Rocky Top is where I grew up. It’s that special place where I learned how to mountain bike, build trails, and enjoy the outdoors. The trails and volunteer opportunities offered at the trailhead have shaped me into the person I am today. Throughout high school the founders of the Single Track Alliance of Yakima, Pat Huwe and Will Hollingbery, provided plenty of opportunities for me to get involved in maintaining and developing trials at Rocky Top. It’s been amazing getting to know the people that make trail system the way it is, and seeing the passion and determination everyone in the community has for outdoors.
Thank you again to Will and Pat (featured left) for assisting me in my dream to establish the new Taco Traverse Trail up at Rocky Top. Go check it out!
Through the goal of preserving the natural landscape by creating recreational opportunities, the Single Track Alliance of Yakima and the Rocky Top Trailhead have changed my life. I can’t wait to see what the alliance does in the future with Rocky Top and other emerging trailheads.
Conditions stay constant throughout the year with tackier dirt in the fall and winter months and prime riding conditions in the beautiful wildflowers and greens of spring (featured above with me in the front of the pack). There are always Strava records to beat, so be ready to descend quickly down swooping berms and rollover jumps. Rocky Top doubles the amount of trails available to bikers and hikers in Yakima by being across the road from the popular Cowiche Canyon Trailhead. Along with this Rocky Top also connects to the Snow Mountain Ranch Trailhead, creating a trail network consisting of Cowiche Canyon Trailhead, Rocky Top Trailhead, and Snow Mountain Ranch Trailhead.
One of the favorite rides is reaching the summit of Rocky Top. Taking on this challenge reveals the reason behind the ingenious name of the trailhead. It also reveals the amazing shrub steppe scenery and top notch trails offered at Rocky Top (featured top right with one of my favorite people, Warren Hurley). The trails to the top include Green Harvester, Orange Harvester, Bench Trail, and Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Take some water and a snack, you’ll be climbing up 1000ft of Cowiche Mountain at about a 9% grade.
Another favorite ride is completing the large loop around Rocky Top. This can be accompanied by climbing to the top of the trailhead and descending down TNT, Dynomite, and Jeff & Axel’s Trail the most technical and praised trails in the trailhead (featured above are Jeff Clark on top and Axel Dolph on working on Rocky Top in it’s early stages). Following this is the well polished trail of Dumb & Dumber which is fun to ride any direction. This combination of trails will leave you craving for more with its natural features, large swooping berms, and drops.
New favorites are providing more ways for riders to use the trailhead by giving the opportunity for bikers to do more laps and traverse to new areas. These trails include Taco Traverse (the newest addition and favorite), Walk n Roll, Will’s Trail (a new addition), and the Canal Trail (restored). Keep your eyes out for these new trails that are helping develop Rocky Top into an even larger and greater trailhead.
If you’re looking for something different with a downhill taste check out Tooled n Schooled. A flow inspired trail with tight berms and long straightaways winding down the center of Rocky Top. All in all every trail is a masterpiece created by all the awesome volunteer work put in my so many great people in the community.
Take a nice hike or mountain bike ride at Rocky Top this summer and discover the hidden treasure of Yakima’s backyard!
For more trailhead information please visit STAY’s website: http://www.singletrackalliance.org/
For bike demos and more please visit Revolution Cycles or Bearded Monkey Cycling!