DARRINGTON — The first four miles of new mountain biking trails are opening this weekend just outside of town on North Mountain.
A celebration is planned for Saturday, paired with the Darrington Day summer festival. People can ride from the Whitehorse Market in town to the trails, less than three miles, according to event planners.
From there, they can test out the new trails, which include easy cross-country paths for novices as well as rough, expert-only terrain.
The North Mountain Bike Skills Area has been planned for a couple of years, and trail work started last spring. Though four miles are opening initially, another 13 are planned. They’ll eventually span more than 2,000 acres owned by the state Department of Natural Resources near the Snohomish-Skagit county line.
There’s no fee to use the trails because they are on public land, DNR spokeswoman Eryn Couch said, but a Discover Pass is required to park there. However, mountain bikers also can park in Darrington and bike to the start of the trails, she said. Local officials hope that adding the new recreation opportunity in the area will encourage visitors to spend more time in Darrington.
The trails also are geared toward helping young riders learn to mountain bike and build their skills, according to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, which partnered with DNR and handled most of the trail building. Youth organizations, including students from Darrington’s Glacier Peak Institute, helped with trail work.
This week, crews have been putting in signs and setting up an information kiosk.
The state set aside up to $1 million for the trails project, Couch said.
The grand opening is a public event. Riders should meet at the Whitehorse Market, near the Darrington IGA, at 2:30 p.m. or join the celebration at the skills park at 3 p.m. After the celebration, the trails officially open for anyone to ride, Couch said.
The mountain biking skills park is located near Whitehorse Community Park, off North Mountain and Powerline roads.
To keep updated about the North Mountain trails, people can sign up for the Darrington Mountain Bike electronic newsletter at dnr.wa.gov/DarringtonMTB.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also on Saturday, the annual Darrington Day Celebration is adding events. There’s a street fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Darrington Street with live music, artists, booths, a dunk tank and kids’ activities such as face painting and sidewalk chalk. Classic cars are on display during the Model A Strut. The festival also features food, a beer garden, tours of Hampton Mill, a rock and gem show at Mansford Grange, and a rummage sale at the Cascade Senior Center.