A group of incredible Oregonians has done tremendous work to make the Oregon Timber Trail Route happen. These volunteers right here.
So what’s that?
The Oregon Timber Trail is an iconic 668-mile backcountry mountain bike route spanning Oregon’s diverse landscapes from the California border to the Columbia River Gorge. Work developing the trail and route resources has been underway for eighteen months and this week the world gets to see the fruits of that labor.
Running south to north through a variety of mountain bike trails the route can be planned for a wide range of intermediate to advanced cyclists.
Four unique tiers and landscapes
Diverse backcountry singletrack
Alpine lakes and quiet campsites
Countryside steeped in native legends and settler’s lore
Old growth groves and vast prairies
Bubbling trout streams and herds of antelope
Historic pack routes and rowdy flow trails
Ghost towns and backwoods diners
91% unpaved, 51% singletrack
I’d love to put some tires to dirt and ride this trail. Anticipating the epicness of the routes, and 670 miles, the OTA is organized by tiers. So you can ride its entirety for an adventure of a lifetime, or spread it out over a few years one tier at a time.
The Oregon Timber Trail aptly starts in the middle of nowhere on the California border. You’ll leave Oregon’s highest town and traverse the 150 mile Fremont National Recreation Trail. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views from Winter Rim, a feast at the legendary Cowboy Dinner Tree, and have the opportunity to stay at a number of primitive fire lookouts.
The Willamette Tier is markedly different from the Fremont Tier. The dry deserts, sparse ponderosa forests and wide open rangeland give way to dark, verdant, and loamy forests as soon as you crest the Cascade Range. You’ll follow feeder streams and springs of the Willamette River’s Middle Fork for much of this tier, putting your water scarcity worries at ease—at least for now.
The Deschutes Tier takes you back over to the dry, volcanic eastern flank of the Cascade Range. Bend is famous for its large network of world-class mountain bike trails and the Oregon Timber Trail takes advantage of them as it leaves Waldo Lake and winds its way through the Cascade Lakes region and around Mt. Bachelor.
As you head into the Hood Tier you may think you’re on the final stretch—that is if you haven’t looked at the elevation profile. The Hood Tier takes you up and down, across countless backcountry ridges and streams, first teasing you with imposing views of Mount Jefferson and eventually Mount Hood itself. The Old Cascade Crest is steep and rewarding, eventually dropping you near Detroit Lake and up to Olallie Lakes through the Breitenbush Hot Springs valley.
Learn more about the OTT, the tires, and planning your ride: