Sunday, 23 of November of 2014

Drunken Charlie Lake

The blog has been quiet all winter, but not forgotten.  The best areas for rough stuff cycling are covered in snow all winter long, but that doesn’t mean that every destination is.

This last weekend Andre, Jimmy, Roscoe (Jimmy’s dog), and I stretched our legs by looking for Drunken Charlie Lake in the Marckworth Forest.  I’ve searched for this lake before and failed with Mark and Kent, but it was okay because we found a great waterfall instead.  This time I was equipped with a GPS and did want to find it.

The Marckworth Forest is a large industrial forest just east of Seattle.  It is mostly behind locked gates, but is open for day use to cyclists and hikers.  Since it is a working forest there isn’t too much information available on the recreational opportunities within.  There are endless logging roads (active and out of use) to explore and little bits of singletrack here and there.  The high points in the forest are usually under 2000′, which makes it a good place go year round for Seattle cyclists.  The views and scenery aren’t as good as what one can find farther up into the mountains in the summer however.

This ride is about 15 miles long and has about 1500′ of climbing (only the last couple of miles of which are steep).  It’s a great early season ride that will help you get excited about the upcoming summer.

Map and GPX.

The roads and intersections in Marckworth Forest mostly look like this. Good surface condition and unmarked intersections. A good map or GPS is helpful.

If you get to this clear cut you've missed Drunken Charlie Lake. On a clear day it looks like there may be some views available from around here.

This marker gets you onto the short trail from the road to the lake. How did we miss this in the past?

It's a pretty nice alpine lake and could be a decent place for swimming in the summer. It was is the mid-40s we were there, so we stayed out of the water.

I recently built up this mountain bike, so I rode it instead of my normal adventure touring bike named Gifford. These shorter rides (~15 miles total) are a good place to test out gear.

We couldn't visit a lake called "Drunken Charlie" and not have a beer. Jimmy was nice enough to bring along a couple of cans of my favorite bike camping beer.

On the way back down we took the side detour to this waterfall. There is a good place here to nap overnight if one is so inclined. The waterfall isn't that high, but an impressive volume of water comes tumbling over it.

Jimmy and Roscoe come running down the descent. This ride is all climbing on the way in and all descent on the way out.

Side roads like this could go somewhere really interesting, or could just take you to an old logging area that is a 1/4 mile down the road. We didn't have time to explore this one today.

As a reminder, this is a semi-open blog.  If you live in the Northwest and have routes or ride reports to contribute please contact me about getting an account on the blog.  A couple of other ride reports should be coming soon, and I’m going to do a little series on finding routes and picking gear for these rides.

Andre posted a great local camping option on Green Mountain to the Bike Overnights blog.  This is a good one for a first S24O.


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