Oregon Trip Report: Shuttle Time

Day 2: Middle Fork of the Willamette

Length: 52.6 km

Grunting Up: 489 M

Grinning Down: 1,562 M

Click for trail details

Our second day in Oakridge started with a trip to the local mountain bike shuttle company, Oregon Adventures.  We had big plans for the day: a long ride along the middle fork of the Willamette River… and rather than spending precious riding time on dusty logging roads, or limiting the amount of trail we could see by doing an out-and-back, we decided to lay down some dough and get a lift up in an old VW van.

The decision was a good one, if just for the fact that we got to meet Randy Dreiling.  Randy owns Oregon Adventures and as we drove up to the start, he filled us with tonnes of local knowledge.  He is also the organizer of Mountain Bike Oregon, “the ultimate mt. biker’s dream getaway and community party, complete with meals, shuttles, an expo of bike companies, demo bikes, contest and a free nightly beer garden” that is held on two separate weekends over the summer (one in July, one in August).  Randy also happens to be Executive Director of the Oakridge Chamber of Commerce, and an Oakridge city councilor.

Anyway, on with the ride… Randy dropped us off at Timpanogas Lake and recommended we do a short out and back to Indigo Lake, before heading off down the middle fork trail: “The lake is nice, and the decent back down is fun as hell”.  Good advice.

Indigo Lake

From Indigo Lake and continuing onto the middle fork trail, we dropped like a stone down 650 M in about 8 km (click on the map above to get the elevation profile).  The first 4 km the trail was smooth and fast… the next 4 not so much as the trail twisted around tight switchbacks.

For the remainder of the ride we descended at an average of 16 M per kilometer, never leaving the side of the river for very long.  The rolling decent was interrupted twice as the river and trail dropped into tight canyon sections which required some hike-a-bike down and back up some steep slopes.

Big trees

Besides the canyon sections, the trail rolled through a massive diversity of different terrain — huge old growth Hemlock and Ponderosa Pine stands, a few open and dry meadows, and a section that burned in a forest fire last summer.

Forest fire section

After 50 km of single track we needed beer desperately, and headed to the Brewers Union Local 180 for some food and delicious suds.  Luckily, no one was on strike.

Beer, burgers and bike magazines... what more could you ask for?

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2 responses to “Oregon Trip Report: Shuttle Time

  1. Yeah! That totally sounds like fun. Even the shuttle sounds like it was pretty interesting. I lived in Umpqua Forest when I was down there. Plenty of riding out there, and lots of climbing. Did you notice that a lot of the logging roads are paved? A sign of better economic times, but it makes for some pretty challenging road rides–but who cares you brought your mountain bikes!! Another thing i remember from my time there was that the closer you get to California, the more “interesting” the people were.

  2. Yeah, I couldn’t believe the paved logging roads… definitely a sign of better times. The whole time we were there we didn’t see a single logging truck. Those and the crazy “scenic by-way” roads all over the place would definitely make for some good road riding… but apparently the coast is best for that (you and Shari could probably attest to that).

    I talked to a guy our last day from Park City, Utah who asked if we had ridden the North Umpqua River Trail – said it was one of the best in the country. Too bad you weren’t mountain biking when you were down there.

    As for the “interesting” factor… seemed pretty consistent state wide (though we didn’t get too far south). Portland definitely lives up to the “keep Portland weird” motto.

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