: Dylan VanWeelden

Oakridge is Your Next Mountain Bike Destination

March 6, 2020 (Updated February 16, 2021)

You don’t have to be a mountain biker to like Oakridge — but kudos if you are. The town, known as the mountain-biking capital of the Pacific Northwest, sits at the western foot of the Cascades where hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails weave through the heart of the Willamette National Forest. Oakridge is one of only six cities in the world designated by IMBA as a gold-level “Ride Center.” See what all the buzz is about on these favorite rides.

Oregon Timber Trail by Gabriel Amadeus Tiller

Salmon Creek Trail

Distance: 7 miles / 11.2 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate

On the mellower side, the 7-mile/11.2-kilometer Salmon Creek trail starts just a mile from downtown and has under 500 feet/152 meters of climbing, though sections of root and rock will keep you on your toes.

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Alpine Slide by Dylan VanWeelden

Alpine Trail

Distance: 8.6 miles / 13.8 kilometers
Difficulty: Challenging

Oakridge’s original thrill ride, the Alpine trail begins with a big climb before a joyous 4,500-feet / 1,371.6-meter descent past stunning Cascade mountain vistas. Some riders get to the top via fire roads; others take the daily shuttle.

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Dead Mountain & Larison Rock by Dylan VanWeelden

Dead Mountain & Larison Rock Trails

Distance: 9 miles / 14.4 kilometers
Difficulty: Challenging

Larison Rock, one of the original Oakridge rides, and the newer Dead Mountain trail combine for one awesome route. Take a shuttle to the summits and enjoy a combined 6,000 feet / 1,828.8 meters of descent from basalt formations through dense forest.

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Lawler-Hardesty by Dylan VanWeelden

Lawler-Hardesty Doubleheader

Distance: 13.8 miles / 22.2 kilometers
Difficulty: Challenging

A double-shuttle run can get you having fun on these two rides on the same day, with side trips that offer stellar backcountry views. The gravity-induced thrill rides feature a variety of terrain and rewarding climbs.

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Oakridge by Dylan VanWeelden

Keep on riding

There are more exciting mountain bike trails to be found north of Oakridge in the Willamette National Forest. When you’re ready for two more trails, set your compass to Waldo Lake and the McKenzie River.

Waldo Lake by Chris Bernhardt

Waldo Lake Loop

Distance: 21 miles / 33.7 kilometers
Difficulty: Challenging

One of Oregon’s three IMBA Epic Rides, Waldo Lake Loop circumnavigates a pristine Cascade lake with plenty of miles of buff single-track yet not a lot of elevation change.

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McKenzie River Trail by Dylan VanWeelden

McKenzie River Trail

Distance: 25 miles / 40.2 kilometers
Difficulty: Extreme

The McKenzie River Trail (MRT) offers the quintessential Oregon trail-riding experience with technical challenges and forest gliding⁠ ⁠— along waterfalls, log bridges, lakes and old-growth trees.

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