One of the many rewards of a weekend at Mountain Bike Oregon is the endless view.
At the nightly sign-in, enthusiastic riders survey the next day's trail options.
Majestic trees and perfect trails are a common sight at Mountain Bike Oregon.
Considering the inspiring nature of the rides, it's no surprise many riders want to capture the experience for those winter days when a dose of inspiration is needed!
Long days of riding—not to mention the huge climbs—require plenty of fuel. Trail-side lunch stops (sometimes with a sweeping view) are a welcome rest from the workout
Just another winding, gorgeous singletrack trail.
Guided yoga classes before the ride helps warm up the muscles and relax the brain.
There is a virtually bottomless supply of excellent beer at MBO, from IPA to pilsner to stout, and all from regional producers—not to mention a selection of local wines. Proceed at your own risk.
Summer days in Oakridge can get hot, and the rides sweaty, but swimming holes and rivers provide welcome refuge.
The campground lines the river, but you can pick your favorite spot—be it a mere stumble from the beer garden, or a little more secluded.
The local bike shop, Willamette Mountain Mercantile, stocks a very different inventory than the Mercantile of the town's past.
Post ride beers at the local brewpub are a perfect way to finish a long day's ride.
Ride or no ride, any time is a good time for pie.
A misty morning vista out over the Cascade foothills.

All sports have a Mecca of some kind, a place hardcore fans or participants yearn to visit, either to bask in the glory of events past or to create historic good times of their own. Alpinists have Chamonix. Scuba divers have the Caribbean. For years, mountain bikers had Moab, Utah. But recently, a new destination is vying for the crown of singletrack nirvana: Oakridge, Oregon. Located 40 miles east of Eugene, in the foothills of the Cascade mountain range, Oakridge has been quietly building a reputation as one of North America’s finest places to ride bikes off-road. Tremendous mountain views, a wealth of trails of all difficulty levels and just enough access to things like food, shelter and beer have combined to put this former timber town firmly on the map for mountain bikers of all abilities.

A big part of the area’s rise to recognition comes thanks to Mt. Bike Oregon (MBO), a three-day event that happens twice a summer, combining all the adrenaline-stoking riding you can fit in, plenty of good food, excellent company and quite a bit of the Northwest’s rightfully famous microbrews. Organized enough to run smoothly and provide shuttle access to the area’s best singletrack trails, casual enough to feel like a big camping party and welcoming to riders across a broad range of experience, MBO is a trail rider’s dream come true. Founder and organizer Randy Dreiling started the event in 2005 to showcase the area’s trails, as well as bring some new economic blood to the area. Dreiling, who has become one of Oakridge’s biggest advocates, also owns Oregon Adventures, a professional guiding service that caters to riders looking to get the local scoop on the best trails.

MBO has a refreshingly simple schedule: eat, ride, drink beer, sleep, repeat. Each night, sign-up sheets for the shuttle buses are put out for the next day’s rides, and there’s a mad scramble to sign up for popular trails like Alpine and Middle Fork. But I’ll let you in on a secret: There are no bad rides. Adrenaline junkies will want to score a slot on The Epic, but every trail in the area boasts incredible views, flowing lines and challenging terrain that stops short of brutal. When the ride is over, you can opt for a hot shower or jump in the river for a brisk camp-side rinse. After you get cleaned up, there’s time to relax, discover the latest in bike tech by visiting the various bike manufacturers who set up demo tents and get ready for dinner. Food here is excellent (Burritos! Pancakes! Awesome coffee!) and plentiful, and the beverages in the beer and wine garden are appealing and free flowing, making for easy conversations and new friends. I ride myself silly all weekend, and am amazed at the wealth of trails, vistas and pure fun I have. “I’ve been riding and racing mountain bikes since I was in college, and this was honestly one of the best weekends of riding I’ve ever had,” my friend Mat Coffey tells me on Sunday afternoon. I can’t argue with his assessment.

The trails and the instant community are the real stars of MBO, but they couldn’t exist without the town of Oakridge. For years Oakridge was a thriving timber area, but when mills closed due to the industry’s decline in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the town fell on hard times. Now, businesses like Oregon Adventures, bike shop Willamette Mountain Mercantile, the Trailhead Coffeehouse and brewpub Brewers Union Local 180 all cater to the new economic force of mountain bikers, making Oakridge an ideal outdoor destination for two-wheeled trail lovers.

Beyond the organized option of MBO, Oakridge is perfectly suited to those who are either unable to make it on MBO’s dates, or who prefer to create their own itinerary. Lodging options include the Oakridge Motel and the new Oakridge Hostel, or you can pitch a tent by the river at the Salmon Creek campground. The knowledgeable and friendly folks at Willamette Mountain Mercantile can help you sort out trail options, or you can enlist Oregon Adventures to guide you for the day (or multiple days), including shuttles to and from the trailheads. A build-your-own mountain bike adventure is as close as a couple of phone calls, a little time off and bike tune-up. What are you waiting for?

about author Otis Rubottom

Otis Rubottom has been riding, and writing, in Oregon for over 12 years. He authored Rubber to the Road, Vol. II, a book of Portland bike rides, and contributes to various publications both online and print. He's looking forward to helping enthusiastic riders discover more of Oregon's roads, trails, and the stuff in between.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Alex. Ramngen says…

    i am new to Oregon. i live in Gresham. is there any event like the one shown above at the portland area, or around the Gresham area. i dont know my way around, yet. and i cant wait to get back on my bike. other than my question, everything i see is just out of this world. i cant wait to get out and experience Oregon.

    Written on April 30th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
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