It's almost impossible to spend a summer in the Pacific Northwest without a sense of adventure. Washington, especially, offers beaches, mountains, extreme sports, and as much hiking as your heart can handle. There's a reason why you'll be sure to spot a Subaru on every street, usually everywhere you turn, even when driving through Seattle.
As much as we love our cities and communities, there's a common respect for following the road past city limits and sometimes completely off the beaten path all together. Because we are obvious Subaru lovers, and tend to enjoy off-roading ourselves, we put together a few of our favorite spots, along with a few practical tips to keep your off-roading safe and prepared.
Locations to Explore:
Walker Valley ORV
Walker Valley ORV is located in Mount Vernon, Washington which is just a 70 mile trip from Seattle. As part of the Cascade Mountains, you can take your 4 wheel drive Subaru off road and onto some rough terrain. Day passes are only $11.50, but even better, you can purchase an annual pass for only $35! Just three adventures alone will pay for itself.
Evan's Creek ORV
Evan's Creek ORV is a favorite for trails! Located about an hour and a half southeast of Seattle, this is the jackpot for trails with a view. Evan's Creek offers over 20 miles of tree-lined trails that climb up to 5.600 feet in elevation, giving you an incredible view of Mount Rainier. This is definitely a location where you will need to be aware of trail conditions ahead of time, as they are highly affected during the rainy season. We don't recommend this location for first time off-roaders.
IMG_0206 by Adam Barhan is licensed under CC 2.0
Manastash Ridge ORV
Manastash Ridge ORV, however, is the perfect place for first timers. A little bit farther south east, two hours from Seattle, are over 100 miles of gorgeous, quality, trails with a combination of picturesque views. The two hour drive is more than worth it when you get to see valleys, meadows, mountains, rock fields, and rolling hills. The elevation is not quite as challenging, which is why this is perfect for first time off roaders. (Veterans, you'll love it too!)
Rimrock Lake by oscailte is licensed under CC 2.0
Rimrock Lake (Ahtanum Area) is only open May - December for both four-wheel drive vehicles (*ahem* Subarus) and ATVs. However, even though this paradise is four hours from Seattle, it's worth an entire weekend to scope out. Drive out for an off road camping adventure, and follow over 100 miles of trails, making your trip completely different each time.
This area is part of the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, which closes the area during the winter months due to the trials becoming impassible for normal vehicles. But, if you're craving some extra adventure, these trails are perfect for snowmobiles during the off-season!
We are all about pressing the limits and having a great time enjoying our beautiful surroundings. But there is also a time to be wise and set yourself up for success. Let's be real, a lot of these trail's extend over 100 miles...which is a heck of a lot of land. Depending on the season, you may or may not see other off-roaders.
Also, because of the distance that is covered, it is impossible for park rangers to know exactly what is going on with each trail every single day. GPS systems often don't include turn-by-turn directions when the pavement ends.
Keeping these realities in mind, we've listed several bullet points to consider before you take off on your trek.
- Research the type of terrain you may encounter, and always take a chain or towing strap, as well as a full sized shovel, in case you get in "pickle" and need to dig yourself out.
- Terrain research will also let you know what type of tire pressure you will need. (i.e if you're on sand, you'll want to drastically lower the tire pressure)
- Make sure your spare tire is in good condition, and invest in a small portable air compressor.
- Keep your cell phone charged (though you may not have reception).
- Pack a well - stocked first aid kit
- Have a passenger get out and "spot" you when driving up steep trails where you can't see what's directly ahead. Subarus, thankfully, have great ground clearance, but that doesn't mean a well-placed rock can't do some damage.
- Check the depth of water before crossing, ALWAYS. Water should not reach the bottom of your car. Drive slowly, and don't stop until you reach the other side.
- Do not park over dry grass or leaves, your hot engine could catch them on fire.
A little research and education on the location you choose can save you a world of hurt. Preparation doesn't mean you're less adventurous, it just means you're smart. Remember to respect the area you are in, and aim to travel with minimum impact so you and others can enjoy these places as untouched as possible.
You've got several months to get out there, have fun! If you want help preparing your vehicle, or have any questions, click here to schedule an appointment at Suburb Service, or call (206) 705-8695 to reach our Seattle location. Show your Subaru some love.