Skookum Flats Trail

Pierce County, Washington

Elevation Gain1,267ft
Trailhead Elevation2,088ft
Elevation Min/Max2083/2609ft
Elevation Start/End2088/2088ft

Skookum Flats Trail

Skookum Flats Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Pierce County, Washington. It is 7.0 miles long and begins at 2,088 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 14.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,267 feet. The Skookum Flats - North Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. This trail connects with the following: Skookum Falls Trail.

Skookum Flats Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Skookum Flats Trail is one of the most entertaining pieces of extreme singletrack in the Pacific Northwest. This popular loop utilizes Skookum Flats Trail, Dalles River Trail, a short stretch on WA 410, and White River Trail. This is an excellent and challenging 11-mile circuit.

Difficulty rating for the loop: strenuous. Skookum Flats Trail is a lesson in humility. It is technically demanding, with innumerable roots, rocks, drop-offs, staircase climbs, and switchbacks. Remember, there is no shame in walking; besides, it is better than dying. Beginners and intermediates will enjoy out-and-back excursions from the south end of Skookum Flats Trail. Scenery: Impressive old-growth and the beautiful White River."

"Across the highway from Ranger Creek, this popular trail runs alongside the river in a virtual dance with the drainage that requires a lot of effort in the technical skills department.

Rolling along, this trail doesn’t gain any elevation, but you will have to contend with lots of roots and rocks. It’s a great ride to build your skills, and if necessary, there are several points at which to leave the trail for higher routes or to return to the start."

"A beautiful old-growth woodland walk leads along the White River to a waterfall or, if two cars are available, a bouncy suspension bridge back to the highway. There are a number of river-level campsites and lunch stops where children can safely play in streams and pools.

Volunteers from the Washington Trails Association spent days restoring this trail after the disastrous floods of 1995. Families should know that this trail is popular with mountain bicyclists. The majority are friendly and courteous, but caution is advised."

"Listening to the river and looking up into the forest canopy above Skookum Flats gives the impression that the ride will be a tranquil roll through the woods. But just a few pedal strokes into the forest, and fat-tire fanatics realize Skookum Flats is anything but tranquil. In fact, the only thing “flat” about Skookum Flats is the trail’s lack of elevation gain. Skookum Flats can be a severe lesson in humility. The rise in elevation is minimal, but the trail is simply one of the most punishing rides in the Pacific Northwest. Imagine riding over a seething mass of greasy tentacles bubbling up out of the pine needles, dirt rocks, and mud.

Mountain bikers who lose focus— and even those who don’t—are routinely and sometimes viciously catapulted out of their saddles. Even strong and experienced riders are sometimes seriously challenged by the constant barrage of natural obstacles. Add in the usual sogginess that goes with riding along the bank of the White River, and Skookum Flats will either improve your technical skills or simply beat you to a pulp. No matter who you are, it will probably do a little of both. Trail surface: Singletrack, gravel access roads, and blacktop."

Skookum Flats Trail Reviews

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this is a trail that i ride about 2 or 3 times a month.This is a fun trail, and provides some technical riding and awesome scenery
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Not a bad ride. Very typical of Northwest riding outside of Oregon. There was some good scenary and some technical challenges. If you are looking for a good training ride or good speed this is not the ride.
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This is a good choice, whether ridden in combination with other trails or not. The technical challenges are there but can be ridden around if needed. The views are great, the terrain is rugged and reasonably technical, and Rainier is hovering close by. As of this August of 2007 this was the sole mountain biking trail from Washington that was selected by the IMBA as an IMBA Epic trail. And it is well deserved.
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This is one of the best known rides in the area, but not one of my personal favorites. It's good for people that don't want to climb, as it's mostly flat with a few ups and downs along the way. But if you are looking for a shorter ride to train on, or wanting to add to another ride in the area to form a longer loop (Dalles Ridge or Sun Top), this is a nice option to have.
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The key to this trail is to go in the middle of September (if you don't mind cold and snow--we didn't)! My brother and I enjoy a weeks retreat each year backpacking in solitude. That's why we were leary about taking the trail from Elkart Park to Island Lake. All the books and trail descriptions we could find talked about how crouded it was on this trail. But it's not nessesarily true if you plan your trip around those crouds! We flew into Jackson Hole on September 15th and spent the first two nights enjoying the view from the National Forest of the Eastern Teton Range. After driving to Elkart Park campground on Spetember 17th, we recieved 2 inches of beautiful snow to welcome our entrence into the Wind River Range. Even though the snow brought on two nights of 17 degree temperatures, the effect on the peaks was more than worth the cold! At our age (50ish), we relax by only hiking 5-6 miles with our 60 packs (Eklund Lake) and day hiking from there. Spent two days hiking to Lake Seneca and trail blazing around Eklund and Barbara's Lakes along with the numerous ponds in the area. Views or the Range were numerous in this area, and we saw very few hikers. Horses are always a problem on this trail though and since hunting season was beginning, we witnessed at least 5 teams headed into the Pole Creek Lakes Trail. Also, the 5-6 cars at the trailhead was a far cry from a full lot talked about. So don't be scared away from these trails if you're looking for peace and quiet, just plan your timing. We've been making these trips for 6 years now, and the Wind River Range was one of our most enjoyable yet!
Skookum Flats was in great shape over the 4th of July weekend and bone dry. The trail is completely different when even slightly wet. The dry conditions made the trail considerably less difficult for some of the first time Skookum riders in our group. I prefer riding Skookum east to west and on this day it was a warm up for Sun Top.

Skookum Flats Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Pierce County
Nearby City
Skill Level
USDA Forest Service Snoqualamie District, Department of Natural Resources
Local Contacts
USGS Sun Top
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018