Mountain biking in Oregon is renowned for the 100% singletrack courses that litter the state. Oakridge, Portland, and almost every other town in the state have dedicated trails for mountain bikes. Oakridge, for example, is referred to as ‘The Capital of Mountain Biking in The Northwest,’ and even the International Mountain Bicycling Association has given the town the recognition of a Gold Level Ride Center. To put this into context, only seven places worldwide have this recognition. Oregon has several unique landscapes, weather, variety, and quality of trails in the United States. Every ride is a fantastic experience, plus the communities are bike-friendly. These are the most sought-after bike trails in Oregon.
1. Post Canyon Mountain Bike Trails
Situated around the well-known Hood River, Oregon, Post Canyon Mountain Bike Trails is a conglomerate of over 90 individual trails. The trails range from beginner to advanced and include courses for every rider level, from downhills to cross-country trails. The trails can be ridden as one big loop or different loops. If you choose to ride the entire trail, the course goes through steady climbing gentle trails approaching a stream.
The sheer number of trails here can leave the rider confused and spoilt for choice. Some of the trails include the 7 Streams Trail, a 7 mile gentle out and back trail that is ideal for beginners and families to explore. The course becomes harder the further you go. The Blade Runner is a downhill trail designed for more accomplished riders. Some sections of the trail are very steep, and only brave riders would attempt these trails. The 101 Kleeway is somewhat in between the two trails, not too rugged and not too easy. The trail features lots of berms and jumps that will test your bike-handling skills, and it’s also a downhill-only trail.
The trails at this location are sure to satisfy any rider as they cover every rider’s skillset and terrain preference. Families and groups can also find a suitable trail here.
2. Mount Bachelor Trails
Situated in the town of Bend, the Mount Bachelor Trails is popularly known for its many descents. There are two options to access the downhills. While many choose the lift service to take them to the top, the more adventurous riders resolve to tackle the climbs before enjoying the thrills that the downhills hold.
The trails are mostly open in the summer months of July to September, offering a wide range of options for all categories of riders. The downhills combine for a total of 13 miles and have been used to host enduro and cross country competitions. Beginners would find the Sunshine Accelerator Lift particularly helpful, while more established riders would find the Pine Marten Express more challenging.
The area is particularly famous among mountain bikers and attracts heavy traffic in the summer. Due to the volatile weather, the trail may be closed during bad weather. The staff here is friendly and will be willing to help you choose a trail of your choice.
3. Sandy Ridge Trail System
Situated in Mount Hood, 40 miles from Portland, the Sandy Ridge Trail System is a 15-mile long route with over 15 individual loops. The terrain is pure singletrack and can only be as challenging as the rider wants it to be.
With a variety of trails, Sandy Ridge attracts all kinds of bikers all year round. Beginners would enjoy the wide gentle trails, while experienced bikers would find their match in the tight singletrack winding through the course. An excellent downhill where bikers can descend about 1300 feet, and go back up riding a 3.5-mile path, is a major attraction to the trails. A few of the most popular trails here are the Johnny Royale Trail, which begins at the midway point of the trails and has lots of fun and challenging jumps, and the Homestead Loop, a beginner-rated loop that starts at the parking lot and is loved by kids for its brevity. You’ll also find the Follow The Leader Trail, a more advanced course with lots of natural and artificial obstacles, rock gardens, and berms. The Upper Hide and Seek is a midway point between these trails. If ridden at a leisurely pace, the trail is easy but ridden at speed. It can sometimes prove to be challenging.
A true gem of a trail, the Sandy Ridge Trail System, with its many exciting paths and diverse difficulty levels, will excite everyone who has ever ridden a mountain bike. The scenic view is one to look at, as its proximity to the Hood River gives the location a vantage point from where you can see the entire surroundings.
4. Little Grayback + Mule Mountain Loop
Located in the Siskiyou Mountain area, the Little Grayback + Mule Mountain Loop elevates over 3,500 feet and is close to Applegate Lake. With a distance of about 20 miles, the trail is one large loop. The course begins at the lakeshore and has an elevation gain of over 3,500 feet.
The course passes through some high ridges and lush vegetation, including open ponderosa pine forest, oak savannah, and ridgetop meadows. Birds abound in the area, with red-tailed hawks and varied thrush particularly plentiful. The trail begins with a 2-mile climb that garners about 1,200 feet on a packed dirt road, taking you up the Little Grayback Trail. Baldy Creek Trail is tight singletrack that passes the ridgeline atop Mule Creek. This trail is more challenging than all others on this location but has some of the most scenic views in the course. The Mule Mountain Trail is a must-visit, with portions of flowy and speedy downhills coursing through meadows before ascending the forested ridge.
The scenery is a major attraction to the Little Grayback + Mule Mountain Loop, which is a two-in-one loop with the Baldy Creek Trail wedged in between, as a bonus.
5. Catamount Trail Loop
Opened to the public in 2016, the Catamount Trail Loop is an intermediate-rated course nestled in Silver Falls State Park. The trail is essentially an improved cross-country trail that meanders through the gorgeous woods. Already very popular among locals, the trail is becoming a hotspot for people visiting Oregon.
The trail is littered with berms, corners, and rock gardens that can be challenging but not impossible for strong beginners and intermediate riders. Three trails combine to make the course fun; the Upper Catamount Trail, the Newt Loop, and the Catamount Trail. From the trailhead at 214 Trail, the ride goes upward towards Lookout Mountain Road, passing through some patchy spots. The first trail from there is the Upper Catamount Trail, a short and speedy ride that does not last up to a mile and has some berms and rollers. The Catamount Trail comes next with a brutal first mile that features a few big boulders and roots and kickers that are optional. Catamount Trail stands out as the most conspicuous trail and is easy to follow. Newt Loop meets Catamount Trail at an intersection and completes the ride anti-clockwise.
Riding the three trails together is much more enjoyable and adds some length to the ride. But if you are short on time and still need a workout, any of the three trails here are perfect for riding. Beginners might find the paths too daunting, while advanced riders may consider it a little too easy. It is just the right mix for intermediate mountain bikers.
Coined with the initials of the four places it passes through, the A-T-C-A is a course that links the Upper Alpine, Tire Mountain, Cloverpatch, and Lower Alpine together. There are two popular places to park and start the ride; Oakridge and Westfir. The route travels through some of the most remarkable portions of the Oregon forest and has lots of singletrack and exciting views.
Even though the course can be shuttled, there is still a lot of uphill climbing to be done. From Cloverpatch up to Alpine involves a lot of tedious pedaling and can be exhausting. The trail ascends through a section of large trees and across a grassy meadow. Upon approaching Tire Mountain, you’ll find a steep climb, which quickly turns into a downhill that cascades through the lush oak forest. After the first few miles of this trail, all you can see around and ahead of you are grassy hillsides. The changing scenery continues as the route plunges into a pine forest for the most significant downhill portion. The course ends with a flatter terrain at the bottom of the road.
The many tedious climbs on this trail put it firmly out of reach for new bikers. One good climb deserves an equally good or even better descent. This trail lives up to expectation and delivers on the promises it holds.
7. Forest Park
Located in Portland, Oregon, many have erroneously thought of Forest Park as runners and hikers-only trail due to its remote and serene location. The park, which has a 28-mile long trail, is criminally underrated in the mountain biking department.
Forest Park boasts about 12 trails accessible by mountain bikes, including Holman Lane, Saltzman Road, and Newton Road. However, the most popular route among mountain bikers is the Leif Erikson Trail, an 11-mile long course that is generally flat with only a slight elevation gain. Beginners enjoy the trail for its flowy nature and few obstacles, while intermediate to advanced riders would appreciate the trail’s 11-mile length.
There are not a few technical challenges or obstacles, and the park does not boast of the singletrack trails that many of the trails on this list have. Still, it more than makes up for it with the beautiful scenery that goes around a historic forest and its closeness to the Portland downtown area.
8. Moon Point
A 19-mile black diamond-rated trail, the trail at the Moon Point is one of those rides that gets etched in your memory, making it difficult to forget and making you compare every other trail against it. The trail is an underappreciated gem in the Oakridge area, which mixes some of the best gravel uphills with a hilltop view and challenging downhill that rival the more frequented Alpine Trail.
For those who have little time or aren’t willing to take the uphill journey, the 9-mile climb with an elevation gain of 3,200 feet can be shuttled. Taking a short ride on the trail to Moon Point, you can get views of Young’s Rock and Moon Point, midway through the ride. While you might not get to see any snowy peaks, the location gives you an over-the-top feeling. After the last ridge, a downhill follows with a few switchbacks that pass through tons of fir trees.
The rocky portions come next, moving through a fast section of the trail. The Moon Point is a technical trail, challenging enough to put off a faint-hearted rider. Expert riders can come here to sharpen their skills, and they are sure to get their days’ worth of workout.
9. Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails
Situated in Falls City, Oregon, Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails is the perfect place for intermediate bikers to sharpen skills and build confidence. These trails will excite downhill lovers and gravity enthusiasts. Although the trails are a bit gnarly, you are sure to get your pound’s worth of workout, as there are no lift services, meaning you will have to ride to the top.
Three trails form what is known as the Black Rock Mountain Bike Trails, with each varying in difficulty and technicality levels. All trails here are downhills, plummeting over 1000 feet each. The trails are singletrack peppered with jumps, berms, and rocks and are about 2 miles long. The trailhead is at the parking lot; from there on, the course goes straight through Socialist Valley Road until you find the trail that suits you best. There are routes to make the climb shorter if you intend to ride minor sections of the downhill. But the best bet would be to brave it to the peak and enjoy any course of your choice.
10. Timberline to Rhododendron
The intermediate rated Timberline to Rhododendron is an individual trail situated amidst the intricate Government Camp Trail system. The 16-mile ride begins at the Timberline Lodge flowing through a descent till it gets to Rhododendron.
For those looking to skip the climb, there is a shuttle system from Rhododendron that can accommodate bicycles and stops at the Timberline Lodge. From there, you can follow the 5-mile descent that flows through to Crosstown Trail, where you can stop for refreshments. The beginning of the trail is a gentle downward slope, which opens up to the Pioneer Bridle Trail, which is more difficult. Mountaineer is the first serious descending about 1,500 feet through five different ski runs. Crosstown Trail is filled with rocks and sand, which can get your bike stuck. Lauren Hill bags the honor for the most challenging trail and has an alarming elevation loss.
The Timberline to Rhododendron Trail has portions of easy rides, intermediate and challenging trails. Bikers who wish to ride Lauren Hill are advised to come with a helmet.
There are many beautiful trails in Oregon, and it is only a matter of choice and personal preferences to decide which suits you best. Oregon’s varied landscape, terrain, and unique weather conditions make it appealing to mountain bikers. The state motto, ‘Alis volat propriis,’ which, when translated roughly means ‘She flies with her own wings,’ aptly describes the state.