Washington Scablands Cycling Tips

The unique landscape of the scablands of central Washington demands some special considerations for a successful cycling trip. Below are a few tips for success in the steppe:


  1. Plan on bringing all the water you’ll need. The creeks and pothole ponds of the scablands are a funnel for agricultural runoff in addition to being fouled by cattle.
  2. Although you’re more likely to get tumbleweed tangled in your drivetrain than deal with a flat, pack a tire repair kit just in case. The squared-off basalt on the rocky trails carries a risk of pinch flats, and some weeds have thick stickers that can puncture a tube.
  3. Bring a map or GPS. Although green “confidence markers” or other signs spaced at regular intervals mark most primary trails, so do old ranch roads and cow paths. In addition, a lack of prominent landmarks on the skyline can be disorienting to riders accustomed to mountain terrain.

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