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.
Salmon Creek Trail
Distance: 7 miles / 11.2 kilometers
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.
Distance: 8.6 miles / 13.8 kilometers
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.
Dead Mountain & Larison Rock Trails
Distance: 9 miles / 14.4 kilometers
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.
Distance: 13.8 miles / 22.2 kilometers
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.
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 Loop
Distance: 21 miles / 33.7 kilometers
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.
McKenzie River Trail
Distance: 25 miles / 40.2 kilometers
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.
Where to gear up
- Cascades Outdoor Center at the Westfir Lodge & Mountain Market: 47365 1st St, Westfir, OR 97492
- Trans Cascadia Excursions: 47419 Westoak Road, Westfir, OR 97492
- Cog Wild shuttles: 48241 E 1st Street, Oakridge, OR 97463
- Oregon Adventures shuttles: 47929 OR-58, Oakridge, OR 97463
- Oakridge Bike Shop and Willamette Mountain Mercantile: 48080 OR-58, Oakridge, OR 97463
Mark your calendar
- Mountain Bike Oregon all-inclusive three-day mountain bike festival with shuttles, food and beer