Trail Report: Oakridge, Oregon

From fast and flowy to techy and tough, Oakridge has it all

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Historic benchcut trails are what make Oakridge unique. Their historic significance of servicing fire lookouts has not only helped create a vast network of singletrack but their contour nature makes them sustainable and super fun for bikes.

Historic benchcut trails are what make Oakridge unique. Their historic significance of servicing fire lookouts has not only helped create a vast network of singletrack but their contour nature makes them sustainable and super fun for bikes (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: Jordan Carr and co-author and photographer Leilani Bruntz are currently traveling the country spreading the gospel of mountain biking as the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew. Along the way they get to explore some of the country’s best riding locales, and then share them with you in this reoccurring Mtbr Trail Report series. Follow Carr and Bruntz’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram, and let us know in the comments section below if you have additional beta about these great riding destinations. Also be sure to check out the Mtbr Oregon Trails Page and Travel Oregon’s 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders Scavenger Hunt for more info on riding in Oregon.

We rolled down sleepy 1st Street as the sun set. The main drag in rural Oakridge, Oregon, was our final destination after a day filled with miles of trails. It had been a big day of pedaling despite the many miles in the van, and thousands of feet descended. It had begun in the crisp morning air, as locals made their Monday morning commute through the “busy” streets of Oakridge.

Overlooking quaint Oakridge from the lookout point off of the Dead Mountain Trail, this is a must stop when checking out the new bike optimized trail just outside of town.

Overlooking the town of Oakridge from the lookout point off the Dead Mountain Trail.

We pedaled from our accommodations to the quaint Oakridge Lodge where we were greeted by Randy, Owner of Oregon Adventures, the local shuttle/tour company. Our mission for the day, was what Oregon Adventures coins the “17k in a day.” That’s right, 17,000 feet of descending, euphorically gained via 50 miles of Oakridge’s lush, bench-cut singletrack that descend like a rollercoaster in the mountains surrounding the small town.

Oakridge has long been a staple on the must-hit mountain bike destination map, hosting top level events like Mountain Bike Oregon, Cascade Cream Puff, and a stop on the Oregon Enduro Tour. But local trail advocates from GOATS (Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards) have been hard at work in hopes of making Oakridge the next IMBA ride center, a badge of honor worn by only a select few of the top mountain bike destinations around the world. These bastions of mountain biking feature an array of amenities, from backcountry epic rides to flow trails and pump tracks. The ride center designation creates a bucket list of adventures.

Bobbing and weaving through the trees, traction abounds within the rich black Oregon dirt. This section will leave you smiling from ear to ear and ready for your next shuttle.

Bobbing and weaving through the trees, traction abounds within the rich black Oregon dirt. This section will leave you smiling from ear to ear and ready for your next shuttle (click to enlarge).

The GOATS have been pursuing continued trail development while also improving variety and interconnectivity within the vast acres of public land surrounding the town. Blessed with an extensive network of logging roads complemented by miles and miles of fire lookout access trails, Oakridge features a prime landscape for mountain bikers.

Although our recommendations offer detailed information, we recommend stopping by the local shop, Willamette Mountain Mercantile, and picking up a map. Or call Randy at Oregon Adventures for the full shuttle tour of the amazing trails around this historic timber town. Also, checkout MTBproject.com for GPS data of many Oakridge rides.

Alpine Trail

Arguably the most popular ride around Oakridge, this trail combines beautiful views, large old growth trees, amazing dirt and top notch bench cut construction that creates the ultimate shuttle ride. This ride begins with a 30-40 minute shuttle. To cut out logistics we recommend Oregon Adventures (which leaves Oakridge at 9:45 a.m. every day from May-October, call to verify).

If you run your own shuttle, park one vehicle in Westfir just across from the covered bridge on North Fork Road (Aufderheide Scenic Byway), then turn left on either FS1910 to Windy Pass to FS1912 (8 miles) or FS1912 to Kate’s Cut-In (9.8 miles). FS1912 is a shorter steeper option, while FS1910 is longer but more gradual, which is better for less capable vehicles.

This amazing benchcut trail is the epitome of Oakridge singletrack. Great views and epic trails abound on this popular Oakridge ride. Whether it's the classic Alpine Trail or you combine it with many of the other trail options this may quickly become your favorite new ride!

This amazing benchcut trail is the epitome of Oakridge singletrack. Great views and epic trails abound on this popular Oakridge ride. Whether it’s the classic Alpine Trail or you combine it with many of the other trail options this may quickly become your favorite new ride! (click to enlarge)

At Kate’s Cut-In the trail will take off from your left with a gradual singletrack climb before you reach the scenic Sourgrass Meadow. Dropping in at Kate’s Cut-In rewards you with just under 15.5 miles of singletrack most of which is downhill. This is a prime trail for lovers of fast and flowy fun paired with just enough elevation gain to leave your legs tired at the end.

Though the Alpine trail is an amazing ride all by itself, there are some additional variations to the basic shuttle option. Here’s a rundown.

The Chrome Toilet

After beginning the ride from Kate’s Cut-In, you will arrive at a fork almost immediately, to add another 3.4 miles of singletrack and 3.4 miles of dirt road back to Kate’s, turn right at the sign and begin heading toward the Elk Camp Shelter. This section is considered intermediate ability level and adds just a bit more to your Alpine shuttle ride.

Continue to page 2 for more trail beta from Oakridge, Oregon »
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About the author: Jordan Carr

When not spreading his passion for singletrack as one half of the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew along with his girlfriend Leilani Bruntz, Jordan Carr can be found pedaling, hiking, skiing, or posted up at a local brew pub enjoying a beverage. Having spent more than half his life riding all types of bikes at almost every type of cycling event, Carr loves the freedom two wheeled travel has brought to his life. Having spent many years behind the stand at a bike shop, he’s tested mountain bike products for a number of publications. Follow Carr and Bruntz's adventures as they travel the country promoting trails and mountain biking on Facebook and Instagram.


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  • Tom says:

    Great article. I’ve ridden the dickens out of that place for over 12 years. About the only thing you missed in terms of riding are two great xc trails: Middle Fork Willamette and North Fork.

    For dining, don’t miss the astounding marinated steak fajitas at the Mexican place behind the Dairy Queen.

  • josh says:

    Oakridge is great. Got to give another recommendation for the Brewer’s Union’s cask brews. Don’t miss em.

  • Trevor says:

    Rode the Cascade Cream Puff a few years back, and it remains one of the best race experiences I’ve had. Great race, great trails. Would love to go back and spend more time in Oakridge.

    Having said that, I don’t think you can give a balanced review to the area w/o a fair warning of the *abundant* poison oak. It was everywhere. Returning home to oozing, itching, scabbing misery for the next two weeks was my least favorite part of Cascade Creampuff, and that’s saying something considering the suffering involved *during* the race.

    By all means, go to Oakridge. Enjoy the ride. But bring your Tecnu!

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