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Ripplebrook Backroads V2
June 8, 2019 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Traversing some of the deeper cuts in the southwest quadrant of Mount Hood National Forest, Ripplebrook Backroads V2 showcases much of the quiet, remote elven loam between Timothy Lake and the Clackamas River.
Originally staged as a 2015 Unpaved ride event, Ripplebrook Backroads V2 has been reimagined as a more singletrack-intensive affair, pushing things deeper into the thick needled loam that this quadrant does so well. Right out of the gate we want to mention that this pair of routes is going to be much smoother and more relaxed than prior courses in this year’s series. Everything here is going to be CX bike accessible.
Even the epic version, which has a considerable amount of trail, is still going to be relatively smooth by OMTM standards. Let’s put it this way, if Thee Holy Mountain were Yes’ ‘Roundabout’ then Ripplebrook Backroads is going to be Dylan’s ‘Main Title Theme (Billy)’. If Mosier Mayhem was ‘Immigrant Song’ then we consider Ripplebrook Backroads to be the ‘Going to California’ of the series….wait…what were we talking about again?
Things set off at the Ripplebrook store along Highway 224 about 25 miles southeast of Estacada. We head east up Ripplebrook Road/4630, skirting Lake Harriet before intersecting NF57 at mile 7 and gently climbing the remainder of the way to Timothy Lake. At mile 15.7 things scale down a bit as we jump onto Timothy Lake trail which circumnavigates the northwest side of the lake via silky luxuriant singletrack. At mile 19.8, the route ‘technically’ merges with the Pacific Crest Trail for 600 feet.
Dismount in deference to hiker hegemony or utterly schralp in sheer defiance of all that is prudent and lawful, the choice is yours. Just do what feels right.
We keep to relatively straightforward singletrack until mile 24 where we intersect NF42 southward to the historic ranger camp at Clackamas Lake. There are two water sources here, the first of which is a fountain visible from 42, the other is a spigot in the center of the ranger camp. Be sure to explore the ranger camp on your way to connect w/ the Miller Trail northward to Timothy Lake Trail en route to the paved road 5740 southward. Keep alert for the left onto the gravel connector at mile 29.6 which begins a long, gradual climb to the Oregon Skyline Road at mile 32.3. Through this section, be aware you are very deep in the bush. We did encounter a black bear out here the week prior.
Once we hit NF42, tuck in and enjoy the long, rollercoastering descent. One thing we have to stress is that while it may seem deserted out here, this stretch of road does experience a certain amount of auto traffic in both directions, so keep alert and don’t assume your have the road to yourself when cooking blind corners. There very well may be cars coming in the opposite direction assuming the same thing.
42 connects to 46. Ride your bike until you get to the Riverside Trail at mile 65.2.
This trail is the foxiest four miles of randy, supple, mazy Elven magic you may roll this year. It twists and turns through mossy glades of old growth forest, occasionally cresting into precipitous vistas overlooking the Clackamas River below.
Toast it over cane sugar sodas at the finish.
We’ll see you out there!