Oakridge, Oregon, often lauded as the 'Mountain Bike Capital of the Northwest', offers a myriad of thrilling trails. Among these, one stands tall, a moniker not given lightly - the Alpine Trail, often referred to as the "Crown Jewel" of the Oakridge trails.
A Glimpse into the Trail
- Distance: 20 mi
- Level: Intermediate
- Route type: Loop
- City: Oakridge
- State: Oregon
- Trail Scenery: Alpine Trail offers stunning vistas of majestic mountains, rich alpine meadows, and old growth forests. Riders are treated to a view that feels surreal; a rocky valley landscape surrounded by picturesque mountainous backdrops. It's no exaggeration to say that the experience feels like pedaling through a fairytale.
- Trail Type: This is pristine singletrack, groomed for both speed and beauty. The majority of the ride feels like a roller-coaster, offering stretches that invite speed through tight woods. It boasts various surfaces, including armored rock piles, smooth dirt, and off-camber turns.
- Skill Levels: The trail caters to almost endless loop possibilities for riders of all skill levels. However, respect the trail's challenges. There's speed, and then there's Alpine speed; a high velocity that could surprise even seasoned riders.
Insights from Fellow Cyclists
- The trail, in essence, offers a pure singletrack experience without freeride features. However, its inherent speed and steepness do present opportunities for airborne moments.
- Alpine is often compared to the likes of the popular Porcupine Rim in Moab. A striking distinction though is the shade. The canopy of the forest engulfs riders in a pleasant, protective embrace.
- The trail isn't just about exhilarating descents. Riders should expect climbs, which, while not excessively steep, are part of the trail's character.
- Safety is paramount. Sections of the trail can encourage speeds that border on reckless. Tight switchbacks can appear suddenly, and the dense woods might limit visibility.
To embark on this adventure, head east from I-5 on Hwy 58 to Oakridge. Before reaching Oakridge, take a left towards West fir. Park just beyond the Covered Bridge. Embark on the North Fork Road for roughly 3.5 miles, cross a bridge on Rd. 1910. From this point, there are three common loop variations, ranging from 8 to 33 miles. For a comprehensive map and further information, visit the Willamette Mountain Mercantile in Oakridge.
While the climb is rewarding, for those looking to maximize the downhill fun factor, shuttles can be purchased in town. Options include the Cogwild Tour Shuttle Van and services from Oregon Adventures. Both of these services leave from the Willamette Mountain Mercantile Bike shop in Oakridge.
Whether one shuttles to the top or earns their descent through a rewarding climb, the Alpine Trail delivers a remarkable biking experience. A balance of beauty, thrill, and challenge, it's an essential ride for anyone visiting Central Oregon. The consensus? If you're in the western USA, it's a MUST RIDE!