The small town of Castle Rock, Washington has a surprisingly strong mountain biking community. Rallied and brought together via the writing of Jim Lemonds on his website WriteTek, the group meets regularly to ride their local trails, which they’ve etched out themselves. Known as Growlers Gulch, the trails are hidden on private land but are available for all to ride. Because of conflicts with reckless motorized users that have been known to tear up the area, the locations of the trails are kept on the downlow to avoid abuse. Anyone is welcome to join the ride for a guided tour of them, provided they promise not to disclose the directions online. They’re a fun group, and while we were living in the northwest we participated in our fair share of group rides, including a pretty sweet epic on less well known routes on Mount St. Helens.
For the last year or so, the group has undertaken a new project in a location a bit more accessible, with the creation of a volunteer designed and constructed Bike Park. At last count, over 1,700 hours of labor and $20,000 have been donated to the project by local riders and businesses. The park features a pump track, technical trail lines suitable for refining skills, and a beginner-intermediate jump line. The park is already in use, but final touches are currently being worked for the official opening party on September 22nd.
Directions – Take I-5 north from Portland to Castle Rock, WA. Take Exit 48 from I-5 and head west toward Castle Rock on Huntington Avenue for about a mile. When the speed changes to 25, take the first left and then bear left again onto Dike Road. Go about .5 to .75 miles. Bike park is on the left.