This trail begins with a short road climb/warmup to the start of your singletrack adventure. As you enter singletrack, you enter a moss filled, loam filled flow trail… we’re talking about trees growing on trees (A PNW Loam Quality Marker). After a quick but fun initial descent you start to undulate up and down alongside a crystal clear river, offering views of huge waterfalls and bright blue plunge pools. Nearing the intersection of your climb up to the top, you cross the creek on a fallen tree. From here, you’re on a sweet climb that takes you quickly to the top in just a few miles and a few 3k of climibing to hit your peak. Along the ridgeline the trail passes through old growth, high alpine meadows, rocky slopes and huge views of Mount St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Swift Reservoir, Mt. Rainier, and Mitchell Peak.
As you traverse the side of Huffman Peak you finally connect to one of the best descents in the PNW. This huge dump of elevation is full of deep organic mix and black dirt. After 3k of pure descent, you end of at the valley floor and a big river ford to end your day. Shoulder your bike and hike up those pants, the cold river water is a nice way to clean off your legs and cool down after an incredible ride. Up out of the river and over the last little climb, you’re back at the car and ready for a second lap!
Estimated Mileage: 20 Miles
Day Trip Includes:
- Professional Guides
- A Mountain Bike Adventure
Wander the wooded interior, both high and low, of the 26,000-acre Siouxon Creek Roadless Area. If three-tiered Wildcat Falls doesn’t get your heart pumping, the strenuous climbing will. And although rainy days suit Siouxon Creek nicely, this ride is for dry season only, when low water levels permit two otherwise treacherous creek crossings.
From the parking lot, follow the trail downhill to Siouxon Creek trail. Turn right and follow this nearly level trail 3.2 miles to the Wildcat Trail junction. Descend, passing a well-used campsite, to the shore of Siouxon Creek.
Contemplate your crossing: even at low flow, typically July through September, crossing Siouxon Creek requires a knee deep ford through an insistent creek.
Pick up the trail on the far side of the creek and proceed climbing. Shortly, you’ll hear the roar of Wildcat Falls and, soon after, at a switchback in the trail you’ll see the source. Plunging 225 feet in three tiers, Wildcat Falls is the most impressive set of cascades in the Siouxon Creek area. From this vantage only the lowest tier and partial drop is visible but, at 125 feet, it alone dwarfs its neighbors. A steep, slippery side trail descends to the base of the falls.
With your waterfall craving sated, continue climbing. A salal covered knob at 4.2 miles offers an aerial view of upper Wildcat Falls and the interior of Siouxon Creek Roadless Area. After this, the trail enters the trees and climbs with little reprieve—nearly 2000 feet in 2 miles. If you’re not still wet from the Wildcat crossing, you’ll soon be soaked in sweat. Take time to admire the scattered old-growth sentinels of western hemlock and Pacific silver fir, many bearing basal inverted V scars, “cat faces,” from the Yacolt Burn. The trail grows indistinct in places; when in doubt, follow the fall line.
Finally, at 5.5 miles, crest the rocky spine of Huffman Ridge and descend 0.25 mile to the junction with Siouxon Peak Trail. Turn left and catch your breath: it’s all downhill from here.
At 6.8 miles, traverse a talus slope. Peak baggers: this is your best bet for claiming Huffman Peak. The lookout structure is gone, along with any access trail, so a summit attempt requires a talus scramble or a blowdown choked bushwhack. Otherwise, settle in for a steady descent, first through beargrass and huckleberry, then, as the forest cover thins, vine maple. At just under 9 miles, at a break in the trees, peer across the pristine Siouxon Creek drainage. Look south to Horseshoe Ridge and, behind it, Calamity Peak. Keep descending, and at 11.5 miles, reach Siouxon Creek and the second ford. Fortunately, although this ford is farther across, the water is slower flowing, helping ease your crossing.
Climb the far side of the creek bank, and at 11.8 miles, rejoin the Siouxon Creek Trail. Turn left and follow the trail into and out of several small, clover choked creek gully crossings—which should be no sweat after Siouxon Creek—returning back to the trailhead and your ride start at 13.8 miles.
Source: Washington Trails Association