The 'other' SR 410 rides – Suntop & Crystal, September 2012
For the return, there’s a fair amount of undulating terrain to get past before real downhill fun begins. Having rushed through the first half of the ride, I was pretty well spent by the time I dropped into Buck Creek Valley and started down the rippin’ Fawn Ridge descent. With failing brakes, I barely hung on through the tight switchbacks on the final slope flanking White River Valley. Eventually reaching the valley floor at the Ranger Creek landing strip, I passed on the Skookum Flats Trail for a faster option and rode the highway back to where I parked on FS Rd #73.
If riding the ~14 mile Crystal loop counter-clockwise as Eric and I did, a good place to start is the horse camp on the west side of the Crystal Mountain Boulevard. From there we proceeded to grind up trail 1163 – a trail familiar to me thanks to countless ‘Northback’ ski adventures over the years. Eventually reaching the meadowed ridge crest, the trail turns south and traverses more of Crystal’s winter-time ‘slack country’ north of Morning Glory Bowl. It ends finally at the resort’s access road near Northway Peak. After a break at the Summit House, we began the descent picking up the single-track again at the base of Powder Bowl. Traversing the chutes above Bear Pits, we made our way towards A-Basin and then Silver Basin on excellent single-track. The final, long descent now along the east-side of Silver Creek is a white-knuckle adrenaline joy ride and makes for a fitting finish to a thoroughly enjoyable day of mountain biking.