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Mountain Bike! Oregon
by Laurie & Chris Leman (Menasha Ridge Press)
Most of this trails' elevation gain is in the last few miles. Beginners can enjoy the lower reaches of the trail. Intermediate bikers can test their abilities with climbs and technical terrain encountered farther along. Experts can pedal, and push, their bikes to the top then turn around and return for a 12 mile out-and-back. A longer option involves following paved and gravel roads to the top of Larison Creek Trail, then descending on the single-track to close the loop. The lower section rolls up and down, paralleling Larison Creek and traveling below a canopy of young firs, cedars, and maples. This is a fun, but very technical single-track. Hanging moss, stands of old-growth timber, and the bubbling of Larison Creek combine to give this place an enchanted feel. The steeper section includes areas loose with gravel and sand. Watch out for these hazards. If you choose the loop option the paved and gravel roads are in fair condition and include some moderately difficult to steep climbing. This ride begins near the Hills Creek Reservoir, approximately 6 miles south of Oakridge.
If you take the steep 8 mile out-and-back leave your skinny-legged friends at home, this single-track rises very steeply from the get-go. Several stretches require pushing your bike. The 11.5 loop is less difficult. Parts of the trail are narrow and steep with rocks and roots protruding. Tight switchbacks keep you on your toes, be careful not to lock your brakes. A scramble up Larison Rock puts you in the catbird seat-stretching out below you is a beautiful landscape. The ride starts near Oakridge, approximately 40 miles east of Eugene.
First of all, I’m a local. If you know the Oakridge Mountain Biking Trails, you must think that I’m boasting. I only say this to give my reader a point of view.
The Larison Creek Trail is one of many local’s favorite trails. I have heard several people recommend it to nomadic riders. The trail’s attraction is wide and the variety is well mixed. Here is one rider’s modus operandi.
My preference is to ride the 2102 Larison Rock Rd up to the trail head and enjoy the impressive mountain views and numerous animal encounters along the way. The picturesque south-easterly facing slopes and gradual accent are a great way to spend the first hour of the ride before the workout begins. Yes, the down hill part of this ride will get your heart pumping and strength challenged. In short, the Larison Creek Trail has a little bit of everything for the intermediate/advanced rider to like.
We rode this trail on the MBO weekend. It is a nice loop with a good grind up the road/fire road and a 6-mile single-track. Disregard the map in the guidebook, as it is misleading. If you ride this as a loop, when you leave the pavement and get on the fire road it is 8 miles to the start of the single track. You actually cross over Larison Creek before you get to the single track. The single track begins ~1-mile after you cross Larison Creek. We had a bit of confusion as the map makes it look like you start the single track before you get to the creek. The upper part of the single track is challenging with many switchbacks. The remainder of the trail is rolling and has great views of the lake. We rode from Oakridge for about a 28-mile loop. It was a great ride, and the fire road has some good views.
This is a typical Oakridge area ride with an ascent on a forest road, which I believe has been paved recently. The descent is a smooth, fast singletrack delight that passes by the rock outcrop, and zigzags down the mountain through Douglas Fir rainforest.
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