Escape from Portland with this easy loop on quiet forest roads above Trout Lake

Just 14 miles from the small town of Trout Lake (population 600), Goose Lake is a perfect place to stop for a mid-ride lunch.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

If you’re looking for a fun new place for a weekend riding getaway, consider checking out Trout Lake, Washington. I went there last weekend with my family and my 7-year-old and I brought our bikes. We enjoyed a great ride up to Goose Lake that has piqued my interest in doing more ambitious explorations and overnighters in the area.

The loop we did was fun and easy. About 17-miles up to the lake and then 14 miles back home on a more direct route. It was mostly all dirt roads on the way up as we rolled through a local tree farm and then took advantage of quiet dirt roads in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. On the way there we peered into the icy-cold “Cheese Cave” and climbed a gentle grade for about 1,000 feet. Goose Lake was a perfect place to enjoy lunch under towering pines as we enjoyed the views of the water and watched people fish for trout (it’s a stocked lake and a popular destination for anglers).

For the way down we opted to stay on the “main” road (Carson-Guler Road – NF 24). We stopped to play in the water at Dry Creek and then read a bit about the history of Peterson Prarie and George McClellan, who led an expedition through the area in 1853. If we had more time (and if my 7-year-old wasn’t eager to get back to play with his friend we came to visit), we would have stopped to check out the Ice Cave and Natural Bridges trails. I’ve checked those out on previous trips and they’re well worth the detour.


The last part of the ride was a smooth descent into Trout Lake. Everett loved coasting fast and I loved riding right at the base of Mt. Adams through forests and farms. The Trout Lake General Store is a cool spot to check out for a snack or drink before heading back to your car or campsite (or AirBnB or friend’s house, whatever the case may be).

I’ll definitely be headed back for more riding in this area. There are tons of great roads to explore and Trout Lake is a sweet little town to start from.

If you need any more inspiration, this weekend also happens to be the annual Mt. Adams Country Bicycle Tour.

You can see our route details via Ride With GPS.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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