The state of Oregon offers breathtaking scenery, from the vast expanses of its deserts to the mountains of the Cascades and shores of the Pacific Coast. Oregon also offers some of the best infrastructure in the country for taking the two-wheeled path. Riders can pedal their way through the landscape with a choice of over 80 biking trails throughout the state. Whether you’re into road biking, off-street paved rides, or adventurous mountain biking trails, there’s a path for you. Let’s take a look at the longest biking trail in Oregon!
Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways
Oregon is the only state in the country with official Scenic Bikeways! These are some of the best bike rides in Oregon. They showcase breathtaking scenery, interesting state history and wind through local communities that are off the beaten path. These routes travel though state parks, on paved paths and roads, and across mountain passes and high deserts. The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program is the first of its kind in the country. While not designated an official scenic bikeway route, the longest biking trail in Oregon is a unique program of its own, designed to provide unparalleled access through the remote wonder of Oregon by bicycle!
The Longest Biking Trail in Oregon: The Oregon Timber Trail
The longest biking trail in Oregon is the Oregon Timber Trail, spanning 670 miles from the California border northbound to the Washington Border.
While there is a plethora of long trails to choose from throughout the state, the Oregon Timber Trail has them all beat in terms of length. Over the incredible span of this bikepacking challenge you’ll gain over 67,000 vertical feet and ride through some of the most stunning and remote areas of the state.
The expertly designed trail is well-maintained and offers riders a rich experience in traveling through diverse backcountry landscapes. It provides connection with local communities rich with history. South-to-north is the recommended riding direction. However, riders successfully travel the opposite direction with a little modification.
How Long Does it Take to Complete the Oregon Timber Trail?
You can complete the entire trail in roughly 20-30 days. However, if you would like a taste of the trail without committing to its entirety, you can take on smaller sections or just go on a day ride.
The trail is divided into four tiers: the Fremont Tier, Willamette Tier, Deschutes Tier, and the Hood Tier. Some choose to traverse the entire route, either at their own pace, or timing the ride and racing to complete the trail. Others choose to ride just one segment or tier and explore the route slowly over time. Tier Loops are designed to be covered over the course of two to five days. It’s also possible to ride without bikepacking gear by traveling to a “Gateway Community” for rides that are just a few hours.
Racing the OTT
The OTT is a self-timed Individual time trial race. There is no entry fee or prize money for participating. What is provided for racers is a route description, suggested start time, and a list of results. It’s recommended that those participating do donate to the Oregon Timber Trail Alliance in order to support the trails continued improvement and maintenance.
Planning for Riding the OTT
Although this trail was designed as a mountain biking route, the entirety of it is multi-use. Hikers, hunters, equestrians, and backpackers may all be present on the trail at one point or another. The trail is more than 60 percent singletrack and intended to be a bikepacking route. You will carry your gear for the duration of the roughly month-long journey.
The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance offers a lengthy route guide as well as hundreds of detailed route files. This information is available to you as a rider at no cost. However, despite the incredible wealth of support the alliance offers in planning, the route is still developing and unrefined. It’s important that you are up for challenges and set out ready to adapt to the unexpected. Detours and trail closures should be checked in advance.
For the OTT you should be physically prepared and have some backcountry experience. Riders often plan the journey for months before embarking. The route winds through some wild and remote landscapes where encounters with wildlife, extremes of weather, and potential supply shortages are all challenges to consider.
The Oregon Timber Trail Route
When not winding through the remote backcountry, the route touches upon many gateway communities. These are unique and remote Oregon towns that offer an opportunity to reload and recoup for the next leg of the route. Add your entry to the “Trail Logs” at businesses along the route which give accounts of riders’ journeys.
- Lakeview – Mile 0: At 4,800 feet, the highest town in Oregon is a great place to start your trek. An active geyser, a giant cowboy, and a hot springs resort await you. Trail Log at: Tall Town Bike and Camp
- Paisley – Mile 92: Home of the annual Mosquito Festival and the saloon has a bar that traveled all the way around Cape Horn. Trail Log at: Paisley Mercantile
- Silver Lake – Mile 148: The Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant is famous for its steak and chicken dinner served with lemonade. Trail Log at: Silver Lake Mercantile
- Chemult – Mile 207: A truck stop town on Hwy 97. Last stop until Oakridge. Trail Log at: Loree’s Chalet
- Oakridge – Mile 300: The midpoint of the OTT and a world-famous mountain biking destination. Explore the trail network nearby! Trail Log at: Willamette Mercantile
- Sisters – Mile 432: Western-themed town along the Santiam Wagon Road. A great spot to load up on supplies. Trail Log at: Blazin Saddles
- Idanha – Mile 515: Rest up in the middle of the cascade mountains and stop for an ice cream! Trail Log at: Idanha Country Store
- Parkdale – Mile 639: Tucked within the Hood River Valley. Trail Log at: Parkdale Inn
- Hood River – Mile 669: The final destination of the OTT! Celebrate your success and reflect on the journey. Trail Log at: 10-Speed Coffee
The Four Tiers
|Tier 1||Fremont Tier||Starts at the highest point of the Oregon Timber Trail and traverses the |
140-mile Fremont National Recreation Trail. Incredible
views from the Winter Rim mountain range.
|Tier 2||Willamette Tier||Deserts, ponderosa forests, and open range|
lead into dark, lush forests as you crest the Cascade
Mountain Range. Follow along Willamette River’s middle
|Tier 3||Deschutes Tier||Dry side of the Cascade Range. World-renowned mountain |
bike trails in this area. The Oregon Timber Trail utilizes
these as it leaves Waldo Lake and travels through the
Cascade Lakes area.
|Tier 4||Hood Tier||Winds up and down through backcountry landscapes. |
Offers views of Mount Jefferson and Mount
Hood. The Old Cascade Crest is steep but rewarding.
History of the Oregon Timber Trail
This Oregon Timber Trail was conceived in 2015 and is still a work in progress. It was designed to provide mountain biking experiences that weave through Oregon communities and backcountry landscapes. The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance is dedicated to stewardship. It promotes education, supports community, and fosters quality trail experiences. The intention is to promote personal growth and wellbeing of riders and to support Oregon’s rural communities. Riders come from around the world to explore Oregon’s backcountry and set off on an adventure that spans the entire state.
Wildlife on the Longest Biking Trail in Oregon
There’s nothing quite like moving at the pedaling pace and taking in the sights and sounds of nature. While some wildlife encounters are a special treat, others require incredible caution. Awareness of your surroundings and respecting the space of any wildlife you encounter are important practices while on the trail.
While there are no grizzly bears in Oregon, you might spot a black bear. They’ll leave you alone if you leave them alone. Be sure not to get between a mamma bear and her cubs. Mountain lions are curious but elusive creatures that also prefer to leave you alone. If you encounter either of these predators while on the trail, do not run. Instead, make yourself appear as large as possible and yell firmly and loudly.
To prevent raccoons, squirrels, and others from pilfering through your food stashes, pack them away carefully. Bug repellent is a great idea, as mosquitoes are voracious feeders in high country.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Amy Bradley MNR/Shutterstock.com
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- Travel Oregon, Available here: https://oregontimbertrail.org
- Oregon Timber Trail, Available here: https://traveloregon.com/things-to-do/outdoor-recreation/bicycling/mountain-biking/weekenders-guide-oregon-timber-trail/