This week, I traveled to Polk County to discover a little piece of cycling heaven for mountain bike riders called Black Rock Mountain. Located across 500 acres of Oregon State Forest at Black Rock Mountain in Polk County, this little piece of cycling heaven that offers “free rider” a true test of the stamina, not to mention a complete adrenalin rush!
Some of the runs at Black Rock are so steep that riders can reach speeds of 40 mile per hour, so each rider covers up from head to toe with plastic and neoprene rubber protection that they call “armor.” The bikes that they ride are specially designed to take punishing workouts across the forest – aluminum framed bikes with heavy-duty front and rear air shocks and disc brakes are common and the bikes can reach $5,000 or more.
What’s unique about Black Rock Mountain is that the trail system was created by a unique partnership between local government and riders and is the first “mountain bike only” area approved by the Oregon Department of Forestry. In addition, the entire trail system is maintained and operated by a volunteer organization, the Black Rock Mountain Bike Association (BRMBA). The seven year old organization has 1500 members and started Black Rock with the dream of “…getting people off the couch and out in the forest.”
From trail design to maintenance, BRMBA members are involved in the entire process of the project. It all begins with designing the features that riders seek at Black Rock; features that include ramps, jumps and berms – that are approved by the Oregon Department of Forestry and then built by the club members. The trail designers can also name the varied projects and include such imaginative names like “Sunday Stroll,” “Grannie’s Kitchen” and “Bonzai Downhill.”
The runs and the stunts have been designed and built with the approval of Oregon Department of Forestry under the “Adopt A Trail” program and volunteers make sure that the impact on the forest is minimal.
Whether catching big air or enjoying the freedom that comes from speeding down a forest trail on two wheels, the riders agree that there’s something for every level of experience at Black Rock Mountain.
Other Trails to Explore:
Adventure of a different sort waits for bike riders who visit Stub Stewart State Park in Washington County.
In fact, new construction on “free ride” trails with features similar to those you will find at Black Rock are currently under construction at Stewart – in addition to the 17 miles of hiking and biking trails that already exist. Look for completion of the new “mountain bike only” trails later this Fall.
Don’t forget to check out our new bike site, Ride Oregon either! It’s a wonderful resource – a bike riding clearing house of sorts – that can put you on the right track to other mountain bike trails across the state.
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network