TheGravelRiders is a state of mind really, a conscious decision to trust a possibly wild and unpredictable environment and trepidation over wild animals in exchange for a life altering path of adventure and escape from cars.
This cycling community is worldwide, we are rooted in the foothills of Washington State, basically from Issaquah east to Roslyn and past, and until the gravel runs out, which is never. We have a huge array of gravel and hard pack options, from steep rocky fire roads to radio towers to long straight flat gravel grinders that stretch forever.
Snoqualmie Pass offers a pretty nice jumping off point, there are countless logging and fire roads, but most get snowed in from late November to March, so we are fortunate to have 100,000+ acre tree farm in spitting distance, so for $50/year, we can ride that and try not to get lost. We regularly encounter wildlife but most times we see no humans - what an amazing resource.
Local Gravel for Grinding
Snoqualmie Valley Trail (SVT)
31 miles of old railroad grade from Duval to Rattlesnake Lake
Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail
This trail runs 212 miles from Rattlesnake Lake across the state through Snoqualmie Pass via a tunnel (closed in winter). (This trail is also known as Iron Horse Trail, John Wayne Trail.) When snow-free, it's fun to park at Hyak and ride east from the tunnel, it just goes on and on and on and on...awesome.
Map with mileages -->> Palouse to Cascades State Park
Tools of the trade
Winter gravel riding takes quite a bit more planning and equipment, but here are the basics (and THESE ARE SUGGESTIONS, use your common sense, take everything you need to get home):
~ Gravel or cyclocross (cx) bike
~ The best rainwear you can get
~ Waterproof pack
~ Weatherproof shoes
Charged cell phone
Pump and Co2
Extra chainring and cleat bolts
Tube patch kit
Food, water filter
The bottom line is that it is winter in the PNW, it rains, and it get cold and windy. Do what it takes to block the elements.