Green Mountain State Forest, located smack-dab in the center of Kitsap County is an absolute outdoor wonderland!
Close enough to hit for an after-work ride, but big enough to spend an entire day getting lost in, the 6000 acre forest host a wide variety of trail user groups, from hikers to mountain bikers, to horses, to quads and motorcycles!
The land is managed and maintained by Washington State Department of Natural Resources – and the local DNR is extremely active in soliciting input from and engaging with our local user groups, to include Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.
Since the area is so large – we’ll cover it with large brush strokes, and point out the particulars of what you NEED to know when heading in.
The trail system is pretty robust, but the way it’s shaken out over the years has essentially split the area into east and west sides. The west side is mostly used by motorized groups, with many of the trails steep and rutted. The east side is where the non-motorized user will spend most their time, with mountain bikers sharing the trails with hikers and horseback riders. On the far-eastern border of the DNR property is the Ueland Tree Farm, which contains quite a bit of singletrack open only to non-motorized users. The trailhead for Ueland is located on Leber Lane.
There are two main trailheads for non-automotive traffic and one major ingress into the area for automobiles. The trailheads are located at the north and south ends of the forest: on the north side, Wildcat Trailhead off Holly Rd is extremely popular, but the lot has limited parking; and to the south you’ll find the Gold Creek Trailhead off Gold Creek Road, which has a large parking lot. Vehicles authorized entry for events will enter from Lake Tahuyeh Rd on GM-1 on the west side of the forest.
Very important: If you park in either of the lots, or access GM-1 for an event, you must ensure you have a valid Discover Pass clearly displayed on your vehicle!!
The forest is a working forest – meaning there are intermittently active logging operations that take place that may impact trail access. Generally, these operations are well advertised and detours are commonly available by utilizing fireroads adjacent to single track trails. If you ever have a questions about what’s closed or open, or what trail conditions you’ll find – stop by the shop and ask one of us! We spend a ton of time up there!
You may hear gunfire during hunting season. Rest assured the hunters are not aiming at you (hopefully). It’s always in your best interest to rock a bear bell on your bike and to dress in brighter colors during the fall and winter. The bear bell is a good idea year round, as this is a legitimate habitat – bears and cougars do call this mountain area home, and we are guests.
Here’s the meat and potatoes of the post…our couple favorite rides. The first is our go-to route for after work rides during the summer, and it provides a great view of Seattle from the Vista on clear days. The second has been our route for our Thursday morning winter rides – doesn’t go to the Vista, but you get to roll through Horse Camp and hit some gnarly downhill on the way back!
Our Thursday Night Summer Route: Park in the Gold Creek Parking Lot and enter at the Gold Creek Trailhead. The trail will wind a bit before breaking hard right. Continue down and cross the Gold Creek bridge. At this point, instead of heading to the left and up the Gold Creek Trail singletrack, you’ll bear right and head across the horse bridge. This portion of the trail used to be known as GM-6, but is now referred to as “Davis Trail”, named after Jim Davis (head of the Backcountry Horsemen – he spearheaded a lot of the trail maintenance along that corridor). You’ll keep moving along the Davis Trail for quite a ways, then finally cut hard left at the fireroad intersection and head up GM-17. If you haven’t done this climb in the past – be prepared for a slight suck-fest. It’s long, and the grade is severe on a couple sections. The road intersects the Wildcat trail twice before reaching a gate at the top. You’re a total stud if you can take the trail up and around the gate on the right hand side…
After crossing the gate, head left and then take your immediate right onto the next fireroad. A bit more climbing…then another right hand turn for the home stretch into the Vista Parking Lot. If you’re a Strava user – the parking lot is where the “Creek to Peak” segment ends. From the Parking Lot, there is a singletrack trail that pops off to the left and leads you up to the actual Vista.
On the way out, depart the Vista and drop in on Gold Creek Trail. Gold Creek will lead you down through the recent clear-cut on a great run. When you reach the bottom and can hear the creek, break to the right and take the trail (there are no turnoffs) back to Gold Creek Road. This alleviates traffic at the bridge and trailhead. Once you reach the road, check for traffic and turn to the left. Parking lot is a few hundred yards back on your left!
Mileage for this route is only 6 1/2 miles, but you’re stacking up almost 1200 feet of elevation gain!
Our Thursday Morning Winter Route: Park in the Gold Creek Parking Lot and enter at the Gold Creek Trailhead. The trail will wind a bit before breaking hard right. Continue down and cross the Gold Creek bridge. At this point, instead of heading to the left and up the Gold Creek Trail singletrack, you’ll bear right and head across the horse bridge. This portion of the trail used to be known as GM-6, but is now referred to as “Davis Trail”. Instead of breaking hard left (like our other route) at the fireroad intersection, continue straight on the fireroad. At about the four-mile mark (cumulative) you’ll reach the quarry. Head to the right through the quarry and continue up the road, riding to the left around the gate. After the gate you’ll find yourself at Horse Camp. Ride to the right along the fireroad to the opposite side of the camp. The Wildcat Trail intersects the fireroad here. Pop off to the left up the Wildcat Trail climb (if you go to the right you’ll eventually find yourself at the Wildcat Parking Lot). At the top of the climb take the right hand turn onto the Beaver Pond Trail. Beaver Pond is relatively rolling, with some short, technical climbs and some great flowing downhill sections. Follow this trail all the way down to the bridge (you’ll cross fireroads – don’t worry, you’re still on track). At the bridge, continue across and bearing up and right. This is more or less the entrance to the Plummer Trail. Plummer starts with a few somewhat aggravating climbing sections (hike-a-bike in a couple spots), but culminates in a nail-biting downhill section that ends at Gold Creek. . When you reach the bottom and can hear the creek, break to the right and take the trail (there are no turnoffs) back to Gold Creek Road. This alleviates traffic at the bridge and trailhead. Once you reach the road, check for traffic and turn to the left. Parking lot is a few hundred yards back on your left!
You’ll have just under 8 miles on this route with over 1000 feet of elevation gain!
There are a plethora of available maps for the Forest, you can find a couple on our website and through the smartphone app called Maprika (GPS on Ski), or just stop by the shop and grab a paper copy of the trail map!