Development Route

This is a Development Route – it has not been fully vetted by the Dirty Freehub Team. The turn-by-turn directions have not been validated, the route has not been ridden in its entirety by a Dirty Freehub Team member, and the general documentation is less. Development Routes are an organic, community effort to develop ideas into highly curated, 5 Star Routes. Riding a Development Route requires a sense of adventure, self-sufficiency, and good navigational skills. We also ask that if you do ride a Development Route, contribute some knowledge back. See the right panel for how to get involved.

This route travels through the Montesano City Forest, near Olympia, Washington. From what we hear it is the local place to ride, offering great roads and excellent views. Note, this is a multi-use area and a working forest — logging is still taking place in some areas.

The City of Montesano is home to one of the Northwest’s outstanding examples of a small, municipally-owned watershed. In 1931 the city purchased 5,493 acres of cut-over timberland from Neil Cooney of nearby Cosmopolis for $12,000, to provide a source of water for the city and for future timber investment revenues. Although the entire area had been logged-over to the railroad between 1902 and 1912, the logged-off land was covered in thick young stands of fir and hemlock. [City of Montesano]

A big shout out to Joy Ride Bicycles of Olympia, Washington for forwarding us this route. They assure us that it is of 5-Star quality, but it just needs a bit more documentation before being promoted from a Development route to 5-Star. See the right panel for how you can help out! Note, the Dirty Freehub Team has not set tire tread on these roads, but … we do look forward to riding this area!

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 29 miles / 2600 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 100 % gravel
eBike Friendly: Unknown
– Location: ~ Olympia, WA
– Published: October 2021

Terrain & Technical Riding Difficulty[what this means]


When we like to ride this …

The long days of summer are a great time to ride in Washington state. Low elevation means you won’t run into snow in the winter, but be cautious on a rainy day or recent rains that may make the roads difficult to ride.

The Start

Sylvia Lake State Park. Pit toilets.
Lat / Long: 46.997112, -123.594752


Black = unknown / undocumented surface type
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
Blue = single track trail
Purple = paved bike path / Roubaix (rough, broken pavement)

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

Ride Details

The ride starts along Lake Sylvia within the state park, the site of a former logging camp above the historic town of Montesano. The first mile is flat and in the trees, and you’ll start climbing after that. Once you hit mile 2, it’s mostly rollers until mile 9, where it’s all uphill until mile 11.

The city forest of Montesano is home to over 15 miles of interconnected hiking and biking trails.  Anglers throughout the Pacific Northwest are lured to the salmon, steelhead and sturgeon found in the local rivers.  Lake Sylvia State Park is within Montesano city limits and attracts campers, hikers, cyclists and fishermen

Montesano is surrounded by farms that grow and produce a wide variety of food crops such as corn, tomatoes, Finnish yellow potatoes, squash, pumpkins, natural raised beef, yak & buffalo, strawberries, blueberries, dairy products like milk, cheese and butter and Christmas trees.

The city’s position of being the county seat features one of the most beautiful historical courthouses in the state. Build in 1911, the Grays Harbor County Courthouse is a three story structure with dome tower. A testament to historic architecture, it holds a series of murals which depict local history. [City of Montesano]

Food & Water


Ride Notes

This is or can be active logging territory. See our podcast to the right on logging road etiquette.

Some of the route is on Weyerhauser property. A permit may be needed. If someone could send us a picture of the gate and sign that would be much appreciated.


Revision History

Go Local!

This ride is within Grays Harbor County, Washington and (Wow!) it looks like prime exploration territory. To get a flavor of what to do and what to see in the area check out Vist Grays Harbor.


Coming soon …

  • The story of the Montesano City Forest
  • Logging Road Ettiquete
  • The History of Montesano

Make this Guide Better!

This route is a work in progress – we need your help to make the route 5 Star. What can you do to help:

  • Tell us, does the route meet our 5 Star criteria?
  • Submit pictures.
  • Submit short videos (drone stuff is really cool!).
  • Submit route a description.
  • Tell us about “points of interest”.
  • Do you know of organizations that we should partner with that are actively involved in preserving lands for recreational uses?

You can leave us feedback in the comment tab or you can submit a detailed report using the Share Your Route form.

The best routes are those that are organic and driven by the riding community. Thus, get involved! And … ride dirty & smile!

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