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Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest & Central Oregon
by Lizann Dunegan (Falcon Guides)
Winding along the crystal-clear, fast-flowing McKenzie River, this classic singletrack trail twists its way through a forested ecosystem characterized by majestic stands of old-growth Douglas fir and a mix of younger trees with a spongy forest floor carpeted in green, glowing ferns and moss-coated logs. The trail is well maintained and full of bridges, stream crossings, waterfalls, and fast twisty sections. If you love to ride forever on singletrack, this trail is sure to please. Trail surface: Singletrack, doubletrack, and bridges.
leaving from paradise campground the trail was smooth and packed with some random roots and rocks to keep you on your toes. hills were short and rolling. nothing very technical, until lava fields. the beginning of the lava was kind of fun. a chance to work on technical skills but that wears out quickly. most of the last several miles is pretty much unridable and it's a long hike-a-bike out. the ride down 126 back to paradise is all downhill but still a workout. i would suggest turning around at the dam and making it an out-and-back and keeping it on the dirt.
Just because this trail trends downhill doesn't mean it's an easy coast. It was great!! Rode late Sept. on a sunny Saturday and had very little traffic of other users (most around the spectacular Blue Pool). We decided to go right around Clear Lake rather than through the lava beds to the left. Easily saved an hour beyond our five hour start to finish. There's enough lava rock near blue pool to keep you honest and acquire the mandatory ruined equipment (ripped sidewall out of $50 UST tire) and endo bruises. Very Fun! Be warned, the very funnest part of the trail (last 7 miles) is also the part where you are tired and sore from the previous 20 miles. It was hard to enjoy as my neck and wrists were starting to hurt. Overall, however, this was a great trail worthy of the accolades and effort it took to get there.
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