Bucket-List Worthy MTB Trails: Noble Knob, Washington

For your time, no oth­er ride offers the prox­im­i­ty to Seat­tle (1.5hr dri­ve), the grunt fac­tor (4,500′ of climb­ing), the tech­ni­cal rid­ing and descents, the remote alpine feel, and the incred­i­ble views that make Noble Knob a Buck­et-List wor­thy trail. It is the quin­tes­sen­tial North­west ride.

“There are dozens of Buck­et-List wor­thy MTB trails in Wash­ing­ton State, choos­ing one over the oth­er is like choos­ing a favorite child. All things being equal, I think that Noble Knob on HWY410 has to be the Quin­tes­sen­tial North­west Ride. No oth­er ride in Wash­ing­ton has as var­ied a ter­rain, and the views off of Cor­ral Pass and the Pal­isades are to die for,” says Alex Wil­son, moun­tain bike rac­er and Wash­ing­ton native. 

Why it’s the Best
It’s not an easy trail by any means. The stren­u­ous uphills are not only incred­i­bly tax­ing on the ol’ bik­ing legs, Noble Knob also serves up some very advanced tech­ni­cal spots on the down­hill. “The fire road to the top is very long and steep, and the last third is exposed to the sun. An aver­age time up is close to 1.25 hrs. There’s also a fair amount of Hike-a-Bike through some Rock Gar­dens at the end.”

The Epic Trail Sec­tions
Noble Knob is a set of trails com­pris­ing an unfor­get­table ride of about 20 miles. “My favorite sec­tion is the Pal­isades, a sequence of Sheer Gran­ite cliffs over­look­ing the val­ley with incred­i­ble views of Mt. Ranier.” If you’re only going to ride this trail once, make sure you don’t skip the Pal­isades. But, if you’re more of a Free-Rid­er, you might enjoy the decent of Ranger Creek, which will cut out The Pal­isades. If flowy sin­gle­track is your game, you won’t find too much of it through­out the Knob, but “the clos­est thing would be the descent from Cor­ral Pass to the Horse Shel­ter at the turn-off to Ranger Creek.” 

One sec­tion that you need to watch out for while tear­ing apart this epic trail, accord­ing to Alex is “a huge Hike-a-bike sec­tion with a wood lad­der through it, with numer­ous tight Switch­backs. I watched one guy ride them all the way to the lad­der, but most any­one else will have to walk it.” 

For the Next Buck­et-List Wor­thy MTB Trails, we will take a detailed look at Utah’s best trail — Por­cu­pine Rim (That’s right, it’s not the famous Slick­rock Trail)


DIF­FI­CULTY: Advanced
LENGTH: 21 miles
TRAIL TYPE: Sin­gle­track, Dou­ble­track
CON­FIG­U­RA­TION: Loop
AVER­AGE TIME: 2 hours
ELE­VA­TION CHANGE: 2,100 ft
REG­U­LA­TIONS: It’s on Nation­al For­est Land so all Fed­er­al Regs apply, specif­i­cal­ly, no Moto’s. The trail is snowed in by Mid-Octo­ber and does­n’t open up till the end of June.  Last sea­son there was a gate over the For­est Road so you can’t shut­tle it anymore.

Oth­er great rides in Washington

Dev­ils Gulch/Mission Ridge, Ape Canyon/Smith Creek, Esmerel­da Basin, Lewis Riv­er, Moran St Park, Chikamin Ridge, Mad Riv­er, Kachess Ridge, Mt Jolly/W. Fork of the Tenaway.