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  1. #1
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    planning oregon trip, want "locals" advice/help

    Planning a trip to do some mountain biking and see the great state of Orgeon. I would like to
    the makenzie river trail, as it seemsit would be awesome.
    I want advice on other trails in that area or other areas of the state with large concentration of MTB trails. I will likely be travelling in motorhome so campgrounds are good, and will be towing my jeep, so can shuttle, ride up down whatever. Just want to have a great MTB vacation with my teenager son and wife.

    Also, any biking near the coastline? let me know about those too.

    Also looking for any suggestion on other great things in the state to see when we are taking a brake from biking.

    We live in Grand Junction CO, so the kokopelli trail and fruita area trails are home so we are comfortable with a lot of technical stuff ( the teenager more than me, wisdom is taking over), and excited to try a different type of terrain like I see in the pics of the Oregon trails

    Tentatively planning on a June trip.. but want to know if that is the best time as far as weather etc

    Appreciate any and all of your input.

  2. #2
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    You will love the McKenzie river trail. So pretty. Has some technical sections for sure.

    Other Areas you can look up online.

    Oakridge
    Umpqua river trail
    Waldo Lake loop
    Ochocos/lookout mountain
    Hood river area trails

    There are a few good trails in and around mt hood. Not sure of the specifics.

    Bend has the most trails in one location. When you come to town I'd be happy to show you around. Too many trails to list!

    High trails don't melt from snow till July probably so keep that in mind.

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    thanks, I will look into those areas as well.

    What constitutes a high trail? not sure which those are... I will check the elevation of Eugene, bend etc. we are at 4500' elevation here and snow clears pretty quick,

    sketchbook, what town are you in? in case I want to take you up on the offer?

  4. #4
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    Oakridge has good trails, Bend has several, and Mt Hood has a good cluster that's my favorite: Sandy Ridge, Knebal/8 Mile/Starvation Ridge, Hood River (Post Canyon) and Syncline. Blackrock is in Falls City and definitely worth the drive if you like freeride/downhill.

  5. #5
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    I'm in Bend. Love to show people around, so seriously don't hesitate to reach out.

    High elevation is more in the 6-7k range I would say. Bend is pretty high already. Close to 4k in town. There are also Elk calving closures through the first half of the summer.

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    I second (third?) the Mac River trail and Oakridge for world-class rides. There are great camping options near both. Bend has great trails, but I tend to think of Bend in terms of "go for the town, stay for the riding." 14 Breweries, live music, etc. Trails are good, but you can find similar quality in other spots. For any of these places, bringing a fly rod along is also an excellent idea for your off-the-bike time (a 5 or 6 weight is ideal that time of year for browns, rainbows, and summer steelhead).

    Having lived out your way (Gunnison/Crested Butte) and having ridden a lot in Fruita, I'd strongly recommend you consider your tire choice before getting out here. Our trails aren't "more technical", but they're different. In general, a bigger footprint and wider knob spacing pays off here (e.g., Nevegal, Ardent), versus the "lots of small knobs" that work well in your playgrounds (e.g., small block 8, captain controls). We have a lot of off-camber, polished roots and year-round clay, as opposed to pulverized granite and slabs. Bend will be most similar to what you are used to; the trails around Hood (and the Mac River trial) will be very different.

    Enjoy your trip!
    Keith in Corvallis

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    My wife and I also did this trip last summer from Colorado in our pop up. We started in Bend and did a day of trails there, we camp just outside of town. there is a big network of trails but is not like the rest of the riding in OR in regards to the lush forests we went out there to ride through, but it was a real cool town. Our favorite trail was the North Umpqua river trail, we did the Dread and Terror/hot spring section and looped it with the road. If you have a separate vehicle you could shuttle more of the trail, we camped at the Toketee lake campground. Also did the Mckenzie river trail and camped in the campground right at the end of the trail, we paid for a shuttle to the top, this was a cool trail by we both like the north umpqua better. We also camped in Oakridge for a night on the salmon creek NF campground (favorite campground) and road the salmon creek trail, the other rides had forest fires going on so didnt get to try them out. We wanted to check out hood river area, but didnt have time.
    have fun.

  8. #8
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    Bend and Oakridge. The trails in Oakridge are fantastic and there are LOTS of them. The riding is less technical riding than Bend, more forested "alpine jungle" type of riding.
    "Got everything you need?"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jquackjr View Post
    Also, any biking near the coastline? let me know about those too.

    Also looking for any suggestion on other great things in the state to see when we are taking a brake from biking.

    Tentatively planning on a June trip.. but want to know if that is the best time as far as weather etc

    Appreciate any and all of your input.
    There are some MTB trails on the coast depending on what part you are going to. June is nice compared to March but later in the summer would probably be a better choice for overall trail conditions and limit the possibility of some of the higher trails still having snow on them.

    The prime spots to stay awhile at at ride multiple days are probably Oakridge and Bend. Bend is the mecca for multiple trails and a variety of other activities to do. There are lots of things to do based on your interests throughout Oregon so you won't go wrong anywhere you go to ride.

    The typical must ride list would probably also include the North Umpqua trail along with the ones you have mentioned. My personal recommendations also include Mary's Peak, Black Rock, Sandy Ridge and Newberry Crater.

    As others have mentioned, post up where you are going to be and I'm sure you will find plenty of local riders who could show you some of the trails. I live in the Salem area and am always willing to show some new peeps some of our trails.

  10. #10
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    I personally would not visit Oregon in June, the month always seems to be very wet, at least in Portland. If I remember correct, last June was the second wetest June on record. I'd plan your visit for July or September.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  11. #11
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    June can work, especially if you're planning on spending a lot of it over towards Bend--they get almost 300 days of sun a year. You can ride most of the rest in June; just plan on some rain and mud.
    Keith in Corvallis

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    I'd ride Umpqua, bend- ride tiddly winks, funner, and any other high elevation trails you can. The lower stuff is all boring xc for the most part. Makenzie river trail, black rock, sandy ridge, hood river for post canyon. There are so many more places to see but those are a few of my favorites. Also in june there are two Oregon enduro races going on so check your schedule with the race schedule if you want to avoid the races and blown out trails.

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    Search function is down, but I posted a lengthy response to a similar thread last year that you might find helpful. If anyone has the link, maybe they can post it here

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    Generally speaking June is a fairly dry month. But it is somewhat unpredictable. July-Sept are entirely predictable: dry.

    You might watch the weather over the next few months. If we have a wet Spring, trails west of the Cascades will still be fairly muddy in June.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OregonSS View Post
    June can work, especially if you're planning on spending a lot of it over towards Bend--they get almost 300 days of sun a year. You can ride most of the rest in June; just plan on some rain and mud.
    June in Bend usually means the Phil's complex, PRT (Sisters), DRT, and the "winter" trails, and Mrazek to not-so-far above the canal.

    All the great Bend stuff is usually July, at least.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by OregonSS View Post
    I second (third?) the Mac River trail and Oakridge for world-class rides. There are great camping options near both. Bend has great trails, but I tend to think of Bend in terms of "go for the town, stay for the riding." 14 Breweries, live music, etc. Trails are good, but you can find similar quality in other spots. For any of these places, bringing a fly rod along is also an excellent idea for your off-the-bike time (a 5 or 6 weight is ideal that time of year for browns, rainbows, and summer steelhead).

    Having lived out your way (Gunnison/Crested Butte) and having ridden a lot in Fruita, I'd strongly recommend you consider your tire choice before getting out here. Our trails aren't "more technical", but they're different. In general, a bigger footprint and wider knob spacing pays off here (e.g., Nevegal, Ardent), versus the "lots of small knobs" that work well in your playgrounds (e.g., small block 8, captain controls). We have a lot of off-camber, polished roots and year-round clay, as opposed to pulverized granite and slabs. Bend will be most similar to what you are used to; the trails around Hood (and the Mac River trial) will be very different.

    Enjoy your trip!
    that is a great thought, I usually ride captains, but have conti trail king 2.4 on one bike and considering those or rode Geax sturdy ( f) and Gato (R) last year and liked those, wider , bigger knobs.

    open to other suggestions, would rather invest in some that will work and have great rides.. what 29er tires are you all running on bend, makenzie river and the oakridge area trails... so far looking at those areas...have to make time for the girls who don't ride so will making sure they are having fun too...

  17. #17
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    Trail Kings are awesome for this area. However, if it's dry, the trails you just listed are quite smooth compared to other techy trails. The bottom 25-20 miles of Mackenzie River is pine-needle smooth. Really your Captains would work great, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jquackjr View Post
    thanks, I will look into those areas as well.

    What constitutes a high trail? not sure which those are... I will check the elevation of Eugene, bend etc. we are at 4500' elevation here and snow clears pretty quick,

    sketchbook, what town are you in? in case I want to take you up on the offer?
    Our snow most definately does not "clear pretty quickly" as we typically get a LOT more than you at high elevation. 40+feet of it is not uncommon, not to mention it's much heavier snow with much less sunshine to melt it away. I was postholing as late as mid August last year at elevation (angels staircase). I take the time to point this out as timing will be really important to make the most of your trip out here and well you're getting plenty of good trail advice. The last 2 summers running it rained most of June on the west side of the Cascades and in the same breath would say you will run into fires if you wait untill Sept. ort late Aug. My advice would be to come end of July beginning of Aug. That's when trails are at their peak (packed in, dry, and not yet dusty), the days are long, the rain has stopped, and hopefully no fires yet.

    There is camping EVERYWHERE, good camping to. One area that hasn't been mentioned yet is St Helens. While that isn't in OR it's not far and so worth it.

  19. #19
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    I'm also considering a trip to OR this summer. Thanks for the beta. I found the post you mentioned:
    August in Oregon
    In the summer I build trails: www.sinuosity.net
    In the winter I build these: www.fatbikeskis.com

  20. #20
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    Don't forget we will have a daily shuttle at 9am from Bend starting as soon as there is a rideable route from Swampy or Wanoga. This could start as late as mid-June, but hopefully sooner! Check out our local shuttles page on our website and/or if you are local to Bend send us an email at info@cogwild.com to be added to our local email list.
    Link to local shuttle page on our website
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    Sponsored by Deschutes Brewery!! Come ride..

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cog Wild View Post
    Don't forget we will have a daily shuttle at 9am from Bend starting as soon as there is a rideable route from Swampy or Wanoga. This could start as late as mid-June, but hopefully sooner! Check out our local shuttles page on our website and/or if you are local to Bend send us an email at info@cogwild.com to be added to our local email list.
    Link to local shuttle page on our website
    Probably much sooner. I would say two-three weeks and you should be in business. Heard Funner is already rideable. Cheers!!
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  22. #22
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    Thanks again all, have made some tentative changes to plans.. looking at mid july rather than june... going to head up towards Columbia river gorge so may hit Mt Hood area and possibly up towards Mt St Helens. then going to come down the coast line, ride, rest, maybe get to ride in the redwoods Near Crescent city CA then back to Eugene/oakridge Mac river trail etc... getting excited now, had a busy spring but been riding here a lot to get ready to have a great trip there. Are there any guide books on amazon about these trails? singltracks .com have good maps? Wanna be as prepared and get the most out of my riding days..
    thanks again for all the great suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jquackjr View Post
    Are there any guide books on amazon about these trails? singltracks .com have good maps? Wanna be as prepared and get the most out of my riding days..
    thanks again for all the great suggestions.
    I've been happy with the maps at Mountain Biking, Hiking, Nordic Skiing Trail Adventure Maps- Waterproof . Not perfect (which is hard with constantly changing trails), but their maps seem to be the best out there. Would be curious to hear what others think.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jquackjr View Post
    Thanks again all, have made some tentative changes to plans.. looking at mid july rather than june... going to head up towards Columbia river gorge so may hit Mt Hood area and possibly up towards Mt St Helens. then going to come down the coast line, ride, rest, maybe get to ride in the redwoods Near Crescent city CA then back to Eugene/oakridge Mac river trail etc... getting excited now, had a busy spring but been riding here a lot to get ready to have a great trip there. Are there any guide books on amazon about these trails? singltracks .com have good maps? Wanna be as prepared and get the most out of my riding days..
    thanks again for all the great suggestions.
    If you are going mid July, I would really encourage you to enroll for the Mountain Bike Oregon event at that time.. Mountain Bike Oregon Details | Mountain Bike Oregon
    We did it as part of a tour last year, and will be including it in an even longer tour this year. They have free demo bikes, great beer, plenty of food, shuttles to every where and great ride leaders. In fact having those great ride leaders make a huge difference. My wife is not near as fast or aggressive rider as I am, but on every ride she was able to hang with a group of riders and ride leader that was good for her pace, while I was able to harass our ride leader with a group of hammerheads at our pace. We rode the same trails, each at our prefeered pace (with guides) and I never had to worry about her getting lost or pissed at me for leaving her behind.
    Last year her and I did a week. This year I have a couple of buds and we are doing 12 days.
    Good thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaewannabe View Post
    There are some MTB trails on the coast depending on what part you are going to. June is nice compared to March but later in the summer would probably be a better choice for overall trail conditions and limit the possibility of some of the higher trails still having snow on them.

    The prime spots to stay awhile at at ride multiple days are probably Oakridge and Bend. Bend is the mecca for multiple trails and a variety of other activities to do. There are lots of things to do based on your interests throughout Oregon so you won't go wrong anywhere you go to ride.

    The typical must ride list would probably also include the North Umpqua trail along with the ones you have mentioned. My personal recommendations also include Mary's Peak, Black Rock, Sandy Ridge and Newberry Crater.

    As others have mentioned, post up where you are going to be and I'm sure you will find plenty of local riders who could show you some of the trails. I live in the Salem area and am always willing to show some new peeps some of our trails.
    I look forward to taking you up on that offer!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimitrin View Post
    I look forward to taking you up on that offer!
    I also look forward to some riding with you. My job has changed and I'm stuck all week in an area that only has 1 trail, so I am looking forward to some good riding this summer.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimitrin View Post
    If you are going mid July, I would really encourage you to enroll for the Mountain Bike Oregon event at that time.. Mountain Bike Oregon Details | Mountain Bike Oregon
    We did it as part of a tour last year, and will be including it in an even longer tour this year. They have free demo bikes, great beer, plenty of food, shuttles to every where and great ride leaders. In fact having those great ride leaders make a huge difference. My wife is not near as fast or aggressive rider as I am, but on every ride she was able to hang with a group of riders and ride leader that was good for her pace, while I was able to harass our ride leader with a group of hammerheads at our pace. We rode the same trails, each at our prefeered pace (with guides) and I never had to worry about her getting lost or pissed at me for leaving her behind.
    Last year her and I did a week. This year I have a couple of buds and we are doing 12 days.
    Good thread.
    Thanks for the MBO plug, I used to be just a rider at that event then I became a guide, it is an awesome event. As a guide I love to hear that we are doing our job and providing some awesome times for people out on those great Oakridge trails.

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    Good thread, lotsa useful info here.
    My girlfriend & I are finalizing our plans to head up that way from Tahoe next month to celebrate my 50th on July 10
    I'd love to do the 17K in a day but there's only 2 of us, and we need 5. Any takers?
    17K Vert In a Day | Oregon Adventures
    Backup will probably be either MRT or NURT.
    Any other suggestions for an epic ride?

  29. #29
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    Bend has an amazing network of trails. And a bonus, no poison oak as far as I know. Add in the river, cascade lakes, mountains, golf, breweries and we are talking about a must visit MTB destination.

    But the oft-quoted 300 sunny days for Bend is questionable. Bend doesn't make the list of top sunny places for % of sunshine or clear days.

    Sunniest Places in United States - Current Results

    See these to read one local's account of the weather in Bend:

    Bend Sux: Our Suckalicious Sunshine

    Bend Sux: Bulletin Confirms: Bend Climate Sucks

    Bend Sux: Understanding Bend's Sucktacular Climate: The Two-Month Rule

    That said, July-mid Sept is usually sunny but periods of smoke from forest fires during the summer is a possibility.

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    I agree, great thread with useful info (as well as another related link in the thread). Unfortunately the more I read, the more I think about changing my plans! Ahhhhh. Sorry for hijacking the thread, but I could really use some advice as well.

    Last year I had an amazing trip to Utah/Colorado, so this year I'm planning another trip in late summer/fall. I'm coming down from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for 2-3 weeks. The original plan was to hit a few places in Oregon (like Bend, Oakridge) and California (Tahoe maybe something else). Then I thought maybe I should leave California for another trip since there seems to be a lot there, and instead stop a couple places along the way to Oregon, like Bozeman Montana, and Sun Valley Idaho to shorten the driving days and see what they have to offer. But after reading about everything in Oregon, I'm wondering if I'd be better off just spending the entire time around Oregon. Ahhhh, so many places so little time! I haven't been to any of the above places.

    I know this is silly, but anyone have any thoughts based on the places I've mentioned, or the three mentioned plans? If you were me, what would you do given your knowledge of the regions?

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    Trust me: there are worse problems to have. I lived in Bozeman for 2.5 years in the late '90s, and have been living in Corvallis (Oregon) for 2 years. Bozeman is amazing, and between Yellowstone and rides around Bozeman, you could explore for a very long time (although Bozeman riding is more about scenery and explortation than amazing singletrack). Sun Valley is a very fun town with unlimited flowy riding (and high alpine riding!) right from town. My personal bias, however, is that you'd be spending a lot of time on the road and not taking in what there is to see. After 2 years in Oregon (surfing, riding, skiing, and fly fishing), I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. Aside from my great local trails, MacKenzie River, Oakridge, Bend, Ashland, Black Rock, and a ton of other places host some of the most interesting riding I've ever done. So, I'd vote for doing Oregon proper, but a NW road trip could be fun in its own right! Good luck!
    Keith in Corvallis

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhnatch View Post
    I agree, great thread with useful info (as well as another related link in the thread). Unfortunately the more I read, the more I think about changing my plans! Ahhhhh. Sorry for hijacking the thread, but I could really use some advice as well.

    Last year I had an amazing trip to Utah/Colorado, so this year I'm planning another trip in late summer/fall. I'm coming down from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for 2-3 weeks. The original plan was to hit a few places in Oregon (like Bend, Oakridge) and California (Tahoe maybe something else). Then I thought maybe I should leave California for another trip since there seems to be a lot there, and instead stop a couple places along the way to Oregon, like Bozeman Montana, and Sun Valley Idaho to shorten the driving days and see what they have to offer. But after reading about everything in Oregon, I'm wondering if I'd be better off just spending the entire time around Oregon. Ahhhh, so many places so little time! I haven't been to any of the above places.

    I know this is silly, but anyone have any thoughts based on the places I've mentioned, or the three mentioned plans? If you were me, what would you do given your knowledge of the regions?
    I hear ya man...it can be tuff putting together a trip. Especially if your the type that likes to get after it. I'll chime in on a couple of things you mentioned.

    First, late summer/fall is a less than ideal time to ride in Northern Cali, Oregon, Southern Washington. We have a volcanic base soil, low humidity, and next to no rain all summer= dry, dusty, sandy trails & fires. That's not to say every trail will blow, but again it's less than ideal.

    Second Ketchum/Sun Valley has got to be the weirdest , most pretentious mountain town on the planet. This may rub some people the wrong way but town wise the place SUCKS! That's not say that there isn't some killer buff mountain trails there, because there is. But you could experience the same type of trails in far better places likes Sand Point or better yet McCall. FYI if you rode trails in Brian Head when you were in Utah the trail type is very similar.

    While Bozeman has grown leaps & bounds along with Missoula they're great places with great riding. If I were going to do an MTB trip in the lower 48 late summer ....Sept? Guess what.... it would be Utah.

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    @OregonSS
    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I agree, every time you pack up and move locations, that's one less day that you're on the trails, which is a concern for sure. Never mind the solo travel time to get there and back. It also seems that the different target areas in Oregon are spread out enough to warrant camping at each location (versus driving every day for an hour or two to each trail). So there's some necessary travelling just with that. At this point I tend to agree with your points and leaning towards focusing just on Oregon. I think once I start putting pen to paper and planning out rides I should do in each location, it may become clear whether or not I should spend a couple/few days along the way, may not be feasible.

    @WHALENARD
    Yeah, while I'd love to go back to Utah/Colorado and other surrounding areas some time, I'd like to see what some other areas of the country have to offer. The reality is, all of these locations are different from my local terrain/scenery.

    As far as the time of year I go, I'm somewhat flexible and mainly chose that time based on snow being gone from higher elevations, elk area restrictions, and possibly cooler weather. I guess that begs the question...what would be the ideal time to visit in theory?

    Thanks again guys for your feedback.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    First, late summer/fall is a less than ideal time to ride in Northern Cali, Oregon, Southern Washington. We have a volcanic base soil, low humidity, and next to no rain all summer= dry, dusty, sandy trails & fires. That's not to say every trail will blow, but again it's less than ideal.
    I think fall is the best time to ride bikes in central Oregon. September and October are the nicest months in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I think fall is the best time to ride bikes in central Oregon. September and October are the nicest months in my opinion.
    +1. I think the best ride I ever had in central Oregon was mid-September from Todd Lake to Sunriver. From fresh snow flurries to sunny warm, damp tacky to dry dusty/sandy, all in the same day. ~50 miles of fun.

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    Since I'll be tenting the entire time, I'd prefer not to push it too late in the year, just as far as being comfortable. It would be nice to go towards the end of August, however I suspect that it will be pretty hot, and that it may be challenging finding open camping spots. That's one advantage of going in September I suppose, kids back in school, and less people on holidays. I have run into issues in the past regarding some facilities and campgrounds being closed in Sept. (after the long weekend). Is that something that's an issue there at all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I think fall is the best time to ride bikes in central Oregon. September and October are the nicest months in my opinion.
    Funny. I think July/August are the best! Like riding in the dry heat.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by StreamRider View Post
    Funny. I think July/August are the best! Like riding in the dry heat.
    Yeah, those months are pretty good too.

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    I would also say July/August to be the best riding months. Really there is no "best" time to ride in Oregon. Early season the east side, desert rides, phils etc are choice. Mid summer the coast range stuff is packed in & fast. Mid/late summer the high stuff is clear. If I had to pick an ideal date it would be beginningish August. The days are still long, no fires yet (hopefully), & the trails aren't dried out & dusty yet.

    dhnatch I would not worry one iota about it being hot or missing out on camping. It doesn't really get hot, on the west side at least and there really is no humidity to speak of. Also there is a TON of camping. A bazillion logging roads means a bazillion places to camp. If you need bathrooms etc. there still is a ton of places to camp. I wouldn't factor either of those points into a Oregon trip whatsoever. It doesn't really get crowded out here per say, other than maybe Hood River or downtown Bend so have at it.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhnatch View Post
    Since I'll be tenting the entire time, I'd prefer not to push it too late in the year, just as far as being comfortable. It would be nice to go towards the end of August, however I suspect that it will be pretty hot, and that it may be challenging finding open camping spots. That's one advantage of going in September I suppose, kids back in school, and less people on holidays. I have run into issues in the past regarding some facilities and campgrounds being closed in Sept. (after the long weekend). Is that something that's an issue there at all?
    Hmmm, I don't know about campground closure times. I've never really paid attention to it. August can be hot but it's not Arizona hot. Central OR is more like high 80s to low 90s and dry. About one week per summer the temps might creep up to 100F but it's short-lived. Nights cool down significantly.

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    Campgrounds do start to close in the fall, but that just means they aren't maintained and the nicer ones have gates. Just park at the gate, lug your stuff in, and camp for free. Please clean up though!

    Also dispersed camping is allowed really anywhere in the National forests. Lots of spots along rivers and such that are free.

    I much prefer Sep-Nov in the Cascades. Perfect for me!

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    Wow, great thread! I'm coming from Australia to spend 5 months in the US & Canada - i'll let you guys know when I'll be in your state.

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