The Dark Divide 300 has created quite the stir over the last few months. Earlier this summer, a group set out to pre-ride the 340-mile route in preparation for a 2023 grand depart and put a report together. This winter, the same group released a unique film from the trip, which incorporated interviews with local tribal leaders to provide insight on the land, their history, and what the adventure cycling community can do to become better stewards to the land we occupy. We also put together a Reader’s Rig featuring Eva’s self-made Liberation Fabrication titanium ATB, which you can check out here. All of this has been working toward a 2023 event on the Dark Divide 300 route, and organizer Ben Everett shares some details below.
Words by Ben Everett
The first Dark Divide 300 grand depart will take place on Thursday, August 10, 2023, at 7 a.m. from Squaxin Park, just outside of downtown Olympia, Washington. The grand depart will be open to racers and cyclo-tourists alike. Registration will open in early March.
The Dark Divide 300 is a challenging mixed-terrain cycling route that traverses the expansive ancestral lands of the Squaxin Island Tribe, Nisqually Tribe of Indians, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, through what is known commonly as southern Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State, which is encapsulated in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
The route begins in Olympia, Washington, on the territory of the Steh-Chass band of the Squaxin Island Tribe, overlooking the southern tip of the Salish Sea, and heads southeast into the Cascadian hinterlands via the Elbe Hills State Forest. It then leads riders deep into the backcountry through a combination of unmaintained and forgotten forest roads and seldom-traveled scenic byways until reaching the Dark Divide Roadless Area, one of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes on the continent.
After traversing Juniper Ridge, riders head southwest again toward the Columbia River through the Monte Cristo Range and eventually the Yacolt Burn area before finishing in Portland, Oregon. Resupply is limited, cell phones are useless, and the terrain can be steep, rutted, and utterly unforgiving while simultaneously surrounding riders with profound and indescribable natural beauty and wonder.
Dark Divide 300 Route
For questions or concerns, please email Ben Everett at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Evergreen Gravel Racing on Instagram to stay in the loop.
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