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New MTB trail system planned in Cascade Locks

Posted by on March 24th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Some of the proposed trails.
– Download larger map here

It’s still a drive from Portland, but as far as I’m concerned, any new mountain bike trails in our region are worth celebrating and supporting. It’s with that in mind that I share news of the Cascade Locks International Mountain Bike (CLIMB) Trails System. This project, in the works since 2007, includes a plan for 25 miles of MTB trails that would be developed as a major tourism draw for Hood River County and the city of Cascade Locks. Here’s more from a fact sheet on the project:

“Due to the substantial demand for trails closer to Portland, Oregon, a destination mountain bike and mix-use trail system open to equestrians and hikers will contribute significantly to the diversity of the tourism industry in Cascade Locks.”

Cascade Locks is about 42 miles east of Portland (just under an hour drive) up the Columbia River Gorge. According to the Port of Cascade Locks website, trail designers from IMBA and Alta Planning are already on board with the project and a funding effort has raised $1.5 million thanks to the Port of Cascade Locks, City of Cascade Locks and Hood River County.

Looks nice huh?
(Photo: CLIMB)

“This project has the potential of being the best trail destination in the Pacific Northwest and draw visitors from across America and abroad,” states the CLIMB website.

While construction of any new trails is still about 1-2 years away, now is the time to learn about the project, offer support, and get involved to make sure it turns out as awesome as possible. If the success and popularity of the Sandy Ridge Trail network is any indication, more new trails in the Gorge will be a big win for everyone involved.

Download a fact sheet, conceptual trail plan, and more on the Port’s website. You can also stay in touch with the effort via the Cascade Locks MTB Trail Facebook page.

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  • Alan 1.0 March 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Imagine a commuter train (with hooks for bikes) up the Union Pacific tracks…

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  • wsbob March 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Way better idea than a casino in Cascade Locks, or for that matter…anywhere in the Columbia Gorge.

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  • Scooter March 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I can imagine that commuter train filling are quiet little community here in Hood River jammed packed with yups from the city. Ill pass on that thank you very much.

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    • shawn. March 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      As opposed to yups from Hood River?

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    • wsbob March 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      That’s kind of funny, since the yups and other visitors to the town are probably much of the town’s lifeblood. Hey…I’d like to have the kind of income disposable income yup’s have to spend in Hood River! Sailboarding, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, biking, and so on.

      Nice thing about those short term visitors with money, is that they live elsewhere…allowing your town to generally remain a quiet little community, rather than becoming a congested suburb.

      Some Cascade Locks residents have really looked forward to the prospect of a casino in their town, for the jobs and income opportunity it would represent to to them. Wanting to make a living so you can live in an exceptionally beautiful place you love, is understandable.

      Gambling though, is a pathetic and disrespectful way to make money off the Columbia Gorge. Given that it’s an outdoor activity somewhat in tune with nature, and to the extent it’s confined to limited areas, off-road biking is a better choice than casinos and gambling, in terms of income generating activity for gorge residents.

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  • Chris I March 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Amtrak used to run a “Pioneer” route that stopped in Hood River. The long distance Amtrak routes are pretty expensive to operate, though. I think a commuter service from The Dalles to Portland (with stops in Hood River, Cascade Locks, Troutdale) could work, but I wonder if the ridership could even beat WES, which only runs Mon-Fri. I think that there would definitely be demand for the service on weekends in the summer, though.

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    • wsbob March 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      “…WES, which only runs Mon-Fri. …” Chris I

      Well there you go… . Since WES isn’t doing anything on the weekends, maybe it could zip on over to Portland during that time, to transport off-road bikers to this park and back. People with other types of gorge related outdoor recreational activities in mind might like it too.

      It’s strange watching travel shows telling of other countries in the world having trains that take people out to those countries scenic areas. Here in Portland, right next to one of the world’s most stunningly beautiful natural geographic land forms…driving is still the basic required means to get there.

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    • Kimberlee March 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

      I am a part time resident of Mosier. I would love for them to restore this train route. I could take the train and then bike the short distance between HR and Mosier on the Twin Tunnels trail. Sometimes I take the train to Bingen, but only if I have a ride across the river because the bridge is not open to bikes or peds.

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  • Stig10 March 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Need a Mt Hood National Forest MAX. Or maybe connect the Springwater to the forest and the rest may take care of itself.

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  • brian March 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    this area might finally be waking up to riding bikes in the forest. Hope is rising.

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  • Dabby March 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    This is sweet.
    I must say that mixed use with equestrians/mtb means horible riding conditions in even small amunts of rain. As seen on the Tarbell trail in SW Wash.
    Just sayin.

    Yacolt Burn area in Vancouver here is putting in many new trails, some just mt biking, some hiking, some mixed, some motorized.
    Bell’s Mt. Trail there is my favorite trail to ride this side of Phil’s World in Utah.

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    • Jill VW March 25, 2011 at 7:34 am

      It’s super rocky, so it’s expected that the trails will withstand heavy use, even when wet. Where there isn’t sufficient rock and/or poor drainage, it will be armored. And, not all of the trails will be open to horses.

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      • gumby March 25, 2011 at 9:21 am

        I’ve ridden trail 400 in the gorge during pouring rain – hardly any mud. The gorge is a great place for winter trails.

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  • Charley March 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I really hope this works out. And here’s the deal with the horses- if lots of riders ride it from the get-go, and make a point of a continued, round-the-week-presence, equestrians will stay away. They don’t like sharing with us any more than we like inhaling their horsecrap.

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  • Fred March 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Wow, a community where mountain biking is actively being developed and encouraged. A great model for Cascade Looks to look to is Oakridge, OR (OROR).

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  • GlowBoy March 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Agreed, Gorge 400 is a great under-recognized trail (probably because it’s too short to be worth the drive for most folks). More trails in CL would be fantastic.

    As for the train, it’s still sad to be without the Pioneer, but Amtrak’s Empire Builder does run down the other side of the river, stopping in Bingen. Not terribly convenient to Cascade Locks (especially since it stops at 6:21pm eastbound and 8am westbound), but with proper planning it could be used for a multi-day trip to the Gorge.

    And Scooter? What Shawn said. Plus, isn’t Hood River already filled with yups from elsewhere arriving by car? What’s the difference to you if they get there by train?

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    • Alan 1.0 March 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Plenty of Hood Riverites like the money that visitors spend but the town has some problems with all the cars they need to get there.

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  • barney March 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I’ll take a new MTB trail anywhere but think about it. Wouldn’t it be better to open up some new trails in Forest Park than to make people drive up river every time they want to ride the dirt? Forget a train, I’ll drive every time. If I had a trail in town I would ride there.

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    • maxadders March 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Of course, but the anti-bikes-in-FP contingency won’t let it happen. Looking at it from a conservation / ecology standpoint, what’s more unique– Forest Park or the friggin’ Columbia Gorge?!?

      That said, I’m very excited to hear about this new trail system. Cascade Locks ain’t too far.

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  • Pete March 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    It’s hard to tell from the maps, but I sure hope that the Herman Creek drainage, Indian Point, and Nick Eaton Ridge are not incorporated into the MTB trail system. They offer some of the best semi-old growth hiking trails in the Gorge. I’m hopeful that some gnarly trails closer to HR and I-84 will be used.

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  • Herman March 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The map shows the first two miles of the Herman Creek trail, up to the horse camp, incorporated into the bike trail network.

    Going hiking there tomorrow. Will enjoy the bike free time. I like my bike, I like to hike, and I don’t like to mix the two.

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  • Jill VW March 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    That section of trail is a dirt road, used to access GT400. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the Gorge open to hiking, only a few miles open to bikes (2 short and non-contiguous sections of GT400, and a few miles of extremely challenging trails at Larch Mtn).
    The plan went to great lengths to avoid conflict with existing hiking-only trails and with the PCT. This will add trails for biking, as well as for hiking and horseback riding.
    These new and improved routes can be shared; if not, hikers have lots of bike-free options.
    I look forward to bringing more sustainable tourism to a region in need. Much better than a casino!

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  • Deprived March 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    In the mean time, aren’t some trail segments in the Cascade Locks area already legitimately rideable? Anyone have an idea where to access the (probably limited) MTB trails currently available?

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