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  1. #1
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    McKenzie River Trail

    I don't know why I care, but I really want to know if anyone else besides me thinks that the McKenzie River Trail is completely not what it is hyped up to be?

    I want to hear your top reason for why it is, or why its is not. And maybe skill level and what you ride the most. i.e. XC, DH, AM, etc...

    Could turn into a good debate while it is deep under the white stuff...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    I don't know why I care, but I really want to know if anyone else besides me thinks that the McKenzie River Trail is completely not what it is hyped up to be?

    I want to hear your top reason for why it is, or why its is not. And maybe skill level and what you ride the most. i.e. XC, DH, AM, etc...

    Could turn into a good debate while it is deep under the white stuff...
    Depends on the hype you choose to listen to.

    Good trail? Yes.
    Worth traveling to to ride? Yes.
    Best trail in Oregon? Not really.

    Really depends on what you want from a trail.

    I have been on mtbs since 1983. First rode MRT in '84 or '85.
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  3. #3
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    Personally, I like it, but some sections more than others. I tend to ride singlespeed more than anything else and MRT is not a great singlespeed trail, although it works. The lower section (below Trailbridge Res.) is too smooth for a low gear so I find myself spinning out down there. The lava section is great on a singlespeed but if I'm geared correctly there, the bottom section is no fun.

    So actually I like my geared FS best on MRT, and I love to test my skills in the techy stuff and then fly near the bottom, which I refer to as "the rhythm section."

    I look at MRT as what it is... at least to me. I live about an hour away so it's a simply another singletrack resource, not a worldwide destination. There are other trails I like better, but MRT is unique and I love it for what it is.

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  4. #4
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    I rode the MRT for the first time this last fall and it was a fun ride. Camped at Paradise Campground(we were the only one's in there/campground was closing that weekend) and had the wife shuttle me up the highway to the trailhead just above Clear Lake. I rode solo and took the trail around the east shore of Clear Lake. I was riding on a 29er SS and while the trail was relatively tame, it was fun none the less.It is what it is, but it's no NUT or MFW in my opinion.
    Last edited by Tone No Balone; 12-11-2009 at 09:22 PM.

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    I am always curious what the magazines use as their criteria for the top trail in America. Or maybe I am just spoiled and have been to Whistler one too many times...

  6. #6
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    I like the MRT, not every trail is for everybody. I personally don't care for Surveyors Ridge much, but a lot of people rave about it, I still ride it once a year though.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    I like the MRT, not every trail is for everybody. I personally don't care for Surveyors Ridge much, but a lot of people rave about it, I still ride it once a year though.
    I haven't ridden Surveyor's for a couple of years. When it's ripe, I like the higher fruit.

    I try and ride the McKenzie River at least once a year. I first rode the McRT in 1988 on a rigid hardtail and I rode it often. I marveled when I first met someone who had done the whole thing as an out and back. Wow. That seemed huge. 54 miles of singletrack. (And he took LTD public bus from Eugene to McKenzie Bridge.) Cool!

    Having first ridden the McKenzie on a rigid hardtail and later on front suspension I set out to ride the whole thing out and back. What once seemed insurmountable to me became an annual rite. I beat myself up doing that ride on a short-travel hardtail that, even with a suspension seat post, left a mark. It was this trail, this ride that inspired me to step up to a full-suspension (more or less) all mountain rig. Or what I like to call a "McKenzie Bike."

    It's 6 hours round-trip from Portland in the van and takes me about 8 hours on the bike to ride that 54 mile out and back, an acceptable ratio of drive time v ride time. It's worth it to me. As others have said, not the best in Oregon, but it's not designated a National Wild and Scenic River for nothing.
    Last edited by Snake Muesl; 12-13-2009 at 09:58 PM.

  8. #8
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    My 2 cents, any trail that I'm able to ride is a great one!

  9. #9
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    MRT is the Bees Knees.
    MRT can walk on water.
    MRT is your new bicycle.
    MRT is able to leap tall building in a single bound.
    MRT drives a Hybrid.
    MRT had sex with Tiger Woods
    MRT fed the hungry.
    MRT was voted Most Likely to Succeed in High School.
    MRT rides Fixie.
    MRT orchestrated 9/11.
    MRT won an actor for Best Screenplay.
    Yo Sasquatch, Imma let you finish but MRT is the best trail ever!
    MRT Saves.
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  10. #10
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    Hey Snake, the wikipedia link you supplied shows a photo of "Cougar Dam on the McKenzie River." How weird. Cougar Dam is not on the McKenzie River. I've never seen such a glaring mistake on wikipedia.

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  11. #11
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    Ummm, I hate to seem like a "jacka$$", but Cougar dam IS on the south fork of the McKenzie river. The picture is pulled from the Army Corps of Engineers website. and is confirmed by paper maps and google earth.

  12. #12
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    Huh... interesting. Well, this mistake was certainly not MY most glaring! Anyway I've always known that stretch of river as the Roaring River, flowing north from Box Canyon along Aufderheide National Scenic Byway. In fact, here's an excerpt from OregonLive's website of Oregon's ten best cycling routes, wherein they describe that river as Roaring River:

    7) Aufderheide National Scenic Byway
    This section of the West Cascades Scenic Byway between Oakridge and the McKenzie River valley near Rainbow is as bike-friendly as any road in Oregon. It features up-close views of the Willamette National Forest and miles of riding through old-growth trees. ... From Westfir, the road climbs steadily to a 3,600-foot summit at the Box Canyon Camp. The afternoon's reward is a thrilling descent along Roaring River and past Cougar Reservoir. "Aufderheide," by the way, is not the German word for cool bike route. Robert Aufderheide was the Willamette National Forest Supervisor in the 1950s.
    Difficult/6 hours

    Anyway, I stand corrected. Thanks.

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  13. #13
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    CheeseN-Rice...all this fuss for a trail that's 50% mountain bike single-track and 50% wheelchair accessible walking path.

    Brock...

    PS: I'm supposed to add: your experience may vary.
    Are the wheels roundish? Ride it.

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  14. #14
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    It is the best trail in Oregon..............until you ride NUT, or Alpine, or

    It was fun the first two times I rode it, then I only went when friends visited from out of town, as they also read the mags that say it is the best.

    Mentioning Whistler is not fair, it's like having a nice swingset in your backyard, but saying you would rather be at Disneyland .

    Of course, now that I'm in the Rockies, I could through out some good trails for ya

    Now get a job out here Smokie, need someone to ride with again already!

  15. #15
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    I thought it was wierd too, but in my drunken haste did not question the great Wikipedia.

    Turns out it is technically the South Fork of the McKenzie, but still too bad they couldn't come up with a better, more representative photo. Like a mountain biker snaking down through the lava near Tamolitch Falls.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    I don't know why I care, but I really want to know if anyone else besides me thinks that the McKenzie River Trail is completely not what it is hyped up to be?

    I want to hear your top reason for why it is, or why its is not. And maybe skill level and what you ride the most. i.e. XC, DH, AM, etc...

    Could turn into a good debate while it is deep under the white stuff...
    Is any trail what it gets hyped up as in the rags? It's the nature of hype, hype builds on hype.

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    OK I'll bite
    I've ridden that trail countless times, until about three years ago...never during the daylight. Kind of funny to ride something during the day and recognize things from the night. Keep in mind, all those times ridden before......middle of the 80's, rigid of course. Best trail in Oregon? definitely not. But all that hype about it has brought many a rider here to ride and check it out, and traveled around to find other stuff. Surely a must do, once a year depending on the number of out-of-town guests one has, on a geared hard tail. As others have pointed out, it's single track....a lot of it mind you...and it's open for us to ride. YEAH!!
    Don't play into hype...like Brand-one mentioned......lower your expectations and enjoy being able to ride legal open trail.
    Funny you should mention Whistler, my most favorite place to ride for sure!!! Now you know my preference of riding type, but I live in the Willamette Valley so I ride every type.

    Eric

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pintpedaler
    OK I'll bite
    Now you know my preference of riding type...

    Eric
    You haven't ridden an MTB in what, a year though?

    Brock...
    Are the wheels roundish? Ride it.

    Disciples Of Dirt, come ride with us.

  19. #19
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    SHUSSHHH!!
    People don't have to know that! These are forums, riding isn't part of the deal is it? I don't tell people when I ride, it's funny though the number of people that have seen me riding and said sort of that very thing....wow, wasn't sure if you rode or not. Great...now they know. Thanks

    Eric

  20. #20
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    Maybe not the best trail in Oregon, certainly not by itself worth a trip from the other end of the country, but echoing the above I don't need to ride "the best of the best" every time I ride to have a good time. MRT is still a very nice trail along a fantastic river. I don't feel compelled to ride it every year, but I enjoy it when I do ride it.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon
    Is any trail what it gets hyped up as in the rags? It's the nature of hype, hype builds on hype.
    Whistler exceeds the hype, by far. That place is mind boggling.

  22. #22
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    Dope!

    This is exactly what I wanted this thread to turn into. Just a bunch of babble from way too many points of view! I love it.

    First of all, I would love a job in the front range, i would move tomorrow, second of all, WHISTLER IS VERY FAIR!!!!!!! mmmmmmm........ whistler....... Just gave the 303 a bath today!

    But here is my take, the MRT should be designated as the "Best Trail To Look Off Of The Trail" trail... Then it would be exactly right.

    We need more people to chime in, and how about if you could do one trail and one trail only in OR, which would it be?

  23. #23
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    ...how about if you could do one trail and one trail only in OR, which would it be?
    Depends on what you are looking for (same criteria as rating the MRT).

    If a 303 is your favored bike, my choice would not be what you would want.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    Dope!

    This is exactly what I wanted this thread to turn into. Just a bunch of babble from way too many points of view! I love it.

    First of all, I would love a job in the front range, i would move tomorrow, second of all, WHISTLER IS VERY FAIR!!!!!!! mmmmmmm........ whistler....... Just gave the 303 a bath today!

    But here is my take, the MRT should be designated as the "Best Trail To Look Off Of The Trail" trail... Then it would be exactly right.

    We need more people to chime in, and how about if you could do one trail and one trail only in OR, which would it be?
    You sound like a jock.

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    Sorry, that post was replying to a couple people who will know what the nonsense is referring too. So good call on the sounding like a jock.

    The one trail you would ride in regards to your own criteria. Would MRT be anyone's one trail?

    303 is always the favored bike, but its my race bike, I have a trail bike that I ride. I am not comparing MRT to DH trails. This thread was specifically for trail riding...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    Dope!


    We need more people to chime in, and how about if you could do one trail and one trail only in OR, which would it be?

    Freight Train! Oh wait, you said Oregon...

    Knebal springs to 15 Mile Creek and back...
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  27. #27
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    NUT

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    MRT is a good trail but....

    if I am going to drive 3 hours for a ride, I'll go to the Bend area trails.

  29. #29
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  30. #30
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    Love to do that....

    with you Snake if you need company. I've always wanted to do it as an O and B but never have.
    Cheers
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    I like the MRT, not every trail is for everybody. I personally don't care for Surveyors Ridge much, but a lot of people rave about it, I still ride it once a year though.
    What don't you like about Surveyors? Just curious.

  32. #32
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    I have to say that I really enjoyed MRT. What was cool about it to me was that it had a bit of everything. You start in the lava fields by Clear Lake which had the challenge aspect (at least for me), then end up on some awesome flowing single track! But I believe the most astonishing part of MRT is the scenery, not the trail. You have clear lake, blue pool, the Mckenzie, and all the waterfalls right off the trail. In all honesty, I'd rather ride Mary's Peak for the pure thrills of it, but the MRT is good in it's own way.


    (since every post is better with pics)


    Last edited by ORwoodsrider; 12-22-2009 at 11:58 PM.
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  33. #33
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    Well said

    Quote Originally Posted by ORwoodsrider
    I have to say that I really enjoyed MRT. What was cool about it ...
    Personally I think MRT is a great trail. One simply needs to be a well rounded rider to appreciate all of MRT's personalities and enjoy each section to its utmost. Plus, as you said, appreciate fantastic scenery.

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattsavage
    Knebal springs to 15 Mile Creek and back...
    Don't miss Trail 450 as an up and back, or ride up the gravel road to High Prairie, and down 450.

    If I had to pick one trail (system), it'd be the one that I ride to from my house, Post Canyon! We had a couple of awesome frozen weekends earlier this month, but I expect it won't be rideable for a while, now.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hack
    What don't you like about Surveyors? Just curious.
    No reason in particular, I still ride it every year and do enjoy the trail, it's just that it is not on the top of my list and I prefer to ride others before Surveyors.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  36. #36
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    What is Knebal springs to 15 Mile Creek and back, and trail 450? I am in need of some new spots for next spring.

    Has anyone riddin the kings trail? Its called something like that, its near MRT if I remember right. Apparently its really good. I overheard some people talking about it and only got half of the info.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    What is Knebal springs to 15 Mile Creek and back, and trail 450? I am in need of some new spots for next spring.

    Has anyone riddin the kings trail? Its called something like that, its near MRT if I remember right. Apparently its really good. I overheard some people talking about it and only got half of the info.

    These are up off Hwy 35, east of Mt. Hood. They're usually open by May or June... I don't recommend them, though... The dirts too good and there's no bugs.

    As far as "Kings", I'm not sure... There's a Kings Mountain Trail off the Wilson (WRT). Maybe you misunderstood. It's not open to bikes though.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokie496
    What is Knebal springs to 15 Mile Creek and back, and trail 450? I am in need of some new spots for next spring.

    Has anyone riddin the kings trail? Its called something like that, its near MRT if I remember right. Apparently its really good. I overheard some people talking about it and only got half of the info.
    Do you mean King's Castle? If so, It is near Paradise CG on the other side of the highway. It used to be really good but I have heard it is in a bit of disrepair. Maybe the Eugene contingent could chime in.

    I used to hate MRT. I lived in Eugene for 6 years and we would end up doing it every time a beginner or someone's girlfriend came along. It is beautiful and all but it was a constant source of disappointment. I rode it this summer after a 10+ year hiatus and it was really enjoyable. I still remember every inch of it though.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker
    MRT is a good trail but....

    if I am going to drive 3 hours for a ride, I'll go to the Bend area trails.
    Word up, Dawg! If you happen to be in the area, check MRT off your list. Personally I like Umpqua better. During the late summer/ early fall (after all the snow has melted) there is nothing, IMHO, that compares to Bend in the NW. Sure there are 'smaller' bits here and there in the NW you can say are better than Bend but nothing on the same scale and local support. (Yeah that was a plug for COTA).

    Cheers!

  40. #40
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    It's called King-Castle Trail. It goes from King Rd. (across the river from Harbick's Store on Hwy 126) to the top of Castle Rock. One of my favs, though I don't remember getting to it in '09 so I can't speak to its current condition.

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  41. #41
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    Count me among the slightly disappointed with the MRT crowd. Is it a good trail? Absolutely, but its also the least deserving of the hype. I legitimately got bored with the lower section even though I love the idea of just fast pedaling on smooth single track. The best part is the rocks near blue pool, but its also the best place to run into hikers, children, dogs, and other bikers...

    My best recommendation for MRT is to ride it first when you come to Oregon. That way you won't be disappointed after have already ridden Oakridge, the long trails in Bend, and the NUT.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild
    Count me among the slightly disappointed with the MRT crowd. Is it a good trail? Absolutely, but its also the least deserving of the hype. I legitimately got bored with the lower section even though I love the idea of just fast pedaling on smooth single track. The best part is the rocks near blue pool, but its also the best place to run into hikers, children, dogs, and other bikers...

    My best recommendation for MRT is to ride it first when you come to Oregon. That way you won't be disappointed after have already ridden Oakridge, the long trails in Bend, and the NUT.
    My sediments exactly. I haven't ridden MRT since fall of 2003 for that very same reason due to having just as good and often better places to ride with less people on the trails. The trail is scenic and fun in a couple of sections though.
    Ride On!

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    For those of you who haven't ridden the MRT, don't take these posts to mean it isn't a good trail or it isn't fun. It really is! It will just feel disappointing if you ride the better trails in Oregon first. It is also far from the most disappointing for the hype trail I have ridden. That honor goes to the Flume Trail in Tahoe. The books would have you think the Flume Trail is a 13 mile single track with 2500+ of ascending and descending with gorgeous views. Instead, its a 4 mile 2500 foot climb up a lame gravel road followed by 4-5 miles of absolutely dead flat single track (good views, but no ups or downs) with lots of people, followed by 3 miles down a wide gravel road to the car. Probably the most disappointing trail I have ever ridden.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild
    For those of you who haven't ridden the MRT, don't take these posts to mean it isn't a good trail or it isn't fun. It really is! It will just feel disappointing if you ride the better trails in Oregon first..

    Well put, that needed to be thrown in here, the rest of us are just spoiled. I am sure of this because I was getting very bored of riding Bend, its time for some elevation change here... new trails anyone?? Although I love the nice long 4 hour rides that are so easy to go on.

    I need to get up to 15 mile, I am always down for no bugs and some wicked dirt!

    Kings Castle might be a stop on my way to Eugene one of these days next year.


    Its funny how you get bored of riding the same stuff all the time, and when its covered in snow, your dying to get out, hell, I would even ride the lower part of phils just to get a good solid pedal in.

    But how nice was horseridge before the snow! Everyone needs to experience the downhill over the second fence... just pin the entire thing, so fast!

  45. #45
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    I'm a non-local... we rode MRT after 4 days of Waldo Lake/ MBO, it was a good way to extend a cycling weekend but I don't quite get why it's considered a destination trail.

    The following year we rode North Umpqua Trail after MBO... I can understand that being a destination trail. Amazing views, amazing trail, just overall an amazing experience.

    So from the perspective of someone who has to drive 10+ hours to enjoy Oregons trails I have to say I recommend folks ride the NUT. Perhpas if they are less experienced riders and looking for something a little lower key and very scenic I would suggest MRT... *shrug*

    Bend... I will be returning to Bend, amazing place. Hopefully I will be able to enjoy it much more.

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    While I pretty much agree with the consensus that MRT is a fun trail, not the best trail around, I would add that the experience is a lot more enjoyable if you hit the trail early in the morning. Last summer, we were riding by 8am, and finished at Belnap at 11am with about 30 minutes worth of stopping at the falls, blue pool, etc along the way. We had the entire upper section to ourselves (my favorite part of the trail), and only saw about 3-4 hikers on the entire lower half (the lower half I found to be underwhelming and slightly boring).

    Worth it for a once per summer trip, or if you're an out of towner passing through.

  47. #47
    MattSavage
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    I don't recommend the NUT.. Definately not a destination in my mind. It's gross, dirty, smells funny. You're more likely to have your car jacked or mugged on the trail there. Lots of tweakers in the north umpqua valley. Dog turds all over the tread, ponies.... Ewgh.

    MRT is the ultimate destination for out of towners! Nothing else compares in the Lower 48! Everyone should go there!
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattsavage
    I don't recommend the NUT.. Definately not a destination in my mind. It's gross, dirty, smells funny. You're more likely to have your car jacked or mugged on the trail there. Lots of tweakers in the north umpqua valley. Dog turds all over the tread, ponies.... Ewgh.

    MRT is the ultimate destination for out of towners! Nothing else compares in the Lower 48! Everyone should go there!
    Not to mention the poison oak and steelhead fishermen...

  49. #49
    mtbr member
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    You forgot to mention the smelly hippies.

  50. #50
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    As far as the MRT goes, The falls and blue pool were great, so was the transition of terrain the trail traversed through, the knarly rock up top to the flowy stuff in the trees at the bottom.

    30 miles of mostly downhill singletrack, anywhere I can get it is tops! Wasn't super challenging though. Loved the scenery. I live about 5 hours north of Bend and will probably ride it again sooner or later. I'd rather go to Crested Butte or some other place I've never been

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