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  1. #1
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    Mckenzie River Trail - Suggestions Needed

    I'm planning to ride the Mckenzie River Trail for the 1st time tomorrow. That said, I'd welcome some insights to this line i.e. logistics, etc. My wife and I are bagging this together and plan to take (2) vehicles so we can park one car at the top and one at the bottom. Are there best and/or safest places to park at both locations?

    Also, my wife is a good rider but not the best at super technical terrain. I've read that there are some sections that can be circumvented - with a caveat that we'll miss some beautiful landscape. Thoughts?

    Anything else you might want to add would be great....
    Last edited by JJ Mars; 10-29-2011 at 01:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ Mars View Post
    I'm planning to ride the Mckenzie River Trail for the 1st time tomorrow. That said, I'd welcome some insights to this line i.e. logistics, etc. My wife and I are bagging this together and plan to take (2) vehicles so we can park one car at the top and one at the bottom. Are there best and/or safest places to park at both locations?

    Also, my wife is a good rider but not the best at super technical terrain. I've read that there are some sections that can be circumvented - with a caveat that we'll miss some beautiful landscape. Thoughts?

    Anything else you might want to add would be great....
    Park at Paradise Campground at the bottom, and just off the highway at the upper trailhead.

    The east side of Clear Lake is the only "tough" part that can be bypassed.
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  3. #3
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    Dude I hope this isn't too late. The upper half (yes 10+ miles) of the trail is very technical. My girlfriend has done Alpine Trail and Mary's peak, and some techy riding in the McDonald Forrest with no problems, but had a real hard time on the upper section of the MRT. It's steep and rocky and there's lots of sharp rocks to fall on. Turned out not to be a great day. In a few spots it was pushing my limits on a hardtail. I heard the lower section is smooth and flowy, but by the time we got to the halfway point, she wast scraped up pretty good with a tacoed rear wheel and I was hitching a ride to get the car so I didn't get to ride it.
    Just because you read a book it don't make you conscious. - MC Lush

  4. #4
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    you should take one car and hitch from the bottom, leave your wife and bike at the top, park at the bottom and hitch up. You will both be beat, you will not want to drive home in two separate cars. And don't forget a cooler with a few cold ones!

  5. #5
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    The Mckenzie River Trail lived up to everything we hoped for and more - to say our adventure surpassed our expectations is an understatement! One element of the ride however could have been approached with more preparation i.e. we have (2) awesome boys & the babysitter didn't arrive until 11:00am. This reflected in a 3:00pm start - not good for a 26 mile line. That said, we started @ MRT trailhead and parked our shuttle car @ Trail Bridge Campground approx. 14 miles from start.

    As we began our ride, I was wondering what all the hype was about regarding "technical" landscape. Of course, this was before we reached the onset of the sharp incessant lava rock which continued throughout our ride. I will admitt that I loved it - I didn't think it was really that tech. but definitely challenged my skills at different stages of the ride. My wife, on the otherhand, didn't appreciate the terrain as much as I did I can never figure that part out?? Still, we both had a blast and look forward to bagging the lower half soon - hopefully in the next week. We'll likely wait until next spring before we nail the entire trail in one go....

    Enjoy the pics....it was getting dark so they're not the greatest in terms of lighting but they still captured some indelible memories for us.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mckenzie River Trail - Suggestions Needed-img_0075.jpg  

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    Last edited by JJ Mars; 11-10-2011 at 08:02 PM.

  6. #6
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    Very nice
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

  7. #7
    DBY
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    Yeah, that's a great trail! I rode the lower half from the wayside up to Deer Creek as an out-and-back last week. MRT's in great shape. Felt lucky to have ridden it top to bottom two times this summer as it's really magnificent.

  8. #8
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    Great pics, I love the MRT...we rode it 4 times this Summer. Your wife will love the lower half from Trailbridge down, completely different from the upper section you rode. Do yourself a favor and ride to the end at least once. Some will recommend that you end at Paradise campground, but I really like the trail from Paradise to the trail head.

    Also, thanks for the info in the Yellowman thread regarding his previous location

  9. #9
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    Great trail, but the top half is kind of brutal in sections. I'd like to do the lower half again, not so much the upper half. =)

  10. #10
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    Gorgeous!

    My friend and I went up to Oregon to the Shuttle Weekend in Black Rock and decided to ride Mackenzie on Friday. What a great trail that is. It was brisk, but clear. The upper half, especially around the lake, has some technical attributes. Fun stuff! The lower half is more scenic and up and down, but less rocky. The water is AMAZINGLY crystal clear. It must be amazing to end that ride in the middle of summer and go for a swim. Tried to get my buddy to jump in for $100, but he declined.

    A must ride for sure.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mckenzie River Trail - Suggestions Needed-1.jpg  

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  11. #11
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    Is the lava part of the trail mostly between (top) "clear lake" and "Carmen Reservoir"? (Koosha Falls - well north of the hydro plant)

    Would it be a mistake to start at "Fish Lake" instead?

    Will they let me park my vehicle all day (maybe overnight night) at the "McKenzie Ranger Station"? (bottom - unless I stay at "Log Cabin Inn")

    How is cell phone reception in these parts? (ATT)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaveOn View Post
    Is the lava part of the trail mostly between (top) "clear lake" and "Carmen Reservoir"? (Koosha Falls - well north of the hydro plant)

    Would it be a mistake to start at "Fish Lake" instead?

    Will they let me park my vehicle all day (maybe overnight night) at the "McKenzie Ranger Station"? (bottom - unless I stay at "Log Cabin Inn")

    How is cell phone reception in these parts? (ATT)
    What is up with the "quotes"?

    The lava is mostly upstream of Trailbridge.

    I like to start at the upper trailhead, which is east of the highway, near Fish Lake. If there is snow on the ground it could be a mistake.

    No, do not park at the Ranger Station.

    No reliable cell reception.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaveOn View Post
    Is the lava part of the trail mostly between (top) "clear lake" and "Carmen Reservoir"? (Koosha Falls - well north of the hydro plant)

    Would it be a mistake to start at "Fish Lake" instead?

    Will they let me park my vehicle all day (maybe overnight night) at the "McKenzie Ranger Station"? (bottom - unless I stay at "Log Cabin Inn")

    How is cell phone reception in these parts? (ATT)
    RaveOn - Once you've made it to Carmen Reservoir (coming from Clear Lake), you've made it through the "rocky" segment - or at least what some may consider technical or more difficult. In terms of cell coverage, we virtually had zero the entire ride (Go AT&T.....Not!!) Keep in mind that this info only has application to the first half of the ride i.e. we ended our ride @ Trail Bridge Campground.

    Sorry, still too new to the area to support parking insights....

  14. #14
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    How techy is the top? Is it doable if going slow/walking in parts or is it a not a good idea for a novice rider? Deciding to see if i want to take the GF, she has done a few novice courses and can ride basic rock gardens/logs/roots/etc but not real tech stuff yet.

  15. #15
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    She would end up walking alot

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by outrnm View Post
    How techy is the top? Is it doable if going slow/walking in parts or is it a not a good idea for a novice rider? Deciding to see if i want to take the GF, she has done a few novice courses and can ride basic rock gardens/logs/roots/etc but not real tech stuff yet.
    As many relationships as bike parts break in the lava sections.

  17. #17
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    Ride it all, except the parts you feel more comfortable walking. Sharp lava leaves a lasting impression, but the trail is too good to miss even if you have to walk some of it.
    Happy Trails
    Jolly

  18. #18
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    Thanks all. The upper part sound fun but I'm more afraid my tires will fail on the sharp lava. I like to run light/thin Race King SS 2.2 (yes I like tubes). Maybe I'll Stan it for this trail...

  19. #19
    Think I can make that?
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    Just be sure to bring plenty of tubes...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaveOn View Post
    Thanks all. The upper part sound fun but I'm more afraid my tires will fail on the sharp lava. I like to run light/thin Race King SS 2.2 (yes I like tubes). Maybe I'll Stan it for this trail...
    Sealant does nothing to fix a lava slashed tire
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaveOn View Post
    Thanks all. The upper part sound fun but I'm more afraid my tires will fail on the sharp lava. I like to run light/thin Race King SS 2.2 (yes I like tubes). Maybe I'll Stan it for this trail...
    Of all the things I've seen damaged in that lava, I can't think of anyone who has gotten a flat. I've still got a scar from many years ago. I broke a Ti handle bar. I've seen other people get carried out on a stretcher, but can't think of a single flat tire. I'm sure it happens, I just haven't seen it.

    If your worried about someone not being able to handle the lava, I'd recommend trying an out and back from the bottom. Ride to the lava, maybe get into it a little bit, and then turn around and go back. It's a great trail and just doing half if it is still worth the trip.

    For what it's worth, doing an out and back to clear lake is the only way I seem to be able to ride MRT unscathed. Something bad happens to be whenever I shuttle that one.

  22. #22
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    You can avoid one of the main lava sections by riding around the other side of Clear Lake. Just stay to the right (when riding from the top down), and the trail on that side is fast and smooth and beginner-friendly. It's a good way to go if you think your wife might have a tough time with the lava--then she won't get totally discouraged before she even starts. The next extended lava section is just past Tamolitch (Blue) Pool. After that it's pretty smooth rolling...

  23. #23
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    As much as I like a technical ride, I have only ridden the left side of Clear Lake one time...and will probably not do it again. As mentioned in the previous post, the right side of the lake is a much easier and more enjoyable ride for me. Still plenty of lava to negotiate from Clear Lake to Trail Bridge to keep the ride interesting.

    Broken toes, plenty of cuts and bruises, but no flat tires yet after 7 MRT rides in the past two summers. Still my favorite overall day ride with all the awesome scenery.

    As far as a good swim at the end of the ride in mid summer...not so much!! Regardless of the time of year, that water is freak'n freezing!!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Sealant does nothing to fix a lava slashed tire
    I've only had pinch-flats (tubes) when riding over rocks & sharp old coral. I plan on having 2 tubes, patch kit and possible a spare tire. I once made it back by cutting up a camelbak bladder to be used as a liner on a torn sidewall. Not something I want to relive.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimm2222 View Post
    You can avoid one of the main lava sections by riding around the other side of Clear Lake. Just stay to the right (when riding from the top down)
    Good tip I'll use it as a back up plan. I guess I just pick up the regular trail as it crosses over (east) 126.

    Is the drinking fountain still working at the hydro?

  25. #25
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    Both trails around Clear Lake rejoin at the other end of the lake, well before you cross the hwy.

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