This classic loop takes you to the highest singletrack in Washington. You spend a lot of time pedaling at 7000 feet and get as high as 8000 feet. The loop here includes Cooney Lake and Horsehead Pass.
This is a demanding ride with over 5000' of climbing and decent at elevation, lots of loose rocky conditions and hike-a-bike. Average ride times are 5-8hrs. Please carry plenty of food and water, and budget plenty of time to complete the ride safely. The scenery at Cooney lake is especially gorgeous, but do not spend too long here as it's early on in the ride.
Rode the classic loop in the CW direction on a stunning fall day. Left the TH around 9:30 and returned around 5:00PM which included leisurly stops at Cooney and Boiling Lake. Trail was in great condition from recent rains adn the larches are in full golden glory. Not many days left to get this loop - go now!
On the directions - when yout turn off WA153 you'll turn onto Gold Creek Loop Rd. After a mile or so you'll turn right onto Gold Creek Rd. It's easy to miss. Follow this road and ignore the roads to the left (NF100 and then NF200). Eventually the road will split and you'll want to stay left onto NF300 which will take you up to the trailhead. The road to the trailhead was in pretty good shape.