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  1. #1
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    1st Trip to Portland & Mt. Hood Area - Advice?

    Visiting Portland area for the 1st time on June 18th - 23rd. Going to a wedding in Parkdale on the 21st, I'm flying up solo ahead of my wife so I can have a mini vacation of riding and trying new breweries before the wedding. Aiming to ride in the Mt. Hood area but no set plans at all.

    I'm guna be landing at PDX around 9am on Wednesday and have basically an open schedule from then until 10pm on Friday night when my wife lands.

    So...if you were a cycling enthusiast / beer addict rolling solo in Portland area for 48 hrs, what would you do?

    I'll need to rent bikes (thinking 2 days of MTB and then road ride in Columbia Gorge on Friday)

    Bonus point if you know someone local to the area who wants to play trail guide and will take payment in beer.

  2. #2
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    The best mountain bike riding is out of town. Head to Sandy Ridge, towards Mt Hood. Great trail system. Just up accross Hwy 35 from Parkdale is a great network of trails - Surveyors Ridge, Knebal Springs, 8-Mile, etc. North of Parkdale is Hood River with several good trail systems as well.

    Fat Tire Farm in NW Portland for rental. May be other shops in Hood River that rent also.

    I will be out of town a few hours south riding the McKenzie River Trail and others in that area so can't offer a guide service.

    Enjoy the beer and biking in Portland!

  3. #3
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    I can give you lots of beer recs for Portland or Hood River depending on what you like. Haven't ridden in Hood River so no help there. I hear there's good stuff though.

  4. #4
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    Put Mount St. Helens on your short list. It's an IMBA epic, although you'll need a guide--or GPX--to do the whole loop. Even if you did an out-n-back to the Plains of Abraham area, you'd be stoked.

    https://www.imba.com/epics/plains-abraham

    However, that does involve a bit of driving. If you don't have the time, then Sandy Ridge and Post Canyon are both excellent.
    Why?

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    I can give you lots of beer recs for Portland or Hood River depending on what you like. Haven't ridden in Hood River so no help there. I hear there's good stuff though.
    I've definitely undergone a major lupulin threshold shift in the last 3 or 4 years, so I have a strong preference for big hoppy brews (simcoe, amarillo, citra are some of my favorite hop varieties). I'm always up for trying new stuff and really appreciate a big selection of brews to choose from. Definitely not a big fan of belgian style ales tho or any barrel aged stuff.

    I've looked at brewery maps for the Portland area, sooo many options, I know I can't make it to them all in 3 days and still be sober enough to get in some good rides, so it'd be great to know which breweries/pubs I should prioritize.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    Put Mount St. Helens on your short list. It's an IMBA epic, although you'll need a guide--or GPX--to do the whole loop. Even if you did an out-n-back to the Plains of Abraham area, you'd be stoked.

    https://www.imba.com/epics/plains-abraham

    However, that does involve a bit of driving. If you don't have the time, then Sandy Ridge and Post Canyon are both excellent.
    I'm thinking I'll probably be just staying in the Portland + Mt. Hood areas, since it's my 1st trip up there I'm pretty sure I want to try and get the most time with the brews/trails and minimize driving.

    I've called a few shops in the area about rentals, trails, etc and looked at some maps of the area....definitely planning on surveyors ridge, post canyon, etc.

    Thanks for all the input!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrieRider View Post
    Definitely not a big fan of belgian style ales tho or any barrel aged stuff.
    Well, that's a bummer because 3 of the best breweries in PDX specialize in Belgian/Wild/Barrel Aged stuff. If you're looking for hops I would try to find some beers from Boneyard wherever you go. They are out of Bend but I think they distribute throughout OR. Maybe give Double Mountain a try in Hood River as well. I've heard decent things about them but haven't been. I would suggest throwing up a post in the beer forum as well. A lot of OR people in there that could help you out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    Put Mount St. Helens on your short list. It's an IMBA epic, although you'll need a guide--or GPX--to do the whole loop. Even if you did an out-n-back to the Plains of Abraham area, you'd be stoked.

    https://www.imba.com/epics/plains-abraham
    I'd recommend that too, but the OP should know that it can be a very dry ride especially in the summer. It's hot, it's exposed, it's at high enough elevation to make a difference, and there are no sources of drinking water along the way. The people I've rode with can go through 2 liters of water or more just doing an out and back on Ape Canyon and the Plains of Abraham.

    The nearby (by local standards) Lewis River trail is also worthwhile. You don't get the same epic scenery or unique sense of place as you do at Ape Canyon, but I think the riding is better. It's best done as a shuttle run in the downstream direction. Strong riders who want to do an out-and-back should start at the bottom end. Drinking water is available at Lower Falls campground, about 10 miles from the bottom. There is a significant amount of climbing in both directions.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRandomRider View Post
    I'd recommend that too, but the OP should know that it can be a very dry ride especially in the summer. It's hot, it's exposed, it's at high enough elevation to make a difference, and there are no sources of drinking water along the way. The people I've rode with can go through 2 liters of water or more just doing an out and back on Ape Canyon and the Plains of Abraham.

    The nearby (by local standards) Lewis River trail is also worthwhile. You don't get the same epic scenery or unique sense of place as you do at Ape Canyon, but I think the riding is better. It's best done as a shuttle run in the downstream direction. Strong riders who want to do an out-and-back should start at the bottom end. Drinking water is available at Lower Falls campground, about 10 miles from the bottom. There is a significant amount of climbing in both directions.
    I stumbled upon this thread while reading up on NorCal for my upcoming vacation out west.

    I lived in Hood River for two years and have ridden most of the trails out there. XC, AM, DH.

    There are a lot of very unique, diverse riding areas. Contrary to popular belief, you probably won't get rained on while there. It will probably be bone dry and 90 degrees or more, too. Both summers I was there, I could count the number of times it rained on one hand. From May to September, the faucet turns off.

    Mt. Hood NF: Due south of Hood River on Rte 35. Turn left on NF-44. Any shop in town will be able to tell you about it. XC, occasionally AM-ish, smooth to steep and rocky, depending on the trail. The higher elevation stuff might have remnants of snow.

    Hood River: Post Canyon. Regularly featured in Decline Magazine. DH, AM, XC trails.

    Hood River: Syncline. Across the river in WA. Fast, rocky, occasionally VERY exposed. Great trail system.

    Hood River: Whoops Trail

    Portland-ish: Sandy Creek. XC to heavy AM.

    WA: Nestor Peak
    WA: Plains of Abraham
    WA: Lewis River Trail (LRT)

    The only place that has drinking water is the LRT, in the campground, as mentioned above. Again, do not confuse OR with cool and wet. It will be very hot, and depending on location, at high altitude, and windy. In Hood River, you can just bomb down to the parking areas and, in case of emergency, bum some water off another rider. The other places could see you in a world of hurt.

  10. #10
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    Good deal, thanks for all the information, sounds like it'll be pretty much the same weather we have here in the Bay Area. Most likely I will be staying in the Portland/Mt. Hood area. Surveyor's Ridge is a trail I have heard a lot about. Just need to figure out the bike rental details and where I'll actually be staying Wednesday + Thursday.

    Also, thanks for the tip Carl on throwing up a post in the Beer Forum.

  11. #11
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    Hood River area might be your best option for minimal driving to trail riding opportunity. Plus there's lots of beer. Pretty much anything up the 35 road will satisfy (Surveyors, Knebal, Dog River, etc). Steer clear of Syncline in June unless you like a sea of poison oak, rattle snakes, and moon dust.

    Checkout dirtyfingersbikes.com for the latest trail conditions in the area.

  12. #12
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    Make sure you check conditions before you plan anything out.

    I was in the Mt Hood area in 2012 mid June-ish and most of the stuff on HWY 35 near Mt Hood was snowed in and/or lots of tree fall. Post Canyon was also not really riding at the time due to lots of tree fall from wind storms.

    Mt St Helens plains of abraham was still snowed in however it was still sweet riding up to the snow pack.

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