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One of our favorite adventures this year was a tough, 9+ miles, ride-and-carry mountain biking trek out to the abandoned Monte Cristo Ghost Town several miles outside of Granite Falls, Washington.

After stopping by the Verlot Ranger Station on Mountain Loop Highway to pick up a map and flash our National Parks Pass, we drove the 34 miles east to the Monte Cristo Ghost Town Trailhead. The parking area is shared by those heading to Barlow Point and the Gothic Basin, so don’t be surprised to find the area packed! The Gothic Basin and Monte Cristo Ghost Town trail are one and the same for 1 mile before the Gothic Basin Trail veers off into another direction.

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

The first mile of the trail is easy going, following a flat, closed-off mining road. We zoomed past hikers and backpackers on our mountain bikes.

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

After 1.2 miles, things got a little confusing. We had read online that this is the point where a log crossing was required because the old bridge had washed out. We couldn’t find the crossing and ended up doing A LOT of backtracking AND carrying our bikes back and forth. That was one heck of a work out.

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

It turns out, the trail continues on through a tightly forested trail that had a lot of visible root growth and broken branches. We carried our bikes through this and found the logging crossing.

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Log crossing on the trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

After the log crossing, there are quite a few washed out spots which are difficult to bike over. We ended up either carrying or walking the bike. The last mile and half to the ghost town is smooth sailing on the bike, although this is where the elevation gain could be felt as we had to pedal uphill.

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

By the time we found the Monte Cristo Townsite sign, we were EXHAUSTED and extremely relieved to be there!

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Sign on the trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

In 1889, a miner by the name of Joseph Pearsall traced a mineral belt to the area that became Monte Cristo. Over the next year, a mining boom would bring thousands of men, making Monte Cristo the first live mining camp on the west slopes of the Cascade Range. With these miners came a wagon road, mills, a nearby railroad, and building structures. Prosperity reigned until about 1896 when catastrophic flooding destroyed railroad tunnels and tracks. The next year brought another intense flood disaster which cut deeply into mining profits. By 1900, most of the Monte Cristo miners had moved on to the Klondike gold rush. Mining ceased in 1907 but a few attempts were made to convert the town into a tourist destination. It survived for several more decades until a major flood and fire in the 1980s.

Trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Artifacts on the trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Artifacts on the trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Trail to abandoned Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Trail to abandoned Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town

With plenty of cabins still standing and rusting artifacts all over the townsite, we can see why Monte Cristo is considered the “Disneyland of ghost towns” in Washington State. And if mountain biking is your mode of transportation to get there, you’ll be in for one unforgettable ride!

Mountain Biking trail to Monte Cristo Ghost Town in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, WA - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/mountain-biking-monte-cristo-ghost-town
Monte Cristo Ghost Town Trail Overview
Coordinates / Address
48.0261366,-121.4461438
Fees / Permit
$5 (Northwest Forest Pass); National Parks Pass also valid
Difficulty
Moderate
Usage
Heavy
Pets allowed
Yes
Camera Info
Canon 6D + 16-35mm f/2.8L II
GoPro Hero4 Silver edition
Length
9.5 miles out & back
Elevation Gain
700
Tips & Things to Note
Much of the trail has been washed out or overgrown with roots

Tags : washington ghost townswashington hikeswashington-biking