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North Crater Trail / Crater Trail Loop Professional Review and Guide
"This is a moderately difficult 21-mile loop near Diamond Lake. The circuit follows trails and roads that are in mostly good condition. North Crater Trail is a single-track that rolls up and down for several miles. Then it commences an easy to moderately difficult six-mile climb to the North Crater Trailhead. Next the ride follows OR 138 for 1.5 miles. This highway leads to an abandoned fire road known as Crater Trail. Crater Trail includes a pleasant four-mile descent, several miles of easy riding, and some short, moderately difficult climbs. North Crater Trail travels through a forest of fir and lodgepole pine, and passes a few open meadows with good wildflowers in the spring. The ride begins at the Howlock Mountain Trailhead, near Diamond Lake Resort. Diamond Lake lies within the Umpqua National Forest, just north of Crater Lake National Park on OR 138."
--Laurie & Chris Leman, Mountain Bike! Oregon (Menasha Ridge Press).
We only took the first five miles of North Crater Trail, then took a short section of Hwy. 230 and Hwy. 138 to pick up the last five miles on Crater Trail 1457, making this a nice approximately 10 mile loop. The first three or so miles was a fun singletrack that undulated through pretty pine forest. There were some challenging sections of roots and rocks, often combined with steep uphills, and a few sections that may have been cut in deeply by horse hooves. But overall we enjoyed it a lot. The last one or two miles of singletrack was much smoother and less technical riding. The ride back on the doubletrack Crater Trail 1457 was a fun, smooth, fast rollercoaster ride.
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