Monte Cristo was once a town in the late 1890's which was a place for gold mines and in the early 1900's did not have enough money and became a ghost town. Many visit this place, unfortunately the road there was washed out years ago, so now it has become a hike, or for us bikers a bike trail. The place still had a few houses and mines in the area, although much of the original town was either burnt down, destroyed, or taken apart when settlers left. As for the conditions of the road, for a trail it's pretty good, but for a road... not so much because there are washouts in many different places. This place also offer great views of the Monte Cristo Peak and Del Campo Peak.
The Road startes out nice and easy going slightly up and down hill for the first mile. Near the end of the first mile is sorta a hassile, you have to walk the bike either up the alternative path, or though the washout which I found out it's actually easier walking your bike though the washout rather than the alternative path because the alternative path goes up a hill. After this you may find small spots to ride your bike, but soon you have to walk your bike over a large log over a river which at first sounds scary, but isn't too bad, the log is huge, I went across twice, once for my pack, and another for my bike. After this, the road becomes nice to ride down, although at some parts it may become chunky, and also don't get too close to the edge at washout area's because they may be over hanging cliffs into the river. There are a few small spots you might have to temporary walk your bike either due to rocks in the road, or washouts or if you encounter a big hill, but after this, it becomes nice again until you get to Monte Cristo. For those who want to go farther there is a trail to either Glacier basin, or go up Poodle Dog Pass which from there you can go to Twin Lakes, Silver Lake, or if your up to it climb up Columbia Peak. There is an area in the town which you can stash your bike.
Monte Cristo and Colubmia Peak.
Getting There from Seattle: Drive north on I-5 until you can juntion onto highway 2 which is in Everett. After a few minutes of driving there is a road called Snohomish Marysville Road which is on your left and goes to Lake Stevens. From here you take a left onto highway 9 for about 1.75 miles and then take a right onto highway 92 (Granite Falls Highway). Once you get to the end of this road, there is a sign with a bunch of other ones on it to that says Barlow Pass and it will be on your left. It is about 30 miles from Granite Falls according to goole earth and a North West Forest pass is required which you can get at Verlot along the way at the Ranger Station. The trailhead is a gate at the top of barlow pass.
A Washout on the Trail.
When to Bike
April-October although it really depends on how much snow there is, and if the mountain loop highway gate is open, some years open earlier than others, I've had it were the road was good in one year in February, and in another the gate still closed in early June, but April to may is probably more common.