: Gabriel Amadeus Tiller

Ride the North Umpqua Trail

August 28, 2017

Oregon is home to some of the best mountain-biking destinations in the world, and the Umpqua National Forest is no exception. Southern Oregon’s 79-mile North Umpqua Trail (The NUT), with its old-growth forest and technical singletrack, is a long-time favorite of Oregonians and visiting mountain bikers — so much so that it’s included on the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s exclusive list of IMBA Epic Rides.

Summer and early fall bring drier, sunnier weather perfect for trail riding. And with its insane river views, mountain vistas and a healthy mix of smooth rollers and technical descents, the NUT is a totally worthy destination. This is what mountain biking was meant to be in its purest form: a place where you can feel one with the terrain and surroundings, surrounded by reminders of Mother Nature’s extreme splendor and enjoying a challenge that’s intensely physical and mental at the same time.

The 79-mile-long trail is made up of 11 segments; the longest, the Tioga segment, is 15.7 miles long, and the 3.5-mile Hot Springs segment is the shortest. Trailheads and campgrounds in several locations along the NUT lend themselves well to day trips as well as longer journeys. You can ride the full distance with a support vehicle or packed gear, or base out-and-back combinations from a single trailhead to your heart’s content.

A few Oregon companies, including Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours, lead mountain bike tours along the NUT with varying levels of support. If you decide to make all your own arrangements, be sure to visit the North Umpqua Trail BLM site for trail and camping maps and lots of segment-specific information.

A few insider tips

We want everyone to have a great experience at the NUT, so we snagged Melanie Fisher, co-owner of Cog Wild and a NUT veteran, for some insider tips. Here’s what she said:

  1. Watch out for poison oak, which can be found along the entire trail. Exceptions usually include the Dread and Terror and Hot Springs segments — but keep your eyes out just in case.
  2. Although most of the trail isn’t expert level, it also isn’t for total beginners. Be aware that there are several sections with steep descents, as well as narrow single-track with serious exposure.
  3. If you’re camping, avoid holidays and busy weekends if you can. Campgrounds can be very popular during the summer months, although the trail is normally empty.
  4. Turn to the locals for shuttle help. There is no set local shuttle service along the NUT, but Lemolo Lake Resort and the store at Dry Creek might be able to help you out.
  5. Be on the lookout for ticks if you go through the bushes.
  6. Don’t expect cell reception along the trail; the North Umpqua area is a great place to disconnect and enjoy nature!
  7. Bring all your supplies with you and get gas before entering Highway 138, as there are few options in the area.

About The

Trip Ideas

  • Hike the North Umpqua Trail

    Summer in Oregon is about exploring. It’s time to get outside and get your boots on the trail. The North Umpqua Trail affords 79 miles of wooded beauty for hiking, camping, horseback riding.
  • Mountain Biking Hot Spots in Southern Oregon

    Southern Oregon is home to multiple excellent mountain biking destinations in the Umpqua and Klamath National Forests. The North Umpqua Trail, designated an Epic Ride by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, is located 12 miles...
  • Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway

    Two of Oregon’s nationally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers lead the way on this 172-mile/277-kilometer route, an ever-changing feast of white water, waterfalls and deep gorges gouged in the deeply forested southern Cascade Mountains.

Ask Oregon

What are the best mountain bike areas in Oregon?

There are SO many places in Oregon to mountain bike, but I’ll try to narrow them down to the BEST. Are you ready? Top 5 recommendations: McKenzie River Trail Oakridge — Alpine Trail Sandy Ridge Trail Surveyors Ridge Tiddlywinks Honorable Mentions: Oakridge — Tire Mountain or Waldo Lake Tyler’s Traverse North Umpqua Trail Black Rock Post…