Car/Bike Camping on the Suiattle River

Scott organized this point83 trip to the Suiattle River. Until 3 years ago there was a car accessible road that followed the river and went up to three National Forest Campgrounds, tons of hiking trails, and lots of great old growth forest. The 2006 wind storms flooded the river and washed out the road and a bridge in some key locations. Now you can drive halfway up the road, then walk or bike into the campgrounds.

This changed 3 very busy campgrounds into three very remote areas.

12 of us drove up to the trailhead and rode in. Since we were only riding 8 miles this afforded us the luxury of bringing a lot of stuff. I brought two stoves and a lot of food. Rogelio brought Monica on the XtraCycle (she hurt her wrist and wasn’t supposed to ride a bike). Andre brought ice cream sundae makings to share with everybody. Derrick brought a chair, fishing gear, and a lot of booze. Kalen, Clair, Ryan, and Caroline brought a lot of food to share, including a few pounds of bacon and some home made goat cheese. Was it car camping or bike camping? The line was blurry.

The road up is very easy to navigate on a bicycle. It’s a little sandy in spots, but no one had any real trouble, even those on 23mm tires. There are few sections that were walked. There is almost no climbing to speak of.

We went to the second camp ground and had the whole thing to ourselves. The winning feature of this campground is a large lean to over an established fire pit,nice and scenic access to the river,old growth forest,and no visitors. The first campground is only 2 miles in from the trail head and still gets a good number of walk in visitors. We rode past it, but I saw at least 4 tents in the woods. The 3rd campground is after a lot of blowdown (making it harder to visit) and pretty grown over. There was one camp established there, and they had been up there for 5 days without seeing anyone.

We arrived at camp early and had most of the afternoon to enjoy ourselves. We played in the river, some of us drank too much, and there was a lot of fanastic food and laughing around the fire. No one stayed up too late or woke up too early. We had another huge and varied meal in the morning (bacon, ice cream, scotch oats, coffee, breakfast burritos, hash browns, fruit salad, corn dogs) before rolling back down to the cars. Just as we were leaving camp a light rain started, but otherwise we had a cloudy and dry weekend.

Christine was supposed to come with me, but hurt her foot on Friday and had to skip this trip. I hope that we can return later in the summer because I think it is about the easiest and most approachable backwoods bike camping imaginable. She would have had a great time, and it might give her more context for my love of bike camping.

Old double track makes for very nice riding.

Hardcore Rogelio hauls Monica on his XtraCycle

The major obstacle

Andre gets the photo up the ramp (photo by Scott)

The lean-to makes this a great group site

Sulphur Creek Campground (we didn't stay here), photo by Scott

A little hike a bike (photo by Scott)

Derrick tries to go fishing

Kalen enjoys the scenery while filtering water

Lee "invents" water logging.  He throws driftwood into the river and...

...Andre hucks rocks at them.

The logs got bigger and bigger

Clair gets involved

Derrick kept the drinks flowing...

Good evening fire

The river in the morning

Bacon in the morning

More breakfast (photo by Scott)

Breakfast Ice Cream.  Dry ice kept it cold all night (photo by Scott)

Back down the ramp

Homeward bound

This group is getting pretty creative with the S24O rigs, so I took some photos. Hover over these photos (or almost any photo in my blog) for a description.

Scott's Karate Monkey.  The roll under the handlebars has his bivy, bag, and pad.  He also carried Monica's gear, hence the heavy load in the rear.

Lee sports the porteur rack up front and homemade buckets in the rear.

Offroad XtraCycle carried Monica and a lot of gear.

My bike with way more gear than I'd need for a week, and this was just one night.

Andre’s photos:
Scott’s photos and commentary:
All of my photos:


  1. mike says:

    very nice… jealous of your ability to get remote without a ton of trouble. and to get to some serious wilderness!

    we”re planning a cruise along the lake this fall. the bakfiets will carry the little one and i, mama will ride her new lite touring rig. 10 miles on the rail trail with a bike ferry crossing… and another 10 on some lightly traveled roads.

  2. Rory says:

    this looks like a great ride. I totally wish i was there, if only for the corndog…

  3. AlexWetmore says:

    Rory — There is another awesome one coming up on the afternoon/evening of Thursday July 2nd. We”ll be going back to Suiattle sometime this summer too.

  4. lemmiwinks says:

    What an absolutely fantastic camping spot. I wish I could come!

  5. Michael says:


    What kind of saddle bag are you rocking on your Ivy?
    That thing looks serious.

  6. AlexWetmore says:

    Michael — It is a Baggins Adam or Hoss. It was sold to me as an Adams, but I”m kind of thinking that it is a Hoss due to it’’s massive size. I rarely find something that big useful, but once in a while it is. I also have a Little Joe (which is pretty small) and often use that when I have just a little too much stuff.

    This time around the saddlebag had most of my food, the coffee, two stoves (both with integrated pots), another 2 liter pot, and my tools

  7. Jack says:

    Great photos and looks like a place I would love to visit.