Mountain bikers around the region know that a stop in Montesano will give them awesome rides down wild and wonderful single-track trails. In the forests just outside of town, weaving along the ridges and above historic waterways, the mountain biking trails here are some of the best in Western Washington, offering riders incredible trails that are lesser known. To say that Montesano has good trail riding options is an understatement. The small-town Montesano is the county seat of Grays Harbor, offering visitors great restaurants, rich history, and a laid-back pace. The lesser known trails, as well as the amazing community that maintains the routes, help make this one of the better regions to ride in Western Washington. Check out where to mountain bike in Montesano below.

mountain biking in Montesano Map of trails
Offering dozens of trails to explore, the routes behind Lake Sylvia are an underrated riding gem in Grays Harbor. Photo courtesy: Washington DNR

The Sylvia Ridge Loop

The majority of the trails are located right near Lake Sylvia State Park, where camping, boating, fishing and hiking are all easily accessible.

The most popular route to ride is a five mile trail known as the Sylvia Ridge Loop. Roughly 100 miles of trails is currently mapped out all around the Lake Sylvia area, most of which are rarely visited. This route is for intermediate riders and is mostly single track, intermixed with a few logging roads. The tight, winding trails have some decent drops spread throughout the ride, giving you a jolt of adrenaline to help you push up the next hill.

At Lake Sylvia, a couple of access points lead up to the forests where hours, if not days, of riding can be found. What makes this area so great for mountain bikers is that the trail system north and west of the state park is extremely well-marked, with maps posted at major junctions all around the area. This allows riders to make bigger plans on the fly, if they are feeling up to more adventures.

Where to Mountain Bike in Montesano
The trails around Montesano are incredible rides for mountain bikers who stop to explore the region. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

While the actual Sylvia Ridge Loop is just five miles in total, once you are up on the ridge, a wonderland of options becomes available. You’ll find dozens of spur trails, maybe a half mile long, coming out of almost every corner. The handful of maps posted around the region will help you keep your location known as you explore these side trails. Those riding the ridge should also keep an open eye for another fun loop, starting on the Sylvia East Fork trail, onto Cougar Ridge and then back either the West Fork trail or back on the X-line to the A-line dumping you out in the middle of the Sylvia Ridge trail.

Upper Jungle and Espresso Shot Trails

The trails around this area are ridiculously full of side adventures, making a return trip to the region a must. One of the classic, short loops that is buried in the copious amount of trails in the forest is the Upper Jungle and Espresso Shot trails. Found off the A-Line Road and about a half mile in length, these two trails make for a fun ride of rolling hills while making a loop. Riding the loop in both directions will give your legs a workout, while also giving you some practice descending down the loose dirt single track. This route, tucked in the expanding trail system, is easily connected with miles of rides. If you miss it, no worries, as you will be finding other areas and trail sections that will become favorites.

Mountain Bike trails in Montesano
Riders of all abilities will find the perfect trails around Lake Sylvia and Montesano to ride and explore. Photo courtesy: BLM

If the trails and maps mentioned aren’t enough, riders can join the Mountain Bike Montesano Strava community group. On this, you can scour other rider’s adventures, connect with fellow mountain bike enthusiasts, get the latest trail conditions, and even hook up for a group ride. The group also uses this to organize trail maintenance parties, letting you have a way to give back to the region’s awesome trails. This is the group to get to know if you want to ride the very best areas around Montesano and Lake Sylvia.

Highlighted by a few classic routes, the trail system north of town will give riders of all ages, styles and abilities a chance to ride varying terrain. While you won’t find a lot of built features in the woods and open areas of these routes, nor will you find a series of banked corners, you will find some great vertical climbs and descents, as well as a few sections of very flowing rides.


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