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The Ride: Timber Logjam, an uncommon loop through Portland’s backcountry

Posted by on February 15th, 2016 at 1:43 pm

TImber Logjam

Heading up Bacona Road.
(All photos: Gabriel Amadeus Tiller)

The latest entry in our The Ride series comes from none other than master of creative endeavors (on and off the bike), Gabriel Amadeus Tiller. Gabe joined RideWithGPS Ambassador “Unpaved” and a few dozen other intrepid souls for the “Timber Logjam” ride this past Saturday.

logjammap

55 miles, 6,200 feet of climbing.
Full details at RideWithGPS.com.

Unpaved has been putting together some fantastic rough and dirty routes in the countryside surrounding Portland and recently hosted an open-invite to ride some of the many gritty logging roads surrounding Timber, Oregon. I dragged my lazy winter legs out of bed and took the light rail out to Hillsboro early last Saturday to see what kind of sadistic torture they had pieced together for us. It was just what you’d expect of the Oregon Coast range in mid February: wet, cold, steep, muddy, foggy, and tough.

We started off at a quick pace on the Banks Vernonia Trail, but soon spread out on the long climb up Bacona Road. Just when I thought we were smack dab in the middle of nowhere, we ran across Alison Hill and Jay Graves staffing a surprise coffee and homemade cookie stand for us. Now caffeinated, we grinningly descended the slimy trails of Stub Stewart and traversed remote logging roads across Highway 26 and through the small enclave of Timber—nestled right at the the headwaters of the proposed Salmonberry Trail.

After an exhilarating descent out of Timber we climbed a steep grade up Wildcat Mountain and into the fog before a rolling descent back into Banks. All-in-all a great way to spend a rainy day in the mud with friends.

Below are a few more images, followed by some tips to keep in mind when you head out there on your own:

TImber Logjam

Over the Buxton Trestle on the Banks-Vernonia Trail.
TImber Logjam

Alison and Jay Graves, owners of a timber farm along the route, welcomed riders with homemade cookies and warm coffee. (And yes, that’s the same Alison Graves who used to lead the Community Cycling Center who now leads Cycle Oregon; and that’s the same Jay Graves who used to own the Bike Gallery.)
TImber Logjam

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TImber Logjam

Up…
TImber Logjam

up…
TImber Logjam

… and way happy to reach the top of Wildcat Mountain.
TImber Logjam

The muck got pretty thick through Stub Stewart State Park.
TImber Logjam

TImber Logjam

TImber Logjam

What you should know about the Timber Logjam route

  • There is parking, food, and a bike shop near the Banks Vernonia Trailhead
  • There are no services on the route
  • During the summer months there are water spigots at Stub Stewart and Reehers Camp
  • There are several bail options but they involve busy highway riding
  • Wildcat mountain involves about 1/4mi of bushwhacking at the top along an abandoned road, don’t miss your turn
  • These are remote roads and trails, some gated to vehicle traffic, rarely signed, and no cell service. Be prepared with reliable navigation, tools, and ample snacks.

– Gabriel Amadeus Tiller

You can join Gabe for an adventure as a guest on one of his legendary guided trips via his company, Limberlost.

Browse more great routes and photos in The Ride archives.

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Matt F
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Matt F

Awesome!

37Dennis
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37Dennis

This route is fantastic. I’ve ridden it a few times. Oh how I wish there was a group people willing to organize such rides midweek. Many service industry folks have to work weekends, and miss out on much fun.

dwk
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dwk

Those are very nice photos…

Dan Morgan
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Dan Morgan

Great shots and very nice write-up!

Dmitriy
Guest
Dmitriy

Great ride with a huge mix of terrain! Thanks Gabe for the pics and writeup.

Ricky
Guest
Ricky

That route is so fun! Bummed I couldn’t make it out with the group.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Rides like that are the reason I’m in Oregon. My backyard has thousands of miles of forest roads that are sometimes even paved. I may not explore all of them, but not for lack of effort.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

So cool. I’m always delighted when people share trip reports *and* the route.

DC
Subscriber

Looks like a lot of people on the ride…are these announced ahead of time for others to join? Thanks 🙂

Ryan Francesconi
Guest
Ryan Francesconi

Yes, there is a google group for this purpose. Check the Join the Fun link here: https://ridewithgps.com/ambassadors/98-unpaved

pdx2wheeler
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pdx2wheeler

Looks like fun and thanks for sharing. I always enjoy BikePortland write-ups on new places to explore. Oh, pictures were above average!

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Jay+Alison=Awesome!

mark engelstad
Guest
mark engelstad

superb images… can’t wait to try this ride myself.

Dave Thomson
Guest
Dave Thomson

Some of those roads look way too dangerous to ride – not a protected bike lane to be seen.