Add this new route to your cycling bucket list. The Oregon Timber Trail is an iconic 668-mile backcountry mountain bike route spanning Oregon’s diverse landscapes from the California border to the Columbia River Gorge that consists of more than 50-percent singletrack.
Work developing the trail and route resources has been underway for 18 months and this week the world gets to see the fruits of that labor. The official route is now official and you can download it all here.
The Oregon Timber Trail is a world-class bikepacking destination that runs south to north through a variety of mountain bike trails divided into four unique tiers segmenting the state like a layered cake.
The trail can be sliced into as large a piece of that cake as desired; the route and terrain is suitable for a wide range of intermediate to advanced cyclists. The Oregon Timber Trail is inspired by the Pacific Crest Trail and other hiking trails in the National Scenic Trail system, but what sets it apart is that it’s designed with mountain biking in mind.
Riders depart from the California border, just outside of Lakeview, the highest town in Oregon. Within the first ten miles, riders will crest 8000 and view the ride north. Ahead, the Fremont Tier is 190+ miles long, followed by the Willamette Tier at 140+ miles, then the 110+ mile Deschutes Tier, and finally the Hood Tier at 200+ miles. Dip your tires in the Columbia River, lay in the grass, and raise a toast to yourself — you just rode a mountain bike across the state of Oregon.
- Four unique tiers and landscapes
- Diverse backcountry singletrack
- Alpine lakes and quiet campsites
- Countryside steeped in native legends and settler’s lore
- Old growth groves and vast prairies
- Bubbling trout streams and herds of antelope
- Historic pack routes and rowdy flow trails
- Ghost towns and backwoods diners
- 91% unpaved, 51% singletrack
Ride the route in its entirety for an adventure of a lifetime, or spread it out over a few years riding one tier at a time. The Tier program is an important aspect of the Oregon Timber Trail. While we want the entire 670 miles to be an aspirational goal for riders, the reality for most riders is shorter tiered options without the need for a long vehicle shuttle or extended time away from work and family.
The Oregon Timber Trail aptly starts in the middle of nowhere on the California border. You’ll leave Oregon’s highest town and traverse the 150 mile Fremont National Recreation Trail. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views from Winter Rim, a feast at the legendary Cowboy Dinner Tree, and have the opportunity to stay at a number of primitive fire lookouts.
The Willamette Tier is markedly different from the Fremont Tier. The dry deserts, sparse ponderosa forests and wide open rangeland give way to dark, verdant, and loamy forests as soon as you crest the Cascade Range. You’ll follow feeder streams and springs of the Willamette River’s Middle Fork for much of this tier, putting your water scarcity worries at ease—at least for now.
The Deschutes Tier takes you back over to the dry, volcanic eastern flank of the Cascade Range. Bend is famous for its large network of world-class mountain bike trails and the Oregon Timber Trail takes advantage of them as it leaves Waldo Lake and winds its way through the Cascade Lakes region and around Mt. Bachelor.
As you head into the Hood Tier you may think you’re on the final stretch—that is if you haven’t looked at the elevation profile. The Hood Tier takes you up and down, across countless backcountry ridges and streams, first teasing you with imposing views of Mount Jefferson and eventually Mount Hood itself. The Old Cascade Crest is steep and rewarding, eventually dropping you near Detroit Lake and up to Olallie Lakes through the Breitenbush Hot Springs valley.
More About the Oregon Timber Trail Association
Dedicated to stewardship, education, community, and quality trail experiences throughout the Oregon Timber Trail corridor. The OTTA represents the interests of the past, present, and future users of the Oregon Timber Trail. The OTTA Board of Directors is comprised of mountain bikers, environmental stewards, and bicycle industry leaders drawn from across the state of Oregon with the objectives and purposes of developing, promoting, and maintaining a singletrack bicycle route and associated network through the Cascade Mountain Range from the California border to the Columbia River; encouraging sustainable cycling-related economic development in the rural communities along the Oregon Timber Trail; and supporting the land management agencies and private landowners who manage/own lands through which the Oregon Timber Trail passes.
Start planning your OTT adventure at https://oregontimbertrail.org.