When it comes to natural beauty, it’s hard to compete with the state of Oregon. With its giant old-growth cedar forests, majestic Cascade Mountains, and rugged coastline, Oregon is the perfect environment for incredible mountain biking experiences.
Much of the state’s mountain biking trails are in the central part of the state.
Bend, with its position just east of Cascade Mountains, is considered the hub of the state’s MTB community. Many of the state’s best MTB trails spider web out into the mountains from the western side of the city in a vast network of trails that cover more than 270 miles.
Bend trails such as the popular McKenzie River Trail encompass everything from rugged cross country with long technical climbs to flowy freerides with stunts and jumps, all featuring Oregon’s lush tall forests as a setting.
You’ll also find a significant number of trails least of the Portland Metro area in the area of Mount Hood. This includes the popular flow trails that make up the Sandy Ridge Trail system and the scenic Timberline to Town cross-country trail. These classic cross-country trails feature epic ascents and breathtaking views of Mt. Hood.
With its rugged and diverse landscape, Oregon offers a wide range of MTB experiences ranging from classic cross-country trails to modern flow trails, to high adrenaline downhill parks.
Here are 10 of the best mountain bike trails in Oregon.
1. Phil’s Trail, Deschutes River Woods
Bend is a mounting biking mecca and the guy behind the city’s mountain biking origins is Phil Meglasson, who has been working to develop Bend’s MTB scene for the past 40 years.
For that reason, it only makes sense to check out the trail that started it all; Phil’s Trail.
This trail, located just five minutes from town, is your classic cross-country mountain biking trail. It winds through groves of pine before descending rapidly. There are plenty of whoop de doos towards the end with rocks to navigate and a few jumps to catch air.
2. McKenzie River Trail, McKenzie Bridge
You couldn’t very well make a list of the best trails in Oregon without including McKenzie River, one of the more famous trails in the country. It’s 25 miles long and almost entirely downhill.
You won’t be flying to the bottom though. The rocky and technical terrain at the top makes the first part of this trail slow going. There are also simply too many photo opportunities, including clear lakes, old-growth forests, and beautiful waterfalls, not to slow down and enjoy the views.
The technical work ends midway through as the lower section smooths out and becomes some of the best flow trails you can find in Oregon.
3. Black Rock Intro Loop, Falls City
This mountain bike park, located far from civilization deep in the Oregon woods, is a downhill rider’s dream.
It features two main loops; the 10-mile, Black Rock Intro Loop, and 2-mile Sickter Gnar. Both are all downhill, and both are loaded with ladders, jumps, coasters, drop-offs, tables, and high berms.
The sheer volume of man-made wood features here is impressive and a clear indication of the passion of Black Rock’s trail builders.
Intro Loop is the easier of the two with ride-around options while Sickter Gnar ups the difficulty level with its technical rock gardens.
4. Wilson River, Banks
Wilson River is cross-country mountain biking at its best.
This trail treats you to Oregon’s rugged natural beauty, taking you deep into tall forests while skirting Wilson River and scaling two mountains.
The terrain is narrow singletrack that winds through the lush beauty of Oregon. Although the trail is well maintained, it feels like its managers wanted it to be as minimally invasive as possible.
It’s narrow enough that at times you’ll feel your blazing some parts as foliage brushes your legs. And while much of it is smooth and not very technical, the climb that skirts Kings Mountain is strenuous with gradients reaching 20 percent at times.
5. Ochoco National Forest - Round Mountain, Prineville
Much of the trails you find in Oregon are deep in the Oregon woods. This is not one of them.
Ochoco takes you across open ridgelines, offering stunning views of the mountains around Bend, Oregon.
The best loop to take is Round Mountain, which sends you on a tour of the Ochoco Mountains. This is not a trail for thrills, unless you’re into amazing views from balds and ridgelines.
Each mile is hard won with technical single track and more than 5,000 feet of grueling climbing. You can complete this loop in a day, but keep in mind that you’ll be hard pressed to average much more than 5 mph.
6. Post Canyon Hot Lap, Hood River
Located in the mountain biking rich Mt. Hood area, Post Canyon Hot Lap offers a free ride experience like no other. If you begin at the bottom, you make a gradual climb that includes multiple stream crossings through a forest of tall pines.
At the top, the real fun begins with a bevy of jaw-dropping wooden structures designed solely for expert riders. The descent is over four miles of pure downhill with twists, turns and countless opportunities to catch major air.
The best loop in this system is the Hot Lap, which includes a challenging climb followed by an exhilarating descent.
7. Alpine Trail, Oakridge
More often than not, true cross country trails offer amazing views and scenery, but usually, the cost is rugged terrain and grueling climbs. That’s not the case with this uber-popular x-country mountain biking trail, which features shuttle service to the top.
From the peak, you’ll ride through huge meadows of wildflowers and forests of ancient trees as you navigate this trail. The views are amazing, but the highlight is the descent, which covers a whopping 16 miles and 6,500 feet.
Don’t want to skip the climb? Then start at the bottom and make the 2,000-foot ascent to the top.
8. Taylor Creek, Merlin
It’s true that most of the mountain biking in Oregon is near Bend in the central part of the state, but there are still some great trails in other parts of the state.
One of those is Taylor Creek, which offers some of the best Mountain Biking in Southern Oregon.
The trail’s lower section is commonly referred to as the Jedi trail and there’s a good reason for it.
This fast-flowing beginner/intermediate trail weaves and winds through massive ponderosa pines. If you’re familiar with the Star Wars movies, it’s easy to see why this trail is named after Return of the Jedi.
9. Timberline to Town Trail, Government Camp
You’ll want to make sure your brakes are in good working order for this trail, because you’re going to be using them quite a bit. This is a straight drop from top to bottom, descending some 2,000 feet over 5.5 miles.
Take a shuttle to the Timberline lodge and start down, you’ll be pedaling very little, if at all, with your hand taking on the bulk of the work as you keep tension on the brakes.
Don’t worry, you do get a few brakes in the downward grade to catch your breath, flex your hands, and snap a few selfies with Mt. Hood in the background.
10. Alsea Falls, Monroe
One of the better mountain bike trails systems in the coastal region of Oregon, Alsea Fall has much to offer. The trail offers a little bit of everything, from wide flowing singletrack to challenging climbs to fast downhills to wide fire roads.
The varied terrain is all pieced together to create a 13-mile loop. Highlights include Lower Highballer, with its massive berms and a quick succession of switchbacks.
This trail system is designed for beginners to advanced riders with the more difficult trails higher up the mountain. Springboard is an excellent flow trail with plenty of options to catch air while Dutchman offers more technical singletrack.