I’ve been lucky enough to be able to ride my bike all over this country. I’ve explored the high mountains and the low deserts and every region seems to have something special to offer. While I have ridden my bike in Oregon, I haven’t been able to explore nearly enough of its incredible terrain.
So, when writing this article, I reached out to my expert friends, competitors, and trail connoisseurs because it seems that all mountain bikers are excited to share their knowledge about a certain region. After researching all of the trails and locations they recommended to me, one thing is certain, I definitely need to do more riding in Oregon.
1. Black Rock Mountain Trails – Gravity MTB
The Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails are the ideal place to go to hone skills and conquer fears. These trails are primarily built for freeride mountain bikers and cater to the desires of gravity specialists. Despite being gnarly trails, you will get in a quality workout because there is no lift access and you will need to pedal your bike up to the top.
The Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails feature 3 downhill only singletrack trails lasting around 1.5-2 miles in length and descending over 1000 feet each. These trails range in difficulty level and are littered with rocks, loam, log rides, gap jumps, and more.
You will start your ride from the parking lot and climb up Socialist Valley Road (a dirt climb). You’ll then continue up the access road until you find your trail of choice. You can cut the climb short and ride smaller sections of the long descents if you wish to work on certain features, or you can climb all of the way to the top and complete a full run of any of the 3 main trails that Black Rock has to offer.
Bonzai Trail: The bonzai trail is primarily a blue and green trail but still boasts of log rides, berms, and wallrides. Most people would consider all of the features rollable and many of them even have go arounds. Despite being the easiest trail in this system, beginners should use caution and trail/enduro/downhill bikes and full face helmets are still advised.
Sickter Gnar: This top to bottom descent kicks it up a notch as a black trail and should be reserved for strong intermediate or expert riders. The trail offers optional skinnies, berms, big wooden features and an optional big road gap drop toward the bottom.
Grannies Kitchen: This is not a trail your grandma would ride. Generally considered as the most challenging trail at Black Rock Mountain, this trail boasts even more features, doubles, and drop ins. No one should ride this trail blind and every feature should be scouted before committing.
Where is Black Rock Mountain Bike Trail?
Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails are located about 75 miles Southwest of Portland in Falls City, Oregon. Once you reach the Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails there is a nice parking area with a changing room available. You will need to continue up the trail on your bike to find a restroom along Socialist Valley Road. Parking is free thanks to Camp Tapawingo allowing mountain bikers to use their land, but you will need to bring your own food and water for the day on the trails.
Bike Shops Supporting Black Rock Mountain Bike Trail
Make sure that you arrive to the trails with a bike in good condition because the closest bike shop is about 25 miles away in Salem, Oregon. Here are a couple of options should you need some emergency repairs:
- The Bike Peddler: Open 9 am- 5:30 pm on Saturday and 11 am-4 pm on Sunday. http://www.bikepeddler.com/
- Santiam Bicycle: Open 9 am- 6 pm on Saturday and 12 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. https://santiambicycle.com/
2. Post Canyon Mountain Bike Trails
Post Canyon Mountain Bike Trails have a little something for everyone. Featuring over 90 different trails ranging from beginner to expert and catering to cross country riders or downhill/free ride specialist everyone is bound to have their best day on a bike. These trails can be ridden as an out and back or a big loop with gradual climbing and more mellow trails meandering along a stream toward the bottom and gnarly wooden features lurking at trails higher up. With so many trails to choose from it’s hard to highlight just a few, but hopefully these descriptions will leave you wanting more.
- 7 Steams Trail: This trail is a mellow out and back trail that is great for family access or children. It’s a 7 mile trail that progressively gets harder throughout and can be turned around on at any time. It is usually accessible year round.
- 101 Kleeway: If you are looking for something a little more challenging, after riding up 7 streams trail you can ride down on the downhill traffic only Kleeway trail. This trail is a flow trails with lots of berms and gap jumps to test your skills on.
- Blade Runner: This is a black trail designed for the expert or advanced rider. This is a downhill only trail featuring very steep sections and ridgelines that should get your heart pumping.
Where are the Post Canyon Mountain Bike Trails?
These trails are located in the famous Hood River, Oregon. You’ll have a few options when arriving at the trails. You can park at the at Binn’s Hill Staging Area, Family Man Staging Area, Seven Streams Staging Area or the Post Canyon Staging Area. While not publicized, others have indicated to me that there are bathrooms at some of the parking areas and those bathrooms can double as changing rooms if needed. Parking is free, but you will need to bring your own water and food for the day on the trails.
Bike Shops Supporting Post Canyon Trails:
Since Hood River is a mountain biker’s paradise you shouldn’t have had problem finding a bike shop within 10 miles of Post Canyon Trails. Here are a couple of options.
- Momentum View Cycles: (~5 miles) Open Saturday 9 am-6 pm and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm (205 Oak St, Hood River, OR 97031)
- Discover Bicycles: (~5 Miles) Open Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm https://discoverbicycles.com/
3. Mount Bachelor – Famous For Downhill
Another incredibly famous place to mountain bike in Oregon is Mount Bachelor. While Mount Bachelor does feature cross country trails for those of us that find thrill in climbing uphill, it is most famous for its lift accessed downhill trails. The trails range from beginner to expert in hopes to allow people to build upon their skills throughout the summer. Mount Bachelor has been known to host both cross country and enduro races. The lift accessed trails accumulate to 13 miles of downhill fun.
Beginners riding at Mount Bachelor should seek out the Sunshine Accelerator Lift in order to tune up their basics. Intermediate to Advanced riders can ride on the Pine Marten Express in order to find more challenging nature and man-made features.
Once arriving at Mount Bachelor there will be plenty of maps and personnel to point you in the direction of the trails that you wish to ride.
Where are the Mount Bachelor Trails:
Mount Bachelor is located in Bend, Oregon. It is generally open to bikes July- September (weather permitting). The lifts will continue on the weekends through October. Their hours are 10 am- 5 pm on weekdays and open as late at 7 pm on Thursday-Sunday.
A full session pass to ride the lifts and trails at Mount Bachelor will cost you around $280, but a one day pass will run $44. (Trust me, that’s actually a really good deal). They also offer a 3 day pass that can be used on any 3 days throughout the summer season for just $89.
Once at Mount Bachelor you won’t have any trouble finding food, water, changing areas or restrooms. It is a great way to spend all day on the bike either training your skills or enjoying a summer day with the family.
Bike Shops Supporting Mount Bachelor:
The best place to get your bike repaired is on sight at the Mount Bachelor Bike Shop. You can rent a bike or simply go in for repairs if you have an issue while you are out riding. The shop is open 30 minutes after the mountain opens and closes at the same time as the mountain.
4. Sandy Ridge Trail System
The Sandy Ridge Trail System has 16 different trails with15 miles of single-track. The trails are designed to entertain both beginners with flow trails and more advanced riders who will cling to the narrow and exposed trails. A top to bottom run will result in 1300 feet of elevation loss that can then be climbed back up via a 3.5 mile dirt road.
Follow The Leader: This is an advanced trail that features thrilling obstacles, exposed areas, rock drops, rock gardens, weaving through trees, rollers and berms. I’ve heard it described as the best of everything.
- Upper Hide and Seek: An intermediate trail that features a lot of natural obstacles that are simply negotiated but can become challenging at speed.
- Johnny Royale: This trail will start in the middle of the trail system instead of a top to bottom route. It is a jump trail with gaps between 5-15 feet in length. Please look at the lines before sending the jumps.
- Homestead Loop: This is an easy half of a mile loop right off of the parking area. It is perfect for a short ride with small children.
Where is the Sandy Ridge Trail System?
The Sandy Ridge Trail System is located in Mount Hood, Oregon. It is 40 miles East of Portland. You will park in a paved area with enough room for about 30 cars. There are some permanent outhouse style toilets and no running water.
Bike Shops Supporting Sandy Ridge Trail System:
Since Mount Hood is fairly close to Hood River, you will be able to access many of the same shops for the Sandy Ridge Trail System as you can for the Hood River Trails. Here is the closest available shop to access:
Mt. Hood Bicycles: (~4 miles) Open 10 am – 6 pm on Saturday and 10 am- 12 pm Sunday. http://mthoodbicycle.com/
5. North Umpqua Trail for MTB
The North Umpqua Trail is in the Umpqua National Forest in Idleyld Park, Oregon which is 100 miles south of Eugene, Oregon.
As an endurance cross country mountain biker this trail speaks the most to me. This trail is a 71 mile point to point trail. It can be ridden in either direction and features 4,100 feet of climbing and 7,800 feet of descending or vice versa depending on which way you ride it.
It is a perfect bike packing route if you wish to complete the entire ride in 2-4 days or if you have the ability to shuttle the trail and get dropped off and picked up at the other end.
This route is classified as an IMBA Epic and features beautiful terrain following along a river. The terrain changes as the miles go on from lush forests, to exposed areas along the river, to navigating the trees. The trail is 95% single-track.
If you don’t want to take on the entire trail, there are 10 access points along the trails to help split up the route, to allow for easy access to gear or supplies, or to simply allow you to complete out and backs on various sections on the trail.
6. McKenzie River Trail – MTB Beauty
The McKenzie River Trail is touted as 26 miles of the most beautiful mountain biking there is. Located in Eugene, Oregon, in the Willamette National Forest, the trail goes through lava beds, 300 year old forests, and alongside lakes and waterfalls that are crystal clear.
The lava fields can be difficult to ride but after that the trail is fairly easy to navigate. The trail is an out and back trail with a lollipop option around Clear Lake. There are 5 parking areas located throughout the trail in order to make various sections more accessible if you don’t want to ride the entire trail.
Just 1 mile below the west end of the trail there is the Horse Creek Lodge and Outfitters. This shop offers shuttles so that mountain bikers can ride the trail as a point to point option. They also have bike rentals, repairs, cabins, campgrounds, a bike wash, and hot outdoor showers for their shuttle customers. Http://www.horse-creek.com
This trail is open to bikes, hikers, and runners so keep your eyes out and be respectful of others.
7. Oakridge Mountain Bike Trails
These trails are located in Oakridge Oregon, 60 minutes from Eugene. There are over 130 miles of trail to be explored. Like many of Oregon’s trail systems, the trails range in difficulty from beginner to expert difficulty.
If you wish to park and ride a variety of loops and trails there are multiple parking areas where you can station your vehicle while you explore everything that Oakridge has to offer. If you would prefer to access certain trails or limit your pedaling you can employ Cogwild Shuttles (https://www.cogwild.com/shuttles/) to get dropped off.
8. Alpine Trail – Part of Oakridge MTB
The Alpine Trail is a part of the Oakridge Mountain Bike Trail System but ranked as one of the best trails in Oregon, it deserves its own spotlight. You can shuttle this trail with Cogwild Shuttles or you can make a day of it by parking at the bottom of Alpine trail, riding up North Fork Trail, veering left onto the service road and continuing to stay left up to the top. You will cross over the Alpine Trail while climbing and can cut the climb short if you would like, however, part of what makes Alpine famous is the pure length of the descent.
The Alpine trail is a 16 mile descent trail with over 6,500 feet of descending. While there are a few uphills throughout the trail (2,000 feet) they are mild and won’t be noticed much by a strong rider.
The trail features big meadows, tall trees, amazing views, rocky hillsides, and great photo opportunities. You can finish your long ride at the Mountain Market with a good meal, coffee, beer, and baked goods. (https://www.westfirlodge.com/activites)
Tiddlywinks trail is in Bend, Oregon and can be accessed via the Cascade Lakes Highway. If you park at the beginning of Upper Tiddleywinks and you will have access to a bathroom or you can take a shuttle and get dropped off at the same location. Bring $5 for the day fee at the parking area.
To start your ride, go down Upper Tiddleywinks, cross over to Lower Tiddlywinks, and then turn left on Funner trail to ride back to the top of Upper Tiddleywinks. The biggest draw to Tiddlywinks is the flow that the trail offers. There are berms, jumps, rollers and lots of fun ways to grab extra speed.
10. Phil’s Area – Dusty When Dry
Phil’s Area is also in Bend, Oregon and is a trail system offering over 55 miles of trails designed for the intermediate rider. The trails are primarily flowy, but unlike many other Northwest styles of loamy riding, Phil’s Area can get very dry in the late summer days and can be equated to “moon dust” conditions.
11. Alsea Fall’s Recreation Site – Camp and Ride Your MTB
Alsea Fall’s Complete Loop is located in Monroe, Orgon and is 40 miles Northwest of Eugene. It is a 13 mile loop with 1700 feet of climbing and descending. Most of the trails forming this loop are fairly mellow and would be just fine for a beginner or intermediate rider. There are a few trails with jumps or doubles to keep a more advanced rider entertained though.
There are campsites close to the trails that have vault toilets and drinking water so you should be able to refill bottles between or after laps on the trail. You will need $5 for a day fee, $30 for an annual pass, or $20 to camp for the night.
12. Cape Mountain Trail System – A Secret MTB Trail
These trails are located in the Siuslaw National Forest, in Florence, Oregon 75 miles from Eugene. Most of the trails in this area are rated as Black and are designed for a more advanced rider. There are limited resources describing these trails, however, reviews from riders who have been there are always raves.
There is no trail fee and there are toilets available at most of the trailheads.
13. Umatilla Rim Trail for Mountain Biking
While most of the trails in this list are on the coast or are at least in Southwest Oregon, it’s important to note that Northeast Oregon has a lot to offer as well. The Umatilla Rim Trail is located in La Grande, Oregon. It is a 13.5 mile out and back trail with 2,284 feet of climbing and 2,900 feet of descending. It is a cross country style trail that goes along the rim of the canyon which offers some picturesque views. The best access point for this trail is from along the Weston Elgin highway.
Clubs and Groups Supporting Mountain Biking in Oregon
Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA): COTA has been volunteering and enhancing mountain biking in Central Oregon since 1992. They have volunteered for 4522 hours to date.
Oregon Mountain Bike Coalition (OMBC): This group advocates for mountain biking across the state of Oregon in order to keep their trails and riders safe. They build trails, work with grants, and have a voice in the community. Their goal is to make Oregon a premier mountain bike location.
Northwest Trail Alliance: This organization is based out of Portland, Oregon and is an all volunteer and non-profit organization that advocates for mountain bikers in Oregon and Southeast Washington. They enrolled the first IMBA chapter in the Northwest.
Bike Parks In Oregon
Even with so many incredible places to ride in Oregon, sometimes it’s nice to simplify things and work on skills in a controlled environment. Here are some small skills parks that allow riders to session skills and work on body position.
- Basic Training Skills Park: This bike part is found near the bottom of the Black Rock Mountain Bike trails. This park has wooden features, skinnies, drops, and jumps to practice on before hitting the trail.
- Wanoga Pump Track: This pump track is in the parking lot near Tiddlywink’s and Phil’s Area. Pump tracks are perfect for working on body position and flow. It can be a great way to warm up before getting onto the trails or to just play around with your riding buddies.
- New Columbia Bike Skills Park: Located in Portland, this is a free bike park that has wooden features to practice balance and bravery on the bike. The features are beams, bumps, teeter totters, and small berms.
Why Mountain Bike in Oregon:
If these trail descriptions aren’t enough to convince you to hop on a plane, train, or automobile to get yourself to Oregon then let me try one more time to convince you. Not only does Oregon have spectacular terrain and views, it has beautiful water features, lush forest trails, loamy areas, and dry desert terrain. Not only will the trails leave you wishing you could take more photos, but the community of Oregon is highly bike friendly and will not only allow you to ride their trails, but they will welcome you with open arms.