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.
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.
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.
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.
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.