Syncline Trails: Big Loop

A respectable trail run that makes the most of the best trails in the Syncline network.

Also in Oregon, United States of America

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
11 km
Ascent
550 m
Descent
550 m
Low Point
33 m
High Point
527 m
Gradient
11˚
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Syncline Trails: Big Loop Map

Description

When all the other trails are too wet and snowy to run, the locals head to the Syncline area. This exposed, south facing mountainside catches sunlight all year round, melting snow fast and drying the dirt quickly after a rain. In fact, if you’re coming to the Hood River area in hopes of finding deep, dark Pacific Northwest forests to run in and you choose to visit the Syncline area, you may be shocked at how dry, rocky, and barren the terrain actually is. But of course, dry and rocky can make for fantastic trail running!

The loop mapped here makes the most of the very best trails in the Syncline area. It begins by climbing the Hidden Canyon trail, which starts by ascending through a beautiful canyon nestled between two sharp, steep ridges. Looking at the mountainside from the bottom, you’d never guess such a gorgeous canyon could be hidden in the ripples of the land! The further you climb, the better the views get, with stunning vistas of the Columbia River Gorge from the tops of the small ridges.

Once you reach the top of the Hidden Canyon trail, a delightful connection of old two-track and narrow singletrack traverses across the mountainside, running through lush creek bottoms and gorgeous meadows.

The descending trail, known as “Little Moab,” runs downhill along the rim of a giant rock wall that rock climbers ascend from the bottom. The resemblance to the Porcupine Rim trail in Moab is striking! The trail tread itself bears a resemblance to Porcupine Rim, too. The meat of the trail features a cascading series of ledges and rock gardens. Without a single defined trail line through the mess, you’ll have to constantly be scanning ahead, looking for exactly which line you’d like to take through the sea of rocks. A few obvious lines appear from the rubble, leading you ever downhill, and back to your car.

Difficulty

Difficult

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December