The Towers of Power is a small mountain biking trail system that runs through land owned by a power utility company in Renton, about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. There are currently six technical routes – Mr. DNA, Crop Circles, Parasite, Silkworm, Berm Sled, and Tapeworm (a.k.a. “worm”) – and an outer loop that connects them, which together pack a total of eight miles of tightly wound intestine-like trails into just a couple of acres. While the scenery isn't exactly anything to write home about (as the name suggests, the whole area is lined with power lines throughout), the trails are quite fun. It is a perfect spot to go for a fun after work session, or to hone your skills for excursions further afield.
What Makes It Great
The Towers of Power trails are definitely an efficient use of space, maximizing the rides possible within a relatively small area.
The outer loop is the easiest: a fire road without obstacles or hard features. Almost all of the trails are single track. Start with a ride around the outer loop, so you can get a look at the various obstacles and get warmed up. Afterwards, hop on Berm Sled for a downhill ride with berms and jumps; Mr. DNA to navigate around roots and rocks (though be aware this trail has become overgrown in recent years); Parasite for sharp turns and steep ups and downs; Tapeworm for structures, drops, and log piles; Crop Circles to twist around a maze-like ride (though this trail has also not been maintained for several years), or Silkworm for a cross-country route with optional drops, structures, and berms. A good afternoon session might go something like this: Take Silkworm, then take a left at the exit and hop onto Parasite at the first right. At the Parasite exit, continue on to Tapeworm. Mix it up mid-way through to do Berm Sled, and then re-enter Tapeworm to finish it off. At the end ride back to Parasite and do it all in reverse.
The trails are narrow, with some blind spots, so watch out for other bikers. Also beware of roots: there are a lot of them. Take it slow until you get to know the trail system. The lower areas can get muddy when the rain comes down, but there is typically little mud on the Silkworm trail. The trails were developed and are maintained by a group of local mountain bike gurus.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a great spot for mountain bikers who want something close bay to get their jollies out, or something to use as an everyday training ground.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Most people park at the adjacent Philip Arnold Park. Turn right into the parking lot just before a gated road. To get to the trails, bike up the road a few hundred yards.
There will be a series of entries to the trail system on the right side of the road. Take the one just pas the jeep road, or the first entrance as you get to the top of the road.
Once on the trail, following it left will take you to the main entrance area, or following right will lead directly to the Parasite trail.