The Towers of Power system of trails offers something for everyone. From a main trail for a wide, easy ride to inner trails with challenging obstacles.
The main loop provides access to the other, more challenging trails. The main trail is often flat, but does have some rolling hills. The surface is dirt, with rocks and some sand.
The trail system is set near a Puget Sound Energy station and under a series of power lines near Philip Arnold Park in Renton. The system has four inner trails: Crop Circles, The Tapeworm, Parasite and Mr. DNA.
Each of these four trails is unique, but they are all challenging, narrow and fun. If you ride the main loop and are feeling up to the challenge of taking on one of these inner trails, I’d recommend starting with Mr. DNA.
Because there are a lot of challenging aspects in the inner trails (steep drops, jumps, logs, narrow passage through trees, rocks in the trail, etc.) it would be a good idea to take the first time through nice and easy and scope everything out. It’s nice to know there’s a log to duck under around a corner, or a jump to adjust your speed for just past a tree.
When you’re riding through and encounter loose logs and other things in the trail path, don’t move them, they’re supposed to be there.
These trails seem to throw just about everything at a rider. There are some parts that require a little rock hopping and some spots where I wasn’t sure my handlebars would fit through the trees (they did). Don’t forget to keep your head up, too. There are some low trees. The trails also offer a large variety of scenery.
From mostly open areas full of tall grass around the main trail, to grass and shrubs taller than my head in some points of the trail, to deep forest in the inner trails. Every now and then you can catch a nice view down the hill of Interstate 405 and south Renton.
One thing to remember while on the side trails: Watch for other bikers. The inner trails are often narrow and have various downhill areas. Combine those factors with a lot of blind corners and there is a chance to run into trouble if you’re not careful. The easiest way to avoid problems is to be aware and listen. It’s probably not a good idea to listen to iPods or other devices while on the inner trails.
Even in early July there are still a couple of mud puddles, so the trail has the potential to get quite muddy in rainy weather.
The only problem I ran into was getting untracked in the inner trails. There are a lot of turns and intersecting paths on the inner trails, but as long as you don’t mind going in a
couple of loops, just enjoy yourself and you’ll eventually find your way through the trail.
The main loop is roughly a mile and a half, add in the inner trails and there is over five miles of trail.
The main thing at Towers of Power is to just take your time, explore everything and get to know the trails so you don’t get yourself into what could be a painful situation.
Access: Park in the parking lot at Philip Arnold Park and head right on Beacon Way. Philip Arnold Park is at 720 Jones Ave. S. in Renton. There are two entrances to the trail on the right off of Beacon Way. The easiest entrance immediately follows a metal gate. After a few yards on a small trail, you’ll be dumped onto the main trail and ready to explore the trail system.
Mr. DNA and Crop Circles are generally to your left once you get on the main trail (all of these directions are for a biker facing toward the trail system, on the main loop, at the entrance). The entrance to Mr. DNA is probably the easiest to find; it’s right next to the corner of the fence that surrounds the Puget Power station.
Crop Circles is right next to Mr. DNA. The Tapeworm is also on your left, but it’s farther down, closer to Grant Avenue. Parasite is to the right.
For more information about the trails and a detailed map of the trail system, go to the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club’s home page, bbtc.org.
Towers of Power
Ratings from 1-10 (ex. least difficult-most)
Ease of access: 6
Lasting impression: Trails range from easy main loop to very challenging inner trails best suited for experienced riders.