Redmond Cycling Club has put on their popular RAMROD ride – Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day – for many years. It’s a great ride, but over the past decade has become increasingly difficult to get into, as the number of riders who want to do it is vastly greater than the number allowed by the National Park Service.
DORMAR – RAMROD backwards – is an alternative for those who didn’t get into RAMROD. It is a non-organized ride; there will be a route and (probably) a specific date and time, but there is no support.
Very tentative ride description:
Here’s the current tentative route.
Segment 1: Enumclaw to park entrance, 32 miles, 2450′
The route starts climbing immediately, though it’s not that steep in most places. At about 18 miles we ride through Greenwater, but the stores will not be open early in the morning. Note that you will need to travel 51 miles and climb 4475′ before you get to water, so you will want at least two full bottles for this section. Luckily, the early hour will keep the temps low. Make sure your blinking rear light is on for this section.
Segment 2: Cayuse Pass, 19 miles, 2025′
After a couple of miles of gentle climbing, the road kicks up and it’s 6 miles of climbing to the top of Cayuse pass. At the top, highway 410 continues to the left and starts Chinook pass; we want to turn to the right and head towards Packwood.
After this turn, we descend down the south side of Cayuse pass. The first 8 miles are fairly steep and then it flattens out a bit. On the descent at 51 miles, we turn right towards Paradise and Longmire. This is the Stevens Canyon entrance to the park, and we need to stop and pay the ($10?) fee to enter and show our rear blinky lights. After the entrance, we pull over in the “Grove of the Patriarchs” parking lot to fill our water bottles and take a nature break. I recommend trying to drink half a bottle while you are here because the next water is way, way up from here.
Segment 3: Backbone Ridge + Paradise, 21 miles, 4085′
This one is going to hurt.
We first head up Backbone ridge, a 6 mile climb that takes us up 1250′. A quick descent, and we are quickly on the main pitch up to Paradise. The first 10 miles takes us up 2250′, past Reflection Lake (stop and take a picture, as this is probably the best view of the ride) and on to Inspiration Point – the high point of RAMROD. At that point we turn right towards Paradise and continue to climb the last 615′ up to the visitor center.
Here we will stop for snacks, water, and a bit of rest. We have climbed 9000′ in the last 75 miles, and we have 1600′ of climbing in the next 75 miles.
Segment 4: Paradise to Eatonville, 44 miles, 567′
There is a small bit of climbing on this section, but it is countered by the 5180′ of elevation loss, so it’s downhill, downhill, and then more downhill. We head straight out of the Paradise parking lot and take the valley road. This winds around and joins the main road back at Inspiration point. Turn right towards Longmire, and start our descent. At 74.6 miles, there’s the Longmire store if you need supplies.
At 104 miles we hit Elbe, and keep on the main road. At 108 miles, we turn to the right towards Eatonville.
When we hit Eatonville, we turn right on Washington, and a watch for Cottage Bakery on the left, pretty close to 116 miles. This is the “Deli Stop” on this ride.
Segment 5: Eatonville to Enumclaw, 35 miles, 1179′
The last segment starts by continuing on Washington Avenue out of town, and then turning right on Orville Road East. This is a small sign and easy to miss.
The route takes us by Ohop lake and Lake Kapowsin, and at about 126 miles we hit a stop sign. There is a Texaco station and a grocery if you are in need of supplies. Turn right to stay on Orville Road East.
Eventually, we hit another stop sign at 135 miles, and turn right on Pioneer Way East. We can take this all the way into South Prairie, OR, at around mile 136, start looking for a trail that parallels the highway on the left, and get on it going in the same direction. This will take us 5 miles into South Prairie. Arnold’s Grocery is a nice place to food up.
A few more turns and a few more miles, and we are back to the start.