Tucked away 20 miles west of Astoria in the quaint city of Clatskanie, Oregon, lies a small network of forest trails that has garnered mixed reviews from the local mountain biking community. Primarily following Gnat Creek, these trails offer a unique experience for bikers seeking less crowded paths.Key Features:
The trailhead commences at the Gnat Creek fish hatchery car park, easily accessible via US Highway 30. Regrettably, the trailhead does not offer any facilities, so ensure you're geared up before making the trip.
The Gnat Creek trail network is one of the few mountain-bike approved trails in the area. Expect a route of gravel-based single track, with an assortment of technical challenges including roots, rocks, and occasional creek crossings.
Starting from the campground trailhead, the lower section of the trail presents a challenging surface. The frequent roots and occasional stairs or log drop-offs might require dismounting, but these obstacles are well within the capabilities of a seasoned mountain biker. Gaining speed is possible if you choose your lines wisely.
Once you cross the highway and reach the hatchery—which intriguingly resembles a distant swimming pool—the trail opens up into a more forgiving terrain. The upper section is less rooty, offers steeper climbs, and rewards bikers with exhilarating descents. Flowy areas and opportunities to catch some air make this portion of the trail a thrill.
Gnat Creek Trails might not be everyone's cup of tea. If Mt. Hood is within the same distance, the choice becomes obvious for many. But if you find yourself near Clatskanie and want a less crowded trail with a smattering of technical challenges, Gnat Creek Trails are worth a spin. Ideal perhaps for families and individuals who prefer a quiet route, but don't expect this trail network to replace any of your go-to mountain biking destinations.