Mountain Biking Portland in February
I will be traveling to Portland for business the week of February 8th. I would love to ride the trails, but want to be dressed/prepared for the trail conditions. I am traveling from Florida, so an opportunity to ride in the mountains cannot be passed up... I don't care if it is snowing!
I haven't decided if I will be packing my bike up and flying with it or maybe just finding a good rental. What are some good trails to ride in the immediate Portland area? Any good shops that do rentals? I am getting a 6:30AM flight from SW Florida so I will be on the ground by 11:00AM. That should give me some time to play the first day. My training is 8:30-4:30 Tuesday - Thursday, so I figured I could either night ride or ride through the city.Then I will be leaving Friday afternoon.
First off, there is virtually no "mountain biking" (as most people define it -- meaning singletrack) in the immediate Portland area:
How long is the mtb season in Portland?
Also, most trails "in the mountains" will be buried under feet of snow and many miles from the nearest passable road. But chances are about 90% that you won't see any snow in Portland, and about 75% that the low elevation rides within a couple hours' drive that are worth doing won't be buried either:
- Forest Park IS in Portland so you don't need to take a long drive there, and although it has almost no singletrack its 27 miles of muddy fireroads are still a lot of fun in the winter when it's sloppy (especially at night). The fact that it isn't singletrack is probably a big part of WHY it's OK to ride there when it's a mess. If you're craving vertical, FP has TEN different trails that each have 500 or more feet of elevation change in less than 2 miles.
- Scappoose is the next closest option, about 1/2 hour from town. Lots of challenging riding, usually open in winter.
- Tillamook Forest is over an hour away, but Wilson River Trail is usually open and was specifically designed to be ridden when wet. If it's been dry for a couple weeks (unlikely, but definitely possible in an El Nino winter like this one) then the awesome Historic Hiking Trail (aka "Browns Camp loop") may also be rideable.
- Stella Forest near Longview, WA is awesome and most likely open.
- Syncline near Bingen, WA boasts the best views of any winter-rideable trail system, when it's open.
- Siouxon Creek, east of Woodland, WA in the Cascade foothills is low enough in elevation to OFTEN be open in the winter (though less likely than the other trails I've listed), and worth a visit if it is open.
- There are a number of options further south in the Willamette Valley, but the Salem, Corvallis/Albany or Eugene folks can give info on those.
For bike rentals, go here:
"People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo
Whypass, half an hour SW of Eugene, boasts ~25 miles of sweet, muddy singletrack and is the winter domain of the Disciples of Dirt MBC. This means the goods are about 2.5 hours south of Portland but if you get the chance, look the DOD up. You won't be disappointed.
I'll add 3 Corner Rock. There is a good chance most of it will be under snow in February, but over the years I've ridden it to the top several times mid winter. Next to the Syncline trails Glowboy mentioned, this will be the best winter ridding near Portland, at least in my opinion, but who am I to comment on winter riding, I prefer to ski.
I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.
The Tillamook Forest trails, about an hour west of Portland, may be ridable in Febuary. Some of the trails are near the coast and almost at Sea Level.
There's also Scappose (about 1/2 hour NW of Portland), but those trails require a guide. (i.e. not me, since I do not know them very well).
I cannot ride on Weekdays, but I suggest finding a guide whichever place you decide to ride at.
A witty saying proves nothing. -- Voltaire
They would have to be night rides, except for Monday afternoon and Friday morning. 8:30-4:30 is all but ~2 daylight hours in February
The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common
I second Syncline. Usually not snowed under in Feb and is a fairly simple trail system, ie likely wouldn't require a guide. Also, some epic terrain and views. I find these links to be very helpful and informative:
Another place for rentals:
Awesome links, thanks.
Originally Posted by Malibu412
You dont really need a guide for the Tillamook trails. Buy one of those cheap mtn bike trail guide books for the Portland area, or look online for maps of the Wilson River Trail, Historic Hiking Trail (aka Brown's Camp), Gales Creek, or Storey Burn, all in the Tillamook Forest. The trails there are well signed. Fire road crossings may be slightly ticky, but you never have to ride more than a couple hundred yards in each direction to pick up the trailheads (with signage). If you have even a mediocre sense of direction, you'll be fine.
Scappoose, however, is a different story. No signage and it gets confusing because of the maze of trails, but its still in a pretty confined area with two main fire roads running through the middle. (the latest 'Kissing the Trail' trail guide book has a decent map)
Syncline is pretty straight forward, but no signage there either. (research maps online or pick up local maps at Hood River mtn bike stores)