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.)
Save the date for the Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival, one of the state’s largest and oldest mountain bike events, set for May 19-20, 2018 in Ashland.
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.