Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Say hello to the Oregon Timber Trail, a 650 mile mountain biking dream

Posted by on August 10th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

In case your bucket list of bike adventures wasn’t already full enough, here’s a new one for you: The Oregon Timber Trail, 650 miles of singletrack trails and logging roads that bisects the entire state.

And guess what? The trails and roads (90 percent of which are unpaved) are already there. All that’s left to do is to refine the route, create maps, buff out some rugged sections, put up some signage, and so on.

The trail is a collaboration between the Portland-based bike adventure guide company Limberlost, Travel Oregon, the Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Forest Service. Working together they hope to have a map and guidebook completed by the end of next year and officially open the finished trail in 2020.

“We’re seeking to create a world-class mountain bike experience,” says the trail’s very nice website.

(Photos by Limberlost)


Here’s more erotic adventure fiction lifted from the site:

The Oregon Timber Trail covers a variety of climates, communities, ecosystems, roads, elevation, and most importantly: mountain bike trails. At 650 miles long it is an inspirational route—ambitious as a whole—but divided into four unique tier sections the Oregon Timber Trail is approachable by a wide variety of cyclists.

If it sounds familiar you’re not mistaken. The Oregon Timber Trail was inspired by the Pacific Crest Trail, the Oregon Outback, the Great Divide Route, and thru-trails in National Scenic Trail system. What sets the Oregon Timber Trail apart is that it’s designed for mountain biking and consists of 55% singletrack.

The development of the Oregon Timber Trail’s exact alignment is ongoing and the detailed route guide will be released early in 2017.

The Oregon Timber Trail is a unique multi-day mountain biking experience of unprecedented quality in North America.

To make adventures on the trail more accessible, they’ve split it up into four sections: Fremont (192 miles, 17,000 feet elevation gain), Willamette (142 miles, 15,000 elevation gain), Deschutes (112 miles, 8,000 feet elevation gain) and Hood (200 miles, 18,000 feet elevation gain).

This is very exciting new project and we’re thrilled to see a collaboration between Limberlost and state and federal agencies. If you want to get involved and stay updated, check out

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today. You can also make a one-time donation here.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Gabriel Amadeus Tiller August 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for the press Jonathan! Super excited about this project.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Chris I August 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Their tentative route appears to go through Mt. Jefferson, 3 Sisters, and Crater Lake areas that are designated as wilderness. How is this going to work?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Gabriel Amadeus Tiller August 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      The proposed route does not go through any wilderness or proposed wilderness land.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Chris I August 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm

        I think the map on the website needs some work, then. For example, it clearly shows a route skirting the west side of the 3 Sisters mountains. I’m not sure how that trail is not going through the designated wilderness area:

        It seems that the route would need to travel on the east side of the Cougar Reservoir to avoid the wilderness.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • GlowBoy August 11, 2016 at 9:24 am

          Hard to tell from the map, but the text clearly describes a route that goes along the east side of the 3 Sisters wilderness: “around Mt Bachelor and down the Metolius Windigo Trail to Sisters .. passes Black Butte to the quaint Camp Sherman … e Old Santiam Wagon Road”

          In fact, this is almost exactly the route I envisioned when I thought of Cascades bike route analogous to the PCT. After reading “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods” I was inspired not only to do more backpacking, but to take on some long-distance adventure biking, and started dreaming up routes. I think I made a post about this on BP a couple years ago, but I’m too lazy to look it up.

          Besides a Cascades route (which I’ve mapped in my head across Washington too, all the way to the Canadian border), I’ve also got ideas for a couple of east-west routes across the state and a north-south eastside trail (WELL east of the so-called “Oregon Outback” route, which only skirts the edges of Oregon’s real Outback).

          Portland and Oregon are poised to become one of the bike-touring meccas of the country. While we’re waiting for funding and “process” around the Salmonberry, Astoria and Columbia Gorge routes, there are other routes such as the Timber Trail that are physically ready to go, if someone put together the effort to “develop” it on paper. I’m thrilled this is happening.

          And I should also point out that the northern part of the route is effectively accessible by the bike-friendly Mount Hood Express, so you don’t necessarily need a car to get there. (I’m planning to use the MHX myself next week, although for backpacking rather than bikepacking).

          There may also be other transit options, though not as bike-friendly and requiring your bike to be packed as luggage:
          – Greyhound or the twice-a-week Gorge bus to Hood River, the northern end of the route.
          – Central Oregon Breeze can drop you in Terrebonne or Redmond, both less than a half-day ride from Sisters, right on the route.
          – The Valley Retriever, which connects Salem, Albany and Corvallis (accessible from Portland by Amtrak) with Bend, also stops in Sisters.
          – Amtrak stops at Chemult, also on the route, but unfortunately does not offer baggage service at that station, making travel there with a non-folding bike very difficult.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Chris I August 11, 2016 at 10:13 am

          Okay, I think I got it now. One of the maps shown on the website shows an orange route that closely parallels the PCT. This map is clearly NOT a map of the proposed route.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • mran1984 August 10, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Mmmmmm, if you can drive to the shore of Bagder Lake I can’t imagine that this “should” be an issue. Nice pic…great toilet about 20 yards to the left of the shelter. Charley is spot on in regards to the Fremont section, but that would be amazing.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kate August 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    This sounds incredible.

    Will there be sneak previews for sections before 2020? Guess I’ll head over to the site!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Kate, you can sneak all you want right now.. it’s all open to the public and legal to ride… just a little rough around some of the edges apparently.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Charley August 10, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Best of luck to the organizers of this great project! The Fremont Trail system is going to need a lot of work before it’s ready for prime time. It’s rough, rocky, impassable in places, lost in others. I don’t mean it’s challenging, technically, but that it wouldn’t be any fun to ride for much of its length. I hope they can work it into shape!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • ben milstein August 10, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    here’s an article about the inaugural passage of the timber trail:

    no follow-up article yet, but they did complete the journey about a week ahead of schedule.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 17, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    So happy about this. I’d love to have the whole thing rated on a scale of road bike, gravel bike, hardtail, and softtail.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Gabriel Amadeus Tiller August 18, 2016 at 10:07 am

      There are certainly a lot of sections you could ride on a gravel bike, but the trail’s focus is singletrack mountain biking. A hardtail or preferably a light full suspension bike would be necessary for riding the whole route.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ben McCormack August 18, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Kim rode it on a 95mm full suspension bike. Sam did the first 2/3 on a hard tail then moved to full suspension.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • James Mason August 20, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    The photo shows an open fire. Is that encouraged?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew August 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    This is awesome. Let’s also build a trans-WA route that connects to the northern end of the Timber Trail, eh? I’d love to collaborate on that.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Brian Wallace October 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    These are things i like to read about. Imagine taking the challenge and going for the adventure. It’s real fun.

    Recommended Thumb up 0