The Coldwater Lake Trails
Located about 2.5 hours north east of Portland, the Coldwater Lake trails consist of three trails (211, 230 and 230A). The entire loop is about 12 miles long with approximately 2000 feet of climbing. While the loop can be ridden in either direction, many folks prefer to ride clockwise to take advantage of the long downhill from the top of the 230 trail to the bottom of the 230A trail.
Coldwater Lake History
The Coldwater Lake work party started around 15 years ago with a few guys from the Longview, Washington area, spearheaded by Brian Mahon. The guys noticed that the trails around Coldwater Lake were neglected and would be great to ride if they were cleaned up.
Figuring the worst they could say was no, Brian and a couple of his buddies posed a question to USFS: “If we maintain the 230A trail, can we ride it?” USFS agreed and for the next couple of years, Brian and a handful of mountain bikers made an annual trip up to Coldwater Lake to clean up the trail for the season.
After a few years, Brian, together with some folks from Growlers Gulch and representatives from NWTA, approached the USFS with an offer to maintain the 211 trail. The crew recruited nearly 90 people to help out and they completed cleanup of the entire 211 Trail in 4 hours!
The following year, the crew extended the work party to include all of the trails around Coldwater Lake and the work party has continued every spring since.
Join the Camp Out & Work Party!
This year’s camp out and work party will take place May 31-June 2. You must register by May 24!
This event will feature ride opportunities on Friday and Sunday, a full-on trail build on Saturday, a party on Saturday night, and a rare chance to camp on the north side of the mountain.
Bring the family and make it a weekend, as there will be other families to share the experience with!
The crew from Growlers Gulch Racing is integral to NWTA’s partnership with the USFS at Coldwater. Chief among them, Jim LeMonds (a.k.a. Jeep). An NWTA LST, Jeep devotes countless hours each year volunteering to build and maintain NWTA & Growlers trails in SW Washington.
If you’ve ridden at Growlers, you likely know of Jeep. But do you really know him? We pinned him down to answer a few questions so y’all could get to know him a little better.
What bike do you currently ride?
How long have you been riding?
I started riding in 1993. At that time, only a handful of people in our area were into mountain biking. We had no technical skill. Bikes were much heavier, suspension was limited, there were no dropper seatposts, and brakes were unreliable.
What do you love about mountain biking?
I like physical challenges and mountain biking certainly provides that, especially for someone my age. More than anything else, however, I enjoy the camaraderie and the chance to bring people together. I have made so many great friends through my involvement in the sport. We ride together, build trail together, and party together. That’s what makes it special.
What is your favorite place to ride?
Growlers, hands down. Part of that is because the trailhead is five minutes from my house. The other part is that the system has something for riders of every ability level. I’m partial to raw, old-school trails so this is the perfect spot for me.
What is the upcoming Tour de Gulch XXI we’ve been hearing about?
To the best of my knowledge, the Tour de Gulch is the area’s longest-running mountain biking event. It started in 1997 when there were virtually no trails at Growlers; the first TDG drew 12 people. I started it not only as a way to celebrate the sport but also to introduce people to Growlers.
The TDG still features guided rides for a variety of levels and a legendary after-party, but the system and the event have evolved dramatically over the years. We now have 40+ miles of trail, and TDG XXI will probably draw 60 to 75 riders.
What has stayed them same are the focus on celebrating excellent single-track with great people and the requirement of trail work as the entry-fee.
Why did you join NWTA?
Juntu Oberg, Andy Crump, Ted Dodd, Bob Lessard, Owen Rodabaugh, and Andy Jansky are people I know and respect. All have played a role in making NWTA an organization that is effective in advocating for, developing, and maintaining single-track. Their vision is very similar to mine, so I am happy to assist them in any way that I can.
If you see Jeep out on the trails, be sure to give him a HUGE thank you. He and the Growlers Gulch crew are a big part of why NWTA’s SW Washington trails are accessible and amazing.
NWTA Spring Membership Drive
Our spring membership drive is almost half over and we’re about half-way to our goal of signing up or renewing 300 members this month.
Even if you have a current NWTA membership, you can still help us out during our drive by signing up for a sustaining membership. Just log into your IMBA account, select “Manage Membership” and switch to auto-renew. Your membership will simply be extended by another year (or month, if you renew monthly).
Sustaining memberships help NWTA free up administrative resources to focus on what’s important: creating more mountain bike opportunities for you!
You’re going to renew in the next year anyway, right? So why not do it now, get an entry into IMBA’s awesome prize drawing AND get an entry into NWTA’s chapter-level drawing.
Become a sustaining member, support your local trails and help NWTA advocate for and develop more single-track for you.