Oregon Timber Trail

Discussion in 'Bikepacking' started by Faust29, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    http://www.statesmanjournal.com/sto...llow-mountain-biking-across-oregon/420775001/

    New route to allow mountain biking across Oregon
    Oregon is teeming with adventure-seeking cyclists, so the idea of biking across the state is not a new one.

    But the idea of off-road biking across the state on a route that is more than half singletrack is a new one.

    It is called the Oregon Timber Trail, and it has some mountain bikers and long-distance bikepackers giddy with excitement at the prospect of attempting part of the 670-mile route from south of Lakeview north to Hood River, or all of it.

    The route is entirely pre-existing trails or roads and is made up of about 50 percent singletrack, 40 percent dirt roads and 10 percent pavement, according to project manager Gabriel Tiller. The trail is organized into four tiers from south to north: the Fremont Tier, Willamette Tier, Deschutes Tier and Hood Tier. The route, which includes 66,000 feet of elevation gain, carefully avoids wilderness areas and other trails on which bikes are not permitted.

    “These are all areas that we should have been exploring and riding our bikes, but we haven’t had a catalyst yet,” said Bend’s Adam Craig. “Now we have that.”

    Becoming a reality
    Craig, a former Olympic and pro mountain biker, was part of a recent trail stewardship outing that cleared miles and miles of downed trees on the Fremont Tier. He said it is likely that he will eventually become the Deschutes Tier stewardship coordinator, organizing trail work on that stretch of the OTT.

    The Deschutes Tier cuts through Central Oregon on some familiar and perhaps not-so-familiar trails and roads, passing by several Cascade lakes, Mount Bachelor, Tam McArthur Rim, the communities of Sisters and Camp Sherman, and the old Santiam Wagon Road.

    Oregontimbertrail.org, the route guide and detailed maps have yet to be released, as they are still being reviewed.

    “The route guide is written and pretty much signed off on, but we’re just waiting to get a thumbs up from all the different groups,” Tiller said. “There’s a lot of stakeholders involved in the whole process.”

    Tiller adds that the goal is to have the detailed maps and route guide online by the end of June, so those who want to ride the trail this year can start by mid-July.

    On the heels of bikepacking trend
    The OTT is being introduced just as bikepacking is increasing in popularity. Bikepacking involves cycling over long distances and over an extended period of time while camping each night. The estimated time to complete the entire OTT for a bikepacker is 20 to 30 days.

    Another popular bikepacking route in Oregon is the 364-mile Oregon Outback, a route of mostly gravel roads that cuts through the High Desert from Klamath Falls to the confluence of the Deschutes and Columbia rivers.

    “It’s sort of a burgeoning sport,” Tiller said of bikepacking. “People have been camping with their bikes for a long time, but for whatever reason it’s sort of real hot right now, this bikepacking trend. I expect it to continue to be popular, because it’s gotten a lot easier recently, just with a lot of changes in gear technology. You’re able to pack lighter and camp more comfortably. It really opens up a lot of doors. To me, it’s unique when compared to hiking or backpacking, in that you can cover a lot more distance a lot quicker, and end up seeing a lot more diversity of landscape.”

    James Good, the owner of Good Bike Co. in Prineville, is on the board for the Oregon Timber Trail and is an experienced bikepacker who offers clinics at his shop. The Oregon Outback route passes through Prineville and the Ochoco National Forest.

    While the OTT does not pass through Prineville, Good is still excited about the route and hopes to ride it by next year.

    “I think it’s incredible,” Good said. “Why not, right? A lot of the bikepacking focus is gravel. This is a little more specific mountain biking since you’re on singletrack. This is pretty unique, and a rare opportunity as well. There’s not too many trails like that.”

    Split into tiers
    The four tiers of the trail are sort of natural breaking points, according to Tiller. The Fremont Tier includes the 175-mile Fremont National Recreation Trail and sprawling views from Winter Rim.

    “We opened up some trail there that hadn’t been open for 10 years, so now you can actually ride from Paisley up all the way to the top of Winter Rim,” Tiller said. “That’s been really unused because it had so many trees down. But I feel like that’s going to become a really iconic place for people to visit down there.”

    The Willamette Tier includes the Middle Fork Willamette Trail to Oakridge, and trails that require a strenuous climb up Bunchgrass Ridge toward Waldo Lake.

    The Deschutes Tier includes lightly used trails from Waldo to Cultus Lake, then the route passes Lava Lake before circling around Mount Bachelor on the Edison-Lava Trail. The route also uses the Dinah-Moe-Humm Trail, and it crosses Cascade Lakes Highway from Wanoga Sno-park to Swampy Lakes Sno-park just a few miles southwest of Bend. From the Swampy Lakes area, the route connects to Road 370 near Todd Lake then goes up and over the Cascade Range and down into Sisters. The routes passes through the Suttle Lake and Camp Sherman areas and then on to the old Santiam Wagon Road.

    The Hood Tier features an old trail system through the foothills of Mount Jefferson and the Surveyor’s Ridge Trail before the route descends into the town of Hood River.

    “It’s a cool opportunity to connect together a bunch of existing trails and scenic stopovers,” Craig said. “I like the fact that they’re including a bunch of history of the region in the whole project and route book. I think it’s a really good opportunity for people just to see some pieces of Oregon that they wouldn’t normally see.”
     
  2. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Nice!!!! TFPU!

    50% is a lot of ST. The CT boasts 60%, but I was glad to hit forest roads when they came up.

    The more states do this, the more others will, essentially, have to (CA notwithstanding o_O). VT, OR, UT, AZ, MT, CO, NM, almost WY all now have trans-border dirt routes. Better get busy... :cool::geek:
     
  3. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Hopefully people behave better than on the Oregon outback which was overwhelmed by hipster douchebags who (literally) Sh!t all over the place so the grand depart had to be permanently cancelled.

    It wouldn't be that hard to put something like this together in CA. Stagecoach 400 gets you from SD to Idyllwild. I've been working on a route to connect that to Tour de los Padres. Instead of that connect up to Kernville area. I also have a loop going together there. Then connect to the Caldera 500 route which gets you up to Bridgeport. Then it wouldn't be hard to connect up to Tahoe area and the CA Sierra Trail Race route. From Tahoe you can connect to Downieville/Quincy on trails. Not sure what after that there is lots of public land up to Oregon.
     
  4. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Thanks for posting this. Adam Craig has a reputation as being a great dude - I know he is a very talented rider/racer. Anyone involved in adding singletrack for mtb is a hero in my eyes.
     
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  5. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    @evdog, I agree not "that hard" to devise a route, but getting the state to sanction it as others have. Keep tinkering, man. We have more "vertical" space than any state on the lower 48, so will be a nice, long one. If AZT is 800 mi, CAT would be 1200 or more, plus the diversity would be incredible. :thumbsup:
     
  6. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Interesting, I must have only half read the article, didn't see the part about the route being sanctioned. That is awesome.

    I agree it would be more difficult to achieve here. But the good news is they have set a precedent / model to follow with USFS for creation such a route.

    It will be interesting to see if they intend to eventually build out new singletrack to replace sections that are currently dirt road or pavement.
     
    Sasquatch9billion likes this.
  7. OTHRider

    OTHRider Member

    Name:
    Duke
    Current Bike:
    '14 Giant TCX SLR2 Cross Bike
  8. CarlS

    CarlS Member

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Name:
    Carl
    Current Bike:
    Walmart $50 special
    Has anyone else done any of the North Umpqua River Trail? I did an out and back on the the dread and terror segment and OMG it had some gnar HAB. I was cramping from getting on and off the bike so much. I can't imaging it on a loaded bikepacking rig. I don't know how you would do the entire 60 miles unsupported. maybe the rest of the trail is more smooth and fast.

    now I think about it: Fishing pole and water filter will help you survive I suppose. you are along the river after all.
     
    herzalot likes this.
  9. da big hills

    da big hills Well-Known Member

    Location:
    pearl harbor
    Name:
    cagey
    Current Bike:
    enduro 29
    The old Santiam Wagon Road: Jumps up the east side by Big Lake, all developed roads just climbing. Once over the top its in a large dead forest that was killed by a big forest fire, then into the lava. No six pack baby knobs on this old road bed. You will need nice heavy lugs or they will get ripped off down to the thread. No crashing here as the red glass rock will cut deep. At the bottom you can take the McKenzie underground river trail for real glass rocks mixed in with the red glass rock. Stay on the single track, there is a lot of air opportunities but a big price is paid if you leave the trail bed, even an inch. Trail makes a cool Clinky sounds as you pass, it is a warning that says "hey I am sharp, want to play?.

    North Umpqua River Trail: This is old forest trail that rides like a climb in either the up river or down river direction. You basically climb 100's and swoop down to the river over and over again. Every 5 miles there is a bailout bridge if you get burnt and need to bail. It too has a burnt forest section from an old forest fire. It does not have glass rock danger as the lava here is very old. You can ride this trail all day and not pass one other person or bike. The best parts are near Steamboat.
    Happy Oregon Trails
     
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  10. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    I rode NUT over two days a few years ago. Not bikepacking, but two point 2 point day rides. Pretty long days. As you say a lot of it is sawtooth elevation profile - steep down, steep up, repeat. A few sections on the second day (west end) weren't as bad. I recall the Panther section being really nice and lush. I think the section or two west of Dread and Terror were the worst, and not much for waterfalls to look at anymore.
     
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  11. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    What dabighills said. It's river riding that makes it tiring – very gradual descent with many punchy climbs. Adding a load on NU is not really consequential.
     
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