Sunday, May 24, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Why Corvallis is the Center of Mountain Biking in Oregon

I think Corvallis Oregon is the best place to live for a mountain biker.  Now there are a many out there who would disagree with me (especially on forums, but they disagree about everything there :-)).

So in honor of David Letterman's last show, here are my Top 10 Reasons why Corvallis is the Center of Mountain Biking in Oregon:
  1. McDonald & Dunn Forest - Northwest Corvallis butts up against McDonald Forest so there are many entrances into the trails from the city limits.  Some are official and maintained by the Forestry Department at OSU.  Some are maintained by others (it will take a local to find them), but all involve climbing which makes you a and the descents can be tight fast and steep. Typical ride is 1200 to 1800 feet of elevation in just 3 or 4 miles.  Riding is mostly road up and trail down. This provides year round riding. See
  2. Black Rock Mountain Bike Park - BR is only about 30 minutes northwest from Corvallis in Falls City (check out the Bread Board for eats and treats after the ride).  BRMBA has done an amazing job creating a mountain bike play area with well maintained trails, obstacles and play area.  This is a joint Forest Service venture and it is amazing. While the Bonzi Downhill is listed as a green run, it is really a blue run.  This is not a place to take someone for the first time on a mountain bike. Riding is road up and one-way trail down, so no worries about going fast.  Doing a couple of section loops will give you 1900 feet in about 8 miles. See
  3. Alsea Falls - AF is about 30 miles southwest of Corvallis and is another joint effort with the Forest Service. It has a paved 4 mile climb (except for the last 1/4 mile to the new top section). Team Dirt has put in thousands of hours creating this gem in just a few short years. While there are plans for blue and black diamond in the works, most of the current trails are green and give you a total different experience than BR.  AF is all about flow.  You can do 2 miles or more at a stretch and never have to pedal as you work on your "pump track" skills.  Banked turns and flowy whoops are what AF is all about.
  4. Mary's Peak - With a trailhead that is just 20 minutes west Corvallis just outside of Philomath, Mary's Peak is the highest point in the Coast Range.  Starting at the end of Woods Creek Road, you can do the Peak Triangle which consists of a gravel road connector to the climb the East Rim Trail then come down the North Rim Trail.  This loop is 10 miles long and gains 2200 feet.  On a clear day you can see the ocean, Mt. Hood the Sisters and even south to Thielsen.  These trails are maintained by the Forest Service and you need to watch for hikers on busy weekend or holiday afternoons. This is a blue run (not one for the first timer or even the third timer, with some short but very technical sections. Roots and rocks, but mostly a very well maintained trail. See!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTJw8jAwjQL8h2VAQAzHJMsQ!!/?navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&recid=42311&actid=&navid=110000000000000&pnavid=&ss=110612&position=&ttype=recarea&pname=Forest%20Service%20%20-%20Marys%20Peak
  5. McKenzie Trail - Voted trail of the year by MBA in 2013 the McKenzie is only 2 hours west from Corvallis in the Cascade range and runs almost 30 miles top to bottom past waterfalls, lava fields and the "blue pool." It is divided into three sections.  The top section to Trailbride Camp Ground is the most difficult (blue black) because of the lava rock you will go through over and around, but the views of the falls and blue pool are worth it.  The middle section runs from Trailbridge to Belnap Hot Springs and is fast and flowy along the river and through the trees is a green run. The last section from Belnap to McKenzie Bridge is more of the same just on the other side of the river (green run). Not much elevation gain if you run it top to bottom.  I generally go from the trailhead to Belnap for 18 miles of pure fun. See!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPyhQoY6BdkOyoCAGixyPg!/?ss=110618&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=STELPRDB5212039&navid=180000000000000&pnavid=null&position=News&ttype=detail&pname=Willamette%20National%20Forest-%20News%20.
  6. Oak Ridge - Home of Mountain Bike Oregon - Oak Ridge is about 1.5 hours southwest and is a great place to ride classic trails that are blue/green in nature.  There are a number of trails but the classic is the Alpine Trail which is almost 15 miles long. The best way to see this area is to sign up with Oregon Adventures and do their 17K in a Day adventure.  They will shuttle you to the top of 6 of the best trails and you'll climb a total 3500 but descend 17000.  See and Oregon Adventure at
  7. The Lumber Yard - an indoor bike park located 1.5 hours north of Corvallis near the Portland Airport.  While not as large as Ray's, it will still keep you smiling and worked.  You can ride your BMX for the verts or stick to the mountain bike loops.  It is great fun and funner than you think. See or this video from my last ride there
  8. Sandy Ridge Trail System - just 2 hours northeast of Corvallis outside of Sandy Oregon is another joint effort with the Forest Service and is a mountain bike only park.  It has a paved 3 3/4 mile climb on a closed road and 15 miles of well maintained trails for all levels. The parking lot will be full, but you won't notice it on the trails.  Just a great place to ride and improve your skills. See
  9. Bend - just under 3 hours east of Corvallis in the high desert, Bend (and I would include Sisters with Peterson Ridge trails) has miles and miles of trails through Phil's Trail System (like COD), the Deschutes River Trail and higher trails like Funner (my personal favorite) and Tiddlywinks.  Mt. Bachelor has also opened up their bike park for lift access trails. It is also home of the High Cascade 100 which is a 100 miles COTA does a great job maintaining and building new trails.  You can spend a week there and only scratch the surface of the trails available.  What I like is that miles to elevation ratio of the riding in Bend compared to Corvallis.  It is much flatter, something you wouldn't expect, but the riding is more on powdery volcanic sandy surface when dry so it can be dusty in the late summer.
  10. Everything Else - A mild climate and no snow allows you to ride year in the Mac/Dunn (yes there is rain, so you'll get wet and muddy at times), there are 4 bike shops and a bike co-op, there are the Mud Slinger Events in the Blodget Trail System only 30 minutes west of Corvallis, new trails in Newport (50 minutes west of Corvallis), Hood River Trails only 2.5 hours northeast, and of course the NUT which is 2 hours south.  Then there is the Beaver Freezer - the largest Sprint Triathlon with an indoor swim with a mountain bike division.  And even though I don't trust riding on the streets, Corvallis is bike friendly place with bike lanes on all the major streets.  The only bad thing about Corvallis and bikes is the amount of bikes that are stolen each year.  That is the problem with a "sleepy" little college town.
Well there you have, now it is up to you but for me, I'm going riding! You should too.


  1. Craig, You've made me want to move to Corvallis.

  2. Pedal to enjoy the greatest landmarks of Nepal
    Mountain biking tours in Nepal is the fastest growing alternative adventure activities. Nepal is definitely a great destination to experience the cycling adventure in the rugged trails of mid-hills and Lower Great Himalayan Trail.

  3. Cheers! You have really allured me; I have no words to explain my feelings about your post.