Since 1992, hikers have been able to traverse Oregon north to south using the Pacific Crest Trail, which traces the Cascades from the Bridge of the Gods to the California state line. This summer, you can finally bike across the state, from Hood River to the mines of Modoc County, Calif.
The state's biggest bike route is called the Oregon Timber Trail, and it's a collaboration of Travel Oregon, the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, and outdoorsy trip planners Limberlost. They're taking 650 miles of already-extant trails and combining them into a massive, state-spanning single-track mountain bike trail.
"We have the Pacific Crest Trail, which is amazing and aspirational," says Harry Dalgaard, one of the leaders behind the project at Travel Oregon. "But we realize there's a significant dearth of long-distance mountain-biking opportunities in Oregon. We started looking at this route, and we realized that the [Southern Oregon] Fremont National Recreation Trail is over 100 miles long. How can we link that with other trail systems to provide this cool, iconic single-track experience? We started looking at other national forests, and stumbled upon a route that was 650 miles long in five national forests."
The route is 55 percent single-track mountain bike trail. The balance is unpaved Forest Service and backcountry gravel roads.
The trail is split into four sections—from south to north: Fremont, Willamette, Deschutes and Hood—each of which shows off a different slice of Oregon wilderness. The route winds its way through Ponderosa pine forests, salt lakes, Cascadian rain forest, mountains ranges and cinder cones. However, it is also designed to veer close to popular Oregon hot spots like tourist town Oakridge, middle-of-nowhere giant steak and whole-chicken spot Cowboy Dinner Tree, and the brand-new Suttle Lodge from the people behind Ace Hotels.
Completing the entire track is no small feat, with a suggested trail time between 10 and 25 days. "If you're doing the whole trail, you'd need to be an expert with experienced backpacking," says Dalgaard. "But to do the Deschutes tier, you could be a relatively novice backpacker. If you wanted to cut your teeth, it's a great place to explore and have a good time."
Dalgaard is waiting for a letter of support from the U.S. Forest Service before officially debuting the Oregon Timber Trail, with an estimated launch in April. If you want to start planning a trip, go ahead: All trails exist and are legal for mountain biking. "It's amazing that Oregon has all of these trails on the ground already," says Dalgaard. "What we were able to do is take this global perspective of Oregon, look outside forest boundaries, and link these trail systems together."
Welcome to Reasons to Love Portland 2017
1. Portland Is Telling Donald Trump That He Won't Get Away With This
2. We're Rich! Portland Has The Nation's Fastest Growing GDP
3. Here's How Far Portlanders Have Ridden in the First Six Months of BikeTown
4. We're Very Happy That Portland Bartenders Can Finally Drink on The Job.
5. When the Snow Hit, Portlanders Saved Lives By Volunteering at Homeless Shelters
6. At Long Last, Portland Has The Kinky Coffee Shop It's Needed
7. A Selected List of All Portland's Recent Number 1 Rankings
8. Move Over PCT: You'll Soon Be Able to Mountain Bike From Washington to California
9. Oregon Has The Nation's Cheapest Weed. Thank God.
10. This is the Best Ski Season Mount Hood Has Had Since Obama Was a Senator
11. Nobody Snowdays Harder Than Portland
12. Portland Finally Has Architecture Worth Arguing About
13. Check Out This Crazy New Recording Studio in a Former Library in Deep Southeast
14. Weed Delivery Will Begin in Portland Any Day Now
15. In Portland, You Never, Ever Need To Call Domino's
16. Portland Is Home to the Most Liberal College in America. No, Not That One.
17. There's A Forgotten Wonder In Oregon City. It'll Soon Be Revealed
18. Portland's Blazers Bootleg T-Shirts Are Lit
19. Portland is Metal AF
20. ILOVEMAKONNEN Moved To Portland. No, For Real
21. Sorry, Donald, We Won't Help You Deport Our Neighbors.
22. Portland Now Has a Patriarchy-Free Social Club and Workspace
23. Oregon is the New Truffle King of the World
24. Check Out These Photos of the Winter Light Festival
25. In Portland, You Can See Every Movie Nominated For an Oscar in the Theater
26. Portland Art Museum is Tapping into the Legacy of Arguably Oregon's Greatest Artist
27. Yes, Portland Has More Pinball Machines Than New York and Los Angeles
28. Portland Has Vegan Everything. A Selected List.
29. In Portland, Dive Bars Never Really Die