There’s a place on Oregon’s South Coast where you can ride through a coastal forest on ribbons of clay dirt, with moderate climbs and gentle descents. The tree canopy shelters you from rain, and the 32 miles of trails offers views of the ocean and stunning coastline.
Whether you’re new to mountain biking or love to shred the likes of Oakridge, Sandy Ridge and other Oregon hot spots, the Whiskey Run Mountain Bike Trail is calling. The trail opened in June 2018 to two-wheeled adventurers of all skill levels, including 24 green (beginner) trails, 18 blue (intermediate) trails and 14 black (advanced) or double-black trails.
In all, you’ll find 7,293 feet of descent and 586 feet of vertical, with the highest trailhead at 586 feet.
It’s the first — and so far only — trail system of its kind on the South Coast.
Currently, the trail is shared with hikers. Volunteers join in trail work parties every Wednesday evening. And Cribbins is thrilled to be getting unsolicited emails every few weeks from locals thanking her for the new trail system — another way to enjoy their outdoors in addition to fishing, camping, hunting, bird watching and playing on the beach.
“It’s a beautiful location,” says Melissa Cribbins, the Coos County Commissioner who helped spearhead the project and lead it through its community-based design, funding, planning and professionally built construction. The county-owned forest connects to Whiskey Run Beach, 10 miles north of Bandon, from which it takes its name. “Trees grow really fast on the Coast,” Cribbins says. “You get that whole different look as the forest changes.”
Since its kickoff in 2018, the nonprofits Wild Rivers Coast Mountain Biking Association and Wild Rivers Coast Alliance secured funding to expand the trail network to its current level.
Cribbins is a native of the town of Coquille, 18 miles northeast of Bandon, along the Coquille River. She grew up here, moved away for college and law school, then returned in 2007 to raise her family and serve her community, with a focus on public health, sustainable forest management and giving people the opportunity to recreate in the woods.
“Giving kids an opportunity and place to go out and recreate safely in the woods is a win for everyone,” Cribbins says.
If You Go:
- Transportation: You can fly in via the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (OTH) in Coos Bay. The trailhead is 4 hours south of Portland, 4.5 hours from Bend and 2.5 hours from Eugene.
- Facilities: At the trailhead, find parking, a bike repair station, toilets, moderate cellphone reception and picnic tables. Bring your own food; there is no water or electricity.
- Pets: Dogs are allowed on leash by county law, but are not allowed on the jump/flow trails.
- Rentals: No bike? Rent one at the trailhead (or book a guided tour) through Whiskey Run Rentals. Find more rentals nearby at Bandon Bicycle Works or Pineapple Express Adventure Rides.
- Bike sales/services: Find bike sales and service at Moe’s Bike Shop in North Bend, Front Street Community Bike Works in Coos Bay and South Coast Bicycles in Bandon.
- More nearby biking: When you’re done at Whiskey Run, plan a road-bike adventures along the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Byway or a fat-tire bike tour of gorgeous routes like Port Orford to Cape Blanco, Horsefall Beach in North Bend and Face Rock Beach in Bandon. For the least hassle, book a Pedal Paddle Combo or shuttle ride to another nearby trail via the experts at South Coast Tours.
- Dining: Satisfy your appetite along the self-guided Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail, which includes restaurants, breweries, farm stands, seafood markets and more along rugged this rugged stretch of Oregon’s South Coast.
- More ideas: There’s plenty to do besides biking here. Try visiting lighthouses, sampling ice cream and cheese, golfing, surfing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, storm watching and looking for sea lions and whales at scenic viewpoints along the way.