Up to 10 times a week in the summer, Bill and Sue Roussel load a van full of mountain bikers and gear into their shuttles, drive up to the Mount Ashland Ski Lodge and let riders navigate down 5,000 feet of fast, flowing singletrack.

Depending on the route, the ride can stretch up to three hours — 13 to 25 miles — of swoopy trails under canopies with pine needles and embedded rock.

“It’s some of the most fun trails there are on the West Coast,” says Bill, co-owner of Ashland Mountain Adventures, the only licensed guide and shuttle business in town.

Ashland has become known as a hot spot for mountain biking, with a world-class spiderweb of trails that appeal to intermediate and advanced riders because of their vertical descent and challenging terrain. Many use bells so as not to surprise hikers, but a new system of dedicated mountain bike trails will soon be built.

That’s not to say beginners aren’t welcome. Ashland Mountain Adventures sees plenty of curious newbies, setting them up with gear and tutorials before they set off on one of the easier fire lane trails, which also have great views.

(The upper trails should be free of snow and accessible by Memorial Day, but call Ashland Mountain Adventures to check for current conditions.)

As the season kicks off this month, many are getting psyched for the Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival, one of the state’s largest and oldest mountain bike events. Now in its 25th year, it’s set for May 21-22, 2016 in Ashland.

Visitors can gear up with a rental at Ashland Mountain Adventures or many other shops including Bear Creek BicycleAshland Bicycle WorksSiskiyou Cyclery and Get ‘N Gear.

Of course the trails are just part of the reason mountain bikers have been flocking to the region. Caldera Brewing and Standing Stone Brewery are favorite places to fuel up, and any of the hundred wineries in the region are a relaxing place to unwind.

For bike adventure inspiration, maps and more, check out RideOregonRide for the latest info.

about author Jen Anderson

Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters and other online content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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