Video: Exploring Trails in the Yacolt Burn Forest

Dec 4, 2020 at 14:46
by PEARL iZUMi  

Emblem Cascadia
The visceral memory of a ride years ago brings PEARL iZUMi athlete Brice Shirbach back to the Pacific Northwest for another full-sensory riding experience.

I’ll never forget my first time in the Yacolt Burn forest. It was a cold and wet day, and the lush green layered landscape was shrouded in a heaving mist that seemed to rise and fall over the Cascade Mountains as if some massive and unseen force were drawing in deep breaths throughout the day.

I first fell in love with the Pacific Northwest several years prior, but this trip would ultimately cement the dense evergreen and temperate rain forests of Cascadia as the pinnacle for exploring our planet aboard two wheels for me. It was sensory overload. It was the blur of deep green trees and dark brown trails, and the smell of wet pine and loam, and the muted sounds of my tires pressing through pockets at speed, and the feedback I felt through my grips from top to bottom. It was new Earth and a forest teeming with life, and these forces of nature combined for one hell of an amazing ride.

Like everything else, my first ride would quickly become a memory, but I knew immediately that the imprint it left behind would be permanent and magnetic, as I had been feeling its pull ever since.

My next trip to this corner of the globe would see very different conditions. The misty conditions were replaced by brilliant blue skies and warm temperatures. The dark and damp loam was now hard packed and bone dry. I was worried that perhaps my connection was now lost. Until I wasn’t. The sensory overload was very much intact. The sun baked pine forest filled the air with an amazing smell, and the once muted sounds of tires over soft Earth were replaced by sharper sounds of rubber meeting the hard pack with an endless symphony of creatures calling out from the warm and vibrant forests. The moss seemed to glow this time around, and the iconic peaks of neighboring Cascade summits were crystal clear in the absence of the misty shrouds that covered them previously. The speeds were higher and the feedback more robust through my grips. It was a new side to this place for me, and while very different from the conditions that drew me in initially, I realized through the buzz of all my senses that the connection was still very much intact.

We all have places that speak to us. They may differ from one person to another, but they provide an opportunity to connect with the planet in a very tangible sense, and ultimately they prove to be a connective tissue among us. For me, the gravity of the Pacific Northwest is inescapable. It’s a place that pulls me in no matter how far away I may be or how long it's been since my last visit.

We all have these kinds of connections; places that pull us in. Where are yours?

Presented by PEARL iZUMi
Words & Photos by Brice Shirbach
Filmed by Logan Patrick Nelson


  • 32 6
 Fortunately this video is such a snoozer I don’t think it’ll blow up the spot.
  • 7 0
 Yep. It's boring out there; don't go.
  • 1 1
 Right! Raced Cascadia Cup there and I can think of a few other trails that would draw more riders to want to go.
  • 15 0
 I'm sure everything he said is true, but it doesn't make the narration any less cheesy.
  • 9 1
 well I'm not sure how he found any Pines to smell in a place without any, but otherwise yeah
  • 21 0
 Also literally the entire area is either clearcut or replanted doug fir. I love riding there but waxing poetic about the ecosystem is a bit much. It’s a big farm.
  • 24 0
 @gafoto: I can’t believe they didn’t talk about the beautiful correctional facility near the trailhead.
  • 27 6
 @EKrum: or the way he talks about the peaceful sounds of the place.

Reality check: there are several natural rock amphitheaters/quarries up there where tactical MAGA morons in jacked up Dodge Rams living out their second amendment wet dreams mean that pretty much any ride up there is soundtracked by incessant semi-auto gunfire.

Still, beats Sandy Ridge any day.
  • 6 3
 @BrambleLee: Its just target practice. I do wish they'd clean up the area though.
You don't really hear it unless you're close to one of those spots.
  • 15 6

Real reality check,
All state forests in the PNW are essentially “tree farms”. They have always been that way. They are open for recreation including hunting,fishing,target shooting,off road motorcycle/quad, 4 wheeling, hiking, horseback riding,Mt biking and I am sure I missed many more. When those activity’s are done legally and responsibly, they all should be allowed. If we start restricting any of them any more those lands the restrictions will start to imitate federal lands where everything is ran by Seirra club mindset people. You don’t want that. Trust me.
  • 9 0
 @a-grant: I was gonna say the same thing but was gonna let it slide in that doug fir is in the pine family, Pinaceae
  • 1 2
True, I should know that being a arborist...
  • 8 2
 @BrambleLee: This is so painfully true. The best is when the fire finally stops and you suggest that they use a back stop instead of blindly shooting into the trees, they act like *you're* the a*shole.
  • 10 0
Everyone shoots and then dumps their TVs responsibly on the Yacolt Burn, I see no issues with the firearms users.
  • 4 12
flag yamaha0249 (Dec 13, 2020 at 13:17) (Below Threshold)

Well maybe you should move somewhere we’re they are outlawing firearms. Better Mt biking there, like New York, California or Washington DC? Sounds like their politics would align better with your ideal society.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: and Hemlock
  • 2 22
flag chasintrails (Dec 13, 2020 at 16:44) (Below Threshold)
 @BrambleLee: I drive a lifted Dodge Ram. Look forward to bumping into you
  • 6 0
 @chasintrails: Am I supposed to feel some sort of way about that?
  • 3 15
flag chasintrails (Dec 13, 2020 at 18:10) (Below Threshold)
 @BrambleLee: you made your feelings pretty obvious about people like me. Just wanna show u how I feel about u
  • 3 5
 @BrambleLee: be happy it’s just semi-auto and not bump-stock... I prefer my bolt action guns out past 600 yards. So I’m starting to shoot more ridge to ridge or across the clearcuts. Plus it’s getting to expensive to go nuts wasting my .223/5.56 ammo. That shits getting up to like $0.80 a round now!
  • 7 0
 @chasintrails: You seem totally normal and stable and chill.
  • 1 0
 @BrambleLee: got that right I wonder why they didn't film more of the high speed jumps in the open??
  • 4 0
 Ooh shit this went to the wrong comment. Oops this thread is a loaded gun... pun intended haha
  • 3 1
 @chasintrails: no one is looking forward to bumping into that tiny penis of yours
  • 1 0
 @a-grant: Dude lives in Delaware,,, Pine Tree = Any Conifer
  • 12 1
 These are my local trails. Can confirm, trash.
  • 9 1
 Always love seeing my home trails. Of course, anybody else would hate them and should not come ride them. But I like them.
  • 8 0
 By the time you read this it will be too late, but: MUTE.
  • 6 0
 One of my fav places to ride. Love it!
  • 5 0
 Poignant words and photos indeed! This speaks to my visits of the Oakridge trails; so many different moods, all incredible!
  • 3 1
 Unfortunately only a matter of time before someone catches a stray bullet there. The errant shooting is off the charts and have personally witnessed some of the most absolutely stupid of all stupid gun practices there. It's really a shame the entire Vancouver metro area has to fight over a recreation area of desertified clear cut waste land with so much public land around.
  • 1 0
 I never understand why people insist on calling it the Yacolt Burn. The actual burn encompasses multiple riding zones, the fire scar is long since gone for all but those trained to look for it. Without looking at a map I believe to burn hit Cold Creek, Lewis River, Trout Lake and the Dark Divide area?
  • 5 0
 CC/6th Sense parking lot is the "Yacolt Burn Trailhead"
  • 4 0
 Because officially it’s the Yacolt Burn State Forest, I believe. The effects of the burn do endure, but yeah there aren’t a lot of toasted trees up there anymore.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: that makes sense. I have always just heard it called Cold Creek until more recently. Never been though, would like to check it out but being 2 hours away it is tough to justify as a destination over the other trails in the area that are also that far away.
  • 2 0
 Trail system is great. But way out of the way. Only time ive been there is to race. Just too much of a hoof for anything else
  • 8 6
 Didn't even know we had trails there. Thanks for sharing
  • 2 0
 Thanks for reminding me I need more Thrillium in my life.
  • 1 1
  • 1 3
 first tv episode we did was there! so fun
  • 1 1
 Booo Ross
  • 1 0
 @Bikebikebike03: boo your face
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