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  1. #1
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    Upcoming Road Trip Through Oregon - Is This A Good Itinerary?

    The wife and I will be loading the bikes onto the camper and heading out of Flagstaff on September 11th, headed to her sisters place on the San Juan Islands. We will be spending most of the vacation in Oregon and want to get in some epic rides. I thought I'd lay out our itinerary and see what the people who ride full time in Oregon think? If we have missed any great rides, let us know and we can try to add it to the list.

    Sept. 14 Arrive in Roseburg, set up camp. Looking for free primitive camp spot. We don't require any hook-ups or toilet. Rig has 520 watts of solar panels and 45 gallons of fresh water.

    Sept. 15 Ride North Umpqua River Trail. We would like to ride from east to west, covering half the length of the trail. Will be looking for a shuttle to drop us off at the eastern-most point. Any ideas who to contact?

    Sept. 16 Ride western sections of the North Umpqua River Trail. Depending on where we set up camp, we may ride from camp or we may call for a shuttle drop. Post ride we plan to move camp to some free forest campground near Oakridge.

    Sept. 17 We have time for one ride in Oakridge. We are looking for suggestions. 25-30 miles of trail. Maybe something we can do in a loop, otherwise we'll need to call an outfitter for a drop.

    Sept. 18 Drive to Waldo Lake and ride the trail that circles the lake. It will be my third time doing this ride and it will be my wifes first trip to Waldo Lake. Are we required to purchase a pass to park or ride the trail? After the ride we will travel to Bend, where both of us have relatives.

    Sept. 19 We hope to join some friends for a ride in Bend. I last visited Bend last October and did four sensational rides. If wife wants a rest day, I could be up for a longer ride of 30+ miles, followed by a seriously large buritto or plate of ribs.

    Sept. 20 McKenzie River Trail. I've enjoyed the ride once before. I expect the wife to have a great time. We will join some friends and do the shuttle drop and ride it one way (downhill).

    Sept. 21 We will head north to camp at Olympic National Park.

    Sept. 22 Take the ferry to the San Juan Islands.

    Sept. 23 Ride the trails on Orcas Island, at Moran State Park. They open them up to mountain bikers on Sept. 15th, for a month or so before restricting them to just hikers.

    Sept. 24 Wife will stay at sisters before flying home on Sept. 25th. I will drive south, back to Oregon, to get in more riding. I don't have to be back in Flagstaff until the second week of October.

    Sept. 25 Maybe ride near Hood River? Open to suggestion.

    Sept. 26 Head back to Bend for more riding.

    Sept. 27 Ride near Bend.

    Sept. 28 Maybe head back to Oakridge to do another ride or two.

    Sept. 29 More Oakridge riding?

    Sept. 30 Maybe return to Roseburg to ride North Umpqua River Trail again.

    Oct. 1-4 Leave Oregon and travel south into California. Have friends in Sacramento and will likely ride in the foothills for a few days, when not pounding down sushi or dining at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

    Oct. 5 Head east, maybe crossing Nevada to ride in Park City Utah.

    Oct. 7 Work my way south towards Brian Head or Red Canyon. If it's too cold for that, stop in Hurricane and ride the Jem Trail loop.

    Oct. 8 Head for the barn. Have a day of rest in Flagstaff before heading out for fall riding.



    We would like to hear about your favorite rides in Oregon that we might include, if we can squeeze them in. We also could use information on places to park a 27 foot fifth wheel, preferably some simple and free, primitive camp site on Forest Service land.

    Looking forward to riding the best trails in the west.

    The Prodigal Son

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  2. #2
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    If it were me, I would spend more time in Oakridge and less on the NUT. For your 25-30 mile ride in Oakridge, get dropped at Timpanogas Lake and ride down the Middle Fork Trail. To Butcherknife is 28 miles I think and to Sand Prairie is 32+. For shuttles see http://www.oregon-adventures.com/.

    Good choice on Waldo Lake. My favorite ride. There is also great riding up in the Timpanogas/Summit Lake area.

    We head back to Tucson in mid November. The riding here in Sept/Oct is terrific.
    -Bob
    Tucson, AZ

  3. #3
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    Check out the high elevation stuff outside Bend if you haven't done it before; all the trails from Happy Valley to Bachelor should be pretty nice.

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    Oakridge - can probably get dropped/picked up a shuttle for this one also but check MT Merc and get the big forest service style map. Tire Mt > Winberry divide to a really long gravel climb then Alpine trail down to covered bridge. Added option of more gravel climbing to more really good single track (may still be maps on cascade cream puff website). Kissing the trails book is pretty helpful for picking rides also.

    Hood - If you can find a shuttle (or don't mind the 1 - 2 hour paved road climb) you can cover a lot of very good XC riding in the area by starting at the top of the pass on Rte 35 and more or less paralleling the road to Dog River or Surveyors ridge (it's a big ride). There is a shop called Dog River Cycles (I think) that can probably give you some info if there is a shuttle possibility, also in Kissing the Trails.

    Looking forward to our first crack at Waldo Lake this fall!
    Go that way really fast......if anything gets in your way turn.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like an awesome time.

    Just some suggestions.

    Spend at least a day or 2 in and around Hood River. The trails off of FR44 like Dog River, 15 Mile, Knebel Springs, 8 mile etc are a must.

    Since you'll be coming south through SW Washington I'd highly suggest a stop at Mt St Helens. Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham and the Lewis River Trails are classic PNW rides. I'm not a big fan but a lot of people like Falls Creek.

    And you'll be driving past it while in the Olympics, The Skokomish River Trail is a classic PNW River Trail, very similar to the Lewis River Trail.

    Capitol Forest near Olympia Washington is classic, but more in a back woods kinda way. If you're driving though and need to ride it's a must.

    For me personaly, I'd limit the time in Bend. I hate the town but the trails are very nice.

    Also, let us know when you're driving back through. I'm sure somebody could show you around.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  6. #6
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    ... and if we just ... Little known ride near Roseburg. With 8 mile downhill

    If you want some spectacular scenery, mountain meadows that look like the Colorado Rockies, and some awesome views, consider riding from Lake in The Woods to Hemlock Lake.(up Little River Rd. from Glide) and Yellow Jacket Glade.

    I used to live in Roseburg and worked at Waldrons Outdoor Sports, and have ridden everything around that area. If it were me, I would do one day on the North Umpqua Trail, and I would do the ride from Lemola Lake(Dread and Terror) as far down as you can in a day. Dread and Terror and on down through Deer Leap and maybe down through the Jesse Wright section to Marsters bridge would take you through all the best scenery. 30 miles aprox.

    But one of the most beautiful rides that never gets ridden is up at Lake in the Woods. Go to Glide. Turn up Little River Rd, it is at Colliding Rivers. Drive about 16 miles to the end of the pavement, and keep going. A few miles on dirt takes you to Lake in the Woods. It is a nice little lake with a small campground. Turn right into it, it is a loop around the lake.

    There are 3 trails from here. One, across from the entrance goes out a mile to a waterfall. Another goes from the campground downhill to another waterfall. The main trail goes from the left end of the lake as you turn in. It goes uphill for 4 miles to Hemlock Lake, taking you past another waterfall, and beautiful mountain creeks. It crosses across dirt roads twice on the way but is easy to follow. At the top you enter a meadow, and the trail forks. Go left toward Hemlock Lake(only 1/4 mile) At the campground follow to the right and you will see a nice trail map sign right there showing Yellow Jacket Glade. You will go around the lake a ways to the right, and then hit a fork, take it to the right, and climb. You will go up over the Umpqua Divide. You will eventually get an 8 mile downhill through the most beautiful mountain meadows you have seen!! Absolutely stunning!! It will come back down to the fork that you hit earlier at the meadow, and on down past the waterfall back to Lake in the Woods. About 16 miles total. Lots of climbing, lots of downhill. Awesome ride!!

    A side trip is Flat Rock trail. About a mile from the fork near Hemlock Lake is a trail forking off to the left. It is easy to miss while coming down. If you hit some tight switchbacks, you just passed it. It climbs up to a viewpoint. Last 100 yards is hike-a-bike. Stunning view of Hemlock Lake, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood to the North, and Mt. Shasta to the South.

    I may see you up there, I am taking 3 weeks off and me and my girlfriend are going to Zion/Gooseberry, to Oregon, and Moab and back to Arizona from Aug 29-Sept 20. Have fun!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelsdown2002
    If you want some spectacular scenery, mountain meadows that look like the Colorado Rockies, and some awesome views, consider riding from Lake in The Woods to Hemlock Lake.(up Little River Rd. from Glide) and Yellow Jacket Glade.)

    Sounds really cool. Have you ridden it this season? Is it clear? How about bugs right now?
    "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    Sounds really cool. Have you ridden it this season? Is it clear? How about bugs right now?
    I have not ridden it for several years, as I moved to Tucson, Arizona.

    But usually late in the summer is the best, because the heat has killed off the mosquitoes, and also the Forest Service has had a chance to clear out any downs.

    So if anyone knows about the trail condition, I would like to know too since I will be up there in a few weeks.

  9. #9
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    On your way back to Cali, stop for a spin in Ashland...
    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo
    The internet sounds like a tough place to ride.

  10. #10
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    This is all exceptionally helpful information. I feel like we will need an extra week in order to get in all the rides being mentioned. I discussed our departure date with the wife last night and I've decided to leave several days early, maybe Sept. 8th. My wife still has to work until afternoon on Friday, the 11th. I'll already be in Oregon riding when she drives to her sisters in Boulder City on Friday. She will fly up and meet me on Sunday and we can begin riding together at that time. That should give me 2-3 additional ride days. I just need to decide whether to drive to Hood River or Oakridge. I want to save Waldo Lake and McKenzie for the both of us to ride. Depending on the route I take north, I could stop in Ashland to begin my riding. The Lake In The Woods ride sounds short enough to easily squeeze in and I'll try to monitor other threads on this forum to see if the North Umpqua River Trail still has closed sections at the time we'll be in Roseburg. Even though we both have family in Bend, most people, even friends here in Flagstaff, are saying it will be too dusty there and to keep Bend rides to a minimum. I'm also trying to find a way to squeeze in more rides in Washington, that OldHouseMan mentioned. Plus I still need to study maps and find undeveloped campgrounds or some simple spots to park the camper in the woods near these riding locations. Don't want to make a mistake that might require backing a fifth wheel camper down a forest road because I failed to realize there would not be any place to get turned around. It was so much easier when we had a pop-up camper.

    Thanks to all here for their suggestions. I'll continue monitoring the messages and writing down ride locations. I've already suggested to my wife that we make this an annual trip. We love riding in Flagstaff but it is so much more exciting discovering new trails in our favorite state to visit.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Prodigal Son
    Even though we both have family in Bend, most people, even friends here in Flagstaff, are saying it will be too dusty there and to keep Bend rides to a minimum.
    Dusty down low on Phil's triangle (where out-of-towners always seem to congregate) but in September the trail conditions are typically exceptional higher up (where locals go).

  12. #12
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    surveyors ridge near mt. hood
    stop in ashland on your way home, get ahold of wes, and shuttle timewarp.
    "if you can't be good, be good at it."

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    Lake in the Woods.

    I think you will find that this is not as short as the 16 miles suggests. I have typically done a short out and back to the waterfall across the street from the Lake in the Woods parking lot for a nice 2 mile warm up, because otherwise, you jump right into a rather hard climb with cold legs.

    This adds a little time especially if you take a few pics of the waterfall. Also, the climb up to Hemlock Lake is fairly steep, and has some waterfalls and scenic stops as well. The meadows coming down are a must stop photo opportunity as well.

    If you ride up to Flat Rock viewpoint, expect to add on an extra hour. It is a very steep climb in places with a touch of hike-a-bike, but the vista is spectacular!! You will want to chill out at the top, and take it in.

    Just with the regular loop, it can easily be a 3 hour ride. Add in the other side trips, and you can fill the day up pretty easily. Both Lake in the Woods and Hemlock Lake have campgrounds, and on the way up Little River are more. Or you can find places on the logging roads all around to make your own camp. If you don't mind the "booney squat".

  14. #14
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    Sept is really nice to do Northfork (think waterfalls) to Metolius to Flagline to Southfork. Bit of climbing in the beginning but beautiful and well worth it. It's 20-25 miles. You'd want to drive to Skyliner Snow Park and ride from there.

  15. #15
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    I checked out Hemlock Creek and Yellow Jacket Loop today. Absolutely no mosquitoes. I was a little worried when I forgot my repellent.

    It is totally clear. Just a little smoke from the fire to screw up the views.

    Very nice.

    And some pictures.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/mwpete/H...lowJacketLoop#
    Last edited by mwpeterson; 08-16-2009 at 08:14 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Prodigal Son
    Sept. 19 We hope to join some friends for a ride in Bend. I last visited Bend last October and did four sensational rides. If wife wants a rest day, I could be up for a longer ride of 30+ miles, followed by a seriously large buritto or plate of ribs.
    EDIT:

    NM, I had my dates wrong :-)
    Last edited by MisterClean; 08-17-2009 at 11:00 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwpeterson
    Nice!

    God, I love the deep woods trails of OR!

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwpeterson
    I checked out Hemlock Creek and Yellow Jacket Loop today. Absolutely no mosquitoes. I was a little worried when I forgot my repellent.

    It is totally clear. Just a little smoke from the fire to screw up the views.

    Very nice.

    And some pictures.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/mwpete/H...lowJacketLoop#
    Thanks for the pictures, I am really excited to get back to my old stomping grounds during some nice weather.

    I've ridden that trail probably 30 times, and I don't have a single picture, other than the ones in my head. Luckily, I have a pornographic, er... I mean photographic memory.

    One of the reasons I am choosing to go to Oregon in September is for the lack of mosquitoes, and it usually is not raining yet, so it is good to hear that the mosquitoes are gone. Hopefully the fire smoke is gone by the time we get there around the 4th.

  19. #19
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    I'd agree on more Oak, less NUT.

    And another vote for Surveyor's Ridge or one of the other trails off FR44 between Mt. Hood and Hood River.

    Also, I'd strongly discourage riding McKenzie on a weekend if you have the option to do it on a weekday. For that matter, since you're hitting both states, given the choice between the two I'd take Lewis River (which is quite similar) over McKenzie -- by a slight margin on a weekday, or by a large margin on a weekend. And Plains of Abraham on Mt. St. Helens is (along with Waldo) one of the must-do rides in the Northwest.

    OldHouseMan mentioned Falls Creek -- I personally really like the downhill ride but the shuttle is long enough to make it worth skipping.

    I will also put in plugs for local favorites Siouxon Creek in SW Washington and the Historic Hiking Trail loop (also known as Browns Camp) in TIllamook Forest 45 minutes west of Portland. To me these are both classic rides.

    Based on this thread it looks like I'm going to have to check out Lake of the Woods. Rode past one of the THs on my road bike a few years ago and wondered about it, but now I have to do it.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

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    I'm also from Tucson and will be in the area after Labor Day for a week. NUT is on my list as I've ridden MRT twice and thought it was great. Everyone sais NUT is better.
    Twowheelsdown your Lake of the Woods ride sounds killer and hope I can join. Have you ridden Little Creek Mesa, south of Gooseberry?
    I did enjoy Falls Creek, WA, too. Not tech but lush and wet. Big wild strawberry patch.
    agmtb

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    Just to avoid any confusion, the rides we have been talking about are near Lake in the Woods & Hemlock Lake. Lake of the Woods is on the highway from Medford to Klamath Falls.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwpeterson
    Just to avoid any confusion, the rides we have been talking about are near Lake in the Woods & Hemlock Lake. Lake of the Woods is on the highway from Medford to Klamath Falls.
    Good point!!! Very easy to confuse those, especially while doing an internet search!! There is not a lot of info about Lake in the Woods, or Hemlock lake on the net. Your pictures were really good, and really makes me anxious to do that ride again.

    I have also seen a lot of elk up there, and one time I saw one of the biggest bucks ever, standing right in front of a big dead snag in a meadow. He was magnificent, but made me hungry for some backstrap!! Yum.....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by abegold
    I'm also from Tucson and will be in the area after Labor Day for a week. NUT is on my list as I've ridden MRT twice and thought it was great. Everyone sais NUT is better.
    Twowheelsdown your Lake of the Woods ride sounds killer and hope I can join. Have you ridden Little Creek Mesa, south of Gooseberry?
    I did enjoy Falls Creek, WA, too. Not tech but lush and wet. Big wild strawberry patch.
    I have not ridden Little Creek Mesa. I lived in Cedar City for 6 months back in 1998, and I remember looking over at that area and wondering if there might be a "sister" to Gooseberry over there, and I wanted to try to explore it.

    Sounds like we will be in Oregon at the same time. We are stopping at Gooseberry Mesa/Zion for a couple days to bike and hike both, and should be up in Oregon about the 4th until the14th or 15th, and then are making our way to Moab for a couple days.

    I can't wait!! 3 weeks off work, and mountain bike destinations galore!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    I'd agree on more Oak, less NUT.

    And another vote for Surveyor's Ridge or one of the other trails off FR44 between Mt. Hood and Hood River.

    Also, I'd strongly discourage riding McKenzie on a weekend if you have the option to do it on a weekday. For that matter, since you're hitting both states, given the choice between the two I'd take Lewis River (which is quite similar) over McKenzie -- by a slight margin on a weekday, or by a large margin on a weekend. And Plains of Abraham on Mt. St. Helens is (along with Waldo) one of the must-do rides in the Northwest.

    OldHouseMan mentioned Falls Creek -- I personally really like the downhill ride but the shuttle is long enough to make it worth skipping.

    I will also put in plugs for local favorites Siouxon Creek in SW Washington and the Historic Hiking Trail loop (also known as Browns Camp) in TIllamook Forest 45 minutes west of Portland. To me these are both classic rides.

    Based on this thread it looks like I'm going to have to check out Lake of the Woods. Rode past one of the THs on my road bike a few years ago and wondered about it, but now I have to do it.
    The secret to Falls Creek is an out and back...do not forget McClellan Meadows.Gee...it's only fourteen miles one way.Two vehicles are not required.If you have never ridden Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham/Smith Creek it is a must.There is no ride in the U.S. that compares to it.Guaranteed one of a kind experience on two wheels.The trails off of HWY 35 and Road 44 (Dog River/Gunsight Ridge/Lookout Mtn./15 mile/Knebal Springs/Surveyors Ridge -Oakridge) are worth the effort.It's simple to link several together and cruise for 40 to 60 miles with great views and smokin' descents.Enjoy...how could you not.Do not skip the "Triple Crown" while you are at Waldo.The Twins,Mt. Fuji, and Maiden Peak!
    Master of Laundry...Lord of Cleaning!

  25. #25
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    thanks - working on new itinerary

    So many great suggestions for rides that I am working out a new list and planning on leaving several days earlier and having the wife fly up to Oregon to meet me (because she only has two weeks of vacation time).

    Leaving on Sept. 8th now. Trying to figure out how to ride the following;

    - North Umpqua (2 days)
    - Lake in The Woods to Hemlock Lake
    - Oakridge (2-4 days)
    - Waldo Lake (The Twins,Mt. Fuji, and Maiden Peak)
    - Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham/Smith Creek and the Lewis River Trails (2 days)
    - Moran State Park on Orcas Island
    - Hood River Trails, Surveyors Ridge plus one other (2 days)
    - McKenzie River (not on the weekend)
    - Bend

    I'm thinking of riding NUT and Lake in the Woods with my buddy from Bend before my wife arrives to join the trip. Take her to Waldo Lake and McKenzie River and one of the rides near Mt. St. Helens before we travel to Orcas Island to stay with her sister. Then on the way back south (solo) I can ride Lewis River and head to Hood and maybe meet a friend there, and then swing into Bend for a ride. Finish up in Oakridge before heading to Sacramento to visit friends. I'm also trying to convince a sister who is coming to visit, that she and her husband should fly into Salt Lake City, where I can pick them up and take them through southern Utah on the way home to Flagstaff. That might give me a day of riding near Park City as well as Reds Canyon near Bryce.

    Now to look at some campground links to find out where to park the camper along the way.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by abegold
    I'm also from Tucson and will be in the area after Labor Day for a week. NUT is on my list as I've ridden MRT twice and thought it was great. Everyone sais NUT is better.
    Twowheelsdown your Lake of the Woods ride sounds killer and hope I can join. Have you ridden Little Creek Mesa, south of Gooseberry?
    I did enjoy Falls Creek, WA, too. Not tech but lush and wet. Big wild strawberry patch.
    After all of the hospitality you guys from Tucson showed my wife and I, just let me know if we can take you on any of the rides in SW Washington. If not, we will see you guys again at XMAS.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Prodigal Son
    So many great suggestions for rides that I am working out a new list and planning on leaving several days earlier and having the wife fly up to Oregon to meet me (because she only has two weeks of vacation time).

    Leaving on Sept. 8th now. Trying to figure out how to ride the following;

    - North Umpqua (2 days)
    - Lake in The Woods to Hemlock Lake
    - Oakridge (2-4 days)
    - Waldo Lake (The Twins,Mt. Fuji, and Maiden Peak)
    - Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham/Smith Creek and the Lewis River Trails (2 days)
    - Moran State Park on Orcas Island
    - Hood River Trails, Surveyors Ridge plus one other (2 days)
    - McKenzie River (not on the weekend)
    - Bend

    I'm thinking of riding NUT and Lake in the Woods with my buddy from Bend before my wife arrives to join the trip. Take her to Waldo Lake and McKenzie River and one of the rides near Mt. St. Helens before we travel to Orcas Island to stay with her sister. Then on the way back south (solo) I can ride Lewis River and head to Hood and maybe meet a friend there, and then swing into Bend for a ride. Finish up in Oakridge before heading to Sacramento to visit friends. I'm also trying to convince a sister who is coming to visit, that she and her husband should fly into Salt Lake City, where I can pick them up and take them through southern Utah on the way home to Flagstaff. That might give me a day of riding near Park City as well as Reds Canyon near Bryce.

    Now to look at some campground links to find out where to park the camper along the way.

    This sounds almost perfect.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

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    Sounds like a truly awesome itinerary. There are probably darned few people here on the OR/WA boards who have actually ridden all the trails you're going to hit next month!
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  29. #29
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    Love Waldo lake, stay at the North Waldo campground,many rides right from camp. Ride to Charlton Lake and have several loops to choose from. Ride part of waldo to Betty lake, Little bit of road to The Twins trail, connect to Charlton and back to camp. If you don't have one already buy a Central Oregon trail map from www.adventuremaps.net, its a waterproof map with lots of trail details on it. Also I love Newberry crater ride.

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    summary of road trip (pics and trail reviews)

    The trip from Flagstaff to Oregon and Washington (mostly Oregon) went great. The weather was perfect, as were the trail conditions. How much did I like riding in Oregon? Well, I took almost a full week just to look at real estate in Bend, thinking we could move north and enjoy more of what we love to do. Now that we're back home, we realize it still requires finding jobs, and that will likely put the kibosh on the dream...for now.

    So I left Flagstaff back in early September and made a b-line to my favorite sushi bar in Las Vegas (Yama) to fuel up for the long drive. From sin city, I drove the porkchop express, pulling the "endo posse mobile command post" north through Reno andto a rest area about an hour north on 395. The following day I took the senic route into Bend and arrived by noon, at my sisters. I got in a run that afternoon before making plans to head to Hood River early the next morning to meet with my friend Allen.

    I haven't loaded pics for a while so it might take some time and editing this post to get the pics to all appear.

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    You can see the four 130 watt solar panels up on the roof, along with the high-def dish they help power during post-ride happy hour(s).
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    The bikes are locked and loaded.
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    Arrived in Hood River and drove over the bridge to Washington. Drove up the road to Allen's property, but there was no way to get into his driveway. Slept at a pull-out with this view. Not bad." width="549">


    This was somewhere along Lewis River Trail. We did a short ride near Hood River the day before and then set up camp near the Lewis River Trail." width="549">

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    I'm going to give my opinion / review / ratings of the trails based on two different things. The first is how I judge the trail by itself. The second is the overall experience of riding that trail. I have to admit I love riding near water features, so this trip was my favorite road trip in 20 years of riding.

    Lewis River Trail - I'd give the trail a 6 (on a scale of 1-10). The overall experience I'd rate at 9.5.

    The trail force you off your bike quite often. There would be 15-20 degree ups and downs. They were short but you'd spin-out trying to climb those sections. The water crossings often had a steep ledge coming out of the water that was off camber and impossible to ride. Then there were some other spots where the trail was blown out in a slide that required hike-a-bike. Still, the experience was so incredible, this trail will end up among one of the best rides I've ever done. (I put together a list of my all-time favorite rides and will find the appropriate thread to post it in, along with my all-time favorite list of bands, my second passion, after riding).


    Next, we drove to ride Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham. " width="549">


    Allen coming out of the woods in front of Mt. St. Helen
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    Got a bee sting in the hip while tinkering with the bike." width="549">

    Near the end of Plains of Abraham Trail." width="549">

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    Rode a bit further to view Spirit Lake" width="549">



    Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham - I give the trails a 9 and the experience a perfect 10!

    The trails were great and not so steep in any section that you had to walk your bike. There was a section that had blown out badly from spring run-off and you were forced to walk your bike for less than 100 feet. I liked riding in the woods for a while and then popping out onto land stripped of all vegetation, while looking up at Mt. St. Helen at we rode across the eastern flank. A spectacular day of riding.

    I'll continue on an new post so I don't overload the pictures.

    Prodigal Son
    Last edited by The Prodigal Son; 10-07-2009 at 03:35 PM. Reason: adding pictures

  31. #31
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    Glad you had a good time...And that's a nice set-up you have there for traveling.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

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    Back to Hood River to ride Surveyors Ridge...

    After we finished riding Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham, we hustled west, pulling the camper, in an attempt to get over to I-5 and down into Portland before Allen's favorite Vietnamese restaurant closed up. We just made it and enjoyed a fine bowl of Bun Thit Nguyen. We topped it off with blizzards at a Dairy Queen where we decided to spend the night. We got up and headed back to Hood River to ride Surveyors Ridge. Luckily, Allen's mother was visiting and was willing to shuttle us to the trail head.

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    I think we were moving along so fast we forgot to stop and take pictures, except for that last one with Mt. Hood in the background.

    Surveyors Ridge - The Trail gets a 9 and the overall experience a 7.

    I liked the trail. It was well maintained and rains from a few days earlier kept the dust down. There were not many sites and no water features like we had seen over in Washington on the previous two rides.

    Next, I got in a short ride in Bend, before loading up for a few days on the North Umpqua Trail. " width="549">

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    We set up the camper at the group campground about halfway between the top (eastern edge) of the North Umpqua Trail and the trail head on the western end. We decided to ride for two days and ride about half of the trail system. Allen's wife and another friend arrived after the first days ride and joined in on the second days ride. They also helped with the shuttle from camp. The first section we rode was from a horse camp, where the NUT Trail hits wilderness, and you can only ride to the west. That section was very dusty. When we arrived at the Lumalo Falls section, the real riding began." width="549">

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    The Lumalo Falls section of the NUT, along with the next section that dumps you off near the not spring, and the last two miles from there to camp, I'd rate a 9.5, with the overall experience a 10!

    Yes, the trail is wet in spots, but never slippery. There were bridge crossings where the bridge platform was a couple feet higher than the approach, so you had to carry your bike. There were also some large blow downs that blocked the trail but overall, this may be my all-time favorite ride. I loved the views of the river from high above and from sections that ran next to the river bank. The many waterfalls were some of the greatest sites you could ever see while riding. There were many technical challenges that I enjoyed and rolling sections that were like being at an amusement park on a giant coaster ride. It appeared that this trail got regular maintenance, and that really helped keep it from falling into disrepair. There was lots of poison oak but we didn't get into it.

    Day two was a bit odd. Allen's wife Lisa brought their boys along so we had some logistical challenges. Lisa and her friend Phillip took off early to ride the section below where we were camped. Allen thought the section we rode might be too technical for them to enjoy. Allen and I and the boys went and dropped off a shuttle vehicle at some trailhead downstream that was named after the river bend. I wanted to get on the road early and not ride with Allen in the afternoon so when we returned to camp, I got on my bike and gave chace to Lisa and Philip. I caught up to them about ten miles into the ride. This section had some very steep climbs and decents, but it was almost as beautiful as the previos days ride." width="549">

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    This section was still a lot of fun and had some great views.

    I'd rate the trail 7.5 and the riding experience a 9.

    There often isn't a lot you can do to a trail that was originally built for hiking, to make it a great experience for mountain bikers. The turns can be too tight, the climbs too steep and it can even have step sections. As someone who has spent over a dozen years building, maintaining, and restoring multi-use trails, I can say that volunteer work by mountain bikers and their local clubs has done a lot to improve the lines, flow and rhythm of trails designed for hikers and horses.


    I returned to my sisters in Bend and then went to pick up my wife Beth at the Redmond airport the following day. The plan was to head off to ride McKenzie River, North Umpqua Trail again, and then Waldo Lake, before heading back into Bend. First, we met Allen and Lisa and rode a couple hours along the Dechutes River. It's more of a hiking and jogging trail but it is quite beautiful and challenging.

    Deschutes River Trail gets an 8.5 for design and the riding experience was a 9.

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    I should have taken more pictures of the Descutes River Trail. Next, Beth and I drove to ride McKenzie River Trail. I dropped her and the bikes at the trailhead, drove down the highway and dropped the truck and camper at the Forest Service visiter center and got a ride back from some folks from Eugene. " width="549">

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    I had a great time. I've ridden MRT before and really enjoyed it. Beth didn't like it as much as I thought she would. Too many big chunks of lava that forced you to ride very slowly and carefully. The first few miles were smoother and you got to ride at a nice pace. The same is true of the final 5-10 miles. There was just a lot of technical sections in the middle that were very tight for people riding 29ers.

    McKenzie River Trail gets a 6 for trail design and the riding experience was an 8.

    That seems low in comparison to how others review the trail. Many rate it as the best ride they have ever done. I think Beth and I have always prefered trails that allow you to roll along at a good pace, with big sweeping turns, long climbs and long downhill sections. We rode the Jem Trail this spring and agreed with reviews that said it was the best flowing trail in the U.S. On my list of best rides ever, I have McKenzie River Trail at 16th. JEM trail in Hurricane is 5th.

    We drove to the same group camp next to the Umpqua River that I stayed at the week before. We only did one ride and it was from Lomalo Falls. Beth had a good time but had similar concerns as the day before. She was off her bike a lot in the tech sections and that usually means she isn't having the best time. Despite being an expert rider who once raced successfully, Beth did injure her arm this summer and had a full arm cast on for six weeks. I think that being off her bike for so long just before we left on this trip, had something to do with her ability to ride some of the technical sections. She did agree that it was a beautiful section of trail." width="549">

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    The next morning we drove over to Waldo Lake. I have I've ridden the trail before and was sure Beth would love it. I was right. She said it was the best ride she have ever gone on. The scenery was great all the way around the lake and the trail was almost completely rideable. There was just a couple short rock gardens that were on a steep washed out hill that might need to be rerouted. " width="549">

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    You can tell by the last couple photos that Beth was having a great time. She was all smiles this day. She would want me to rate this trail a 10 and a 10. Close.

    Waldo Lake Trail gets a 9.5 and another 9.5 for the experience of the ride.

    I currently have Waldo Lake listed at #2 on my all-time list. I like everything about it. I've never ridden it during mosquito season, so that's a plus. I really love the look of the burned out area on the first few miles. The trail is almost perfectly built and meticulously maintained. The views of the lake are inspiring. The length of the ride is just about right at 20 miles. You were able to maintain a good pace, at least a couple mph faster than some of the other rides we did. There was no shuttle required. This all adds up to one of the countries best rides.

    Need to do one last post to get in the final days pictures...

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    wrapping it all up...

    We returned to Bend for a day to rest before we headed to Portland on my birthday to eat out and see a show. Luck would have it that when I glanced at www.pollstar a few days before we left Flagstaff, I saw that one of my favorite singers was performing at the Doug Fir lounge in Portland on my birthday. Beth and I dropped the camper across the state line, at a Walmart in Vancouver, Washington, and drove back to Portland for dinner at a Thai / Vietnamese restaurant on Hawthorne. I was right to have a couple back-up restaurants written down because the first two choices were closed on Mondays. We enjoyed dinner and the walk along Hawthorn, where there were many hip little shops. We parked a couple blocks from the venue and were able to get in early enough to get a table. Most of the audience was standing during the show. Oh, the band was Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions. Hope was in Mazzy Star during the 90's and hadn't toured or released a record in years. I picked up her latest cd at the show. Her music is far from a rock show. It's a bit like seeing Julee Cruise or Elizabeth Frazer of Cocteau Twins or maybe Everything But The Girl perform. For me it was a perfect experience.

    We drove to Whidbey Island the next morning and hung out at Beth's sisters house. They have all sorts of chickens that cock a doodle doo during the early morning hours. We had to close the windows of our camper to sleep. Plus we had to be careful where we stepped in the yard and on their sidewalk. We went for one ride in a local park (Kettle Trail System) and it was sort of fun. There must have been 30 different trails and none of them were over a quarter mile long, all in very dense woods on steep hills. We most enjoyed the views of Peugent Sound

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    I left Whidbey alone and headed back to Bend. Beth flew home to get back to work. I had planned to continue on to California and then Salt Lake City and southern Utah for more riding but we got excited about getting home and seeing if we could sell our house and move to Bend before winter. Now that we've thought it over and found out how much we'd lose in this housing market, we've decided to stay put....for now.


    The Prodigal Son
    Last edited by The Prodigal Son; 10-07-2009 at 06:59 PM. Reason: add a picture

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    Glad to see you made it back alright, and had a good time.

    Me and my girlfriend were the ones you ran into on the "Dread and Terror" section of the trail. I got myself in a little hot water there, but not at the hot springs.

    We did dread and terror, and then did 8.5 miles of Deer Leap, and Sharon kept asking me when it was going to end. I kept telling her(blatantly lying) "Just one more hard hill to go." Then when we hit the end of Deer Leap, and she thought it was done, I said "OK, now just 5 more miles or so." My attempts to say "I love you" were met with guttural grunts, and glances at large, weapon size rocks. Whoops.

    We went to Moab on the way back to Tucson, and I redeemed myself. I paid for a shuttle and it took us up to 9,300 feet in the mountains, and then we climbed up higher from there, and then dropped all the way to the Colorado river down Porcupine rim. That was an awesome, awesome ride!! Lots of technical rocky stuff that Sharon loves. She was letting the brakes go and flying down everything with a big grin on her face. That was a great ride to end the trip with.

    Me and Sharon thought it was funny that we ran into you guys after posting on here before our trips. Now it's back to the desert heat, but at least the weather is cooling down now.

  35. #35
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    Nice!

    Certainly an awesome trip, with great pics to prove it!

    Evil Tracey and I have ridden many of the areas and trails that you hit, and we too really
    enjoyed it.

    I love the 5th wheel set-up. Some day, I gotta get me one.
    -- Evil Patrick

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    The trail...shall set you free.

  36. #36
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    It looks like you made good useof your time.

    Regarding MRT, some people love it, others not so much. Alot of the lava bcomes easier after riding it a few times.
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

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    Sasquatch, I agree with you. I think when you are traveling and riding one of the greatest trails in the country, you really want to take in all the beauty of the area around the trail. Like when we rode Jem Trail for the first time, we were able to ride along at a good clip and still look out at the mountain ranges in the distance , or over the cliff edge and look down at the Virgin River. With MRT, you are required to pay a bit more attention to what you are doing. Even more so while riding big wheel bikes. We got caught cheating a few times and hooked a pedal on a laval rock when we were enjoying the views.

    Evil Patrick, like most people who love to camp, we started off in a North Face tent and a coleman stove. We then had a pop-up camper for ten years and enjoyed it a lot. If it had held together I might not have gone out looking for something different. Pop-ups do poorly in windy conditions. The fiver is actually one of the smaller, shorter models. We have a 26 foot long driveway and were limited in length. If you go shopping for one, you can get great deals on used units. Expect a 50% drop from retail for a three year old unit. The solar system is what really set us back, despite how useful it is. We prefer to boondock and be all alone in the woods.

    twowheelsdown, Allen and I enjoyed meeting you two. Allen likes to fly down to Arizona in the winter and ride in Tucson or Phoenix. We might cross your path again.

    Everyone was right about Bend. The trails were very dusty. I guess they don't get much rain during the summer.

    Because I cut the trip short, I have to return to get in some rides around Oakridge, some day. I'll be sure to ask for advice from everyone here and I'll try to find some trails that Beth will enjoy as much as Waldo Lake. If you find yourself near Flagstaff, get in touch so we can show you what we have to offer. The great riding is not so plentiful like in Oregon but we can keep you smiling for a long weekend of riding.

    The Prodigal Son

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    Bumping this old thread to add a little info about Lake in the Woods (since this is the only mention of it I have found on the interwebz).

    - The gravel road begins 17 miles after Glide.
    - You drive another 10 miles on gravel to get to Lake in the Woods.
    - At the map at Hemlock go left around the right side of the lake. After 3/4 mile turn right toward Snowbird Trail. At the next junction, continue going right on Yellow Jacket Loop
    - The bottom 4 miles between Lake in the Woods and Hemlock Lake and the 1 mile between Hemlock and Flat Rock Trail are the best parts of the trail. The climb from Hemlock Lake and the couple of miles down to Flat Rock Trail are not as pristine and I found some ATV wear on the trails. Also, the meadows are okay, but the grasses get in the way of seeing the trail.
    - Total ride time including Flat Rock was 2.5 hours.

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