Guidebook

MERA Trail System: Northeast Oregon’s Hidden MTB Gem

The incredible trails at MERA may be largely unknown outside of Northeast Oregon... but that's changing quickly!

Description

The Mount Emily Recreation Area, or MERA for short, is quickly becoming known as the crown jewel of trail-based recreation in Northeast Oregon. This expansive trail system is home to over 40 miles of nonmotorized trails, plus another 45+ miles of moto-legal trails. With such an impressive array of singletrack set on a gorgeous mountainside, the mountain biking opportunities found here are truly sublime!

MERA began life as a private timberland that had allowed recreational use. To keep it from being subdivided and sold off, Union County decided to acquire and protect it as a public recreation area, with the help of grants from the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. "Today MERA provides multi-use recreation, education, and natural resources for Union County and its visitors,” according to MeetMERA.org.

The flanks of Mount Emily are now covered in miles and miles of serpentine singletrack. These long strips of dark black dirt swoop and flow across the mountainside in all directions. With a berm in almost every corner and jumps spread all throughout the trail system, the fingerprints of mountain bikers from the Blue Mountain Singletrack Trails Club are readily apparent upon these trails.

This convoluted maze of singletrack can be difficult to navigate even with a map, so in this guidebook, we’ve not only created an excellent map for navigation, but have included the top routes for completing rewarding mountain bike rides in this network of trails. Whether you want to pedal just a few miles or half a day, you can find a route to satisfy in this guidebook!

MERA's top routes include this steep top-to-bottom loop ride with 2,800 feet of climbing (and descending) in less than 15 miles, and the enjoyable pedal on the MERA Loop and Sasquatch Trail. Or, you could try out some of the trails on the moto side of the mountain, and you definitely can’t miss the new Dirt Circus trail—the first downhill mountain biking-only trail at MERA!

Sources:
BlueMountainSTC.org
MeetMERA.org

MERA: North Knob -> Caffeine Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

MERA: North Knob -> Caffeine Loop

23.9 km
851 m
851 m
Ride from the low point to the high point—and back!—of the MERA trail system.
Difficult
Private
MERA: Tom G Special Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

MERA: Tom G Special Loop

18.0 km
655 m
655 m
One of the best routes to maximize the descending at MERA.
Difficult
Private
The MERA Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

The MERA Loop

12.2 km
363 m
363 m
The eponymous trail connecting the larger MERA trail system together.
Moderate
Private
MERA: Sasquatch Figure-8
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

MERA: Sasquatch Figure-8

14.3 km
445 m
445 m
A MERA loop variant with more climbing and flow-filled descending.
Moderate
Private
MERA: North Knob -> Dead Bull Moto Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

MERA: North Knob -> Dead Bull Moto Loop

12.1 km
395 m
395 m
A ripping loop on the moto side of the mountain.
Difficult
Private
MERA: North Knob -> Dead Bull -> Snag Trail Moto Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

MERA: North Knob -> Dead Bull -> Snag Trail Moto Loop

15.9 km
499 m
499 m
Singletrack gems on the moto legal side of MERA.
Difficult
Private
MERA: Dirt Circus Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

MERA: Dirt Circus Loop

9.3 km
315 m
315 m
The first downhill mountain biking-only trail at MERA!
Severe
Private
MERA: Red Apple and Soggy Bottom Loop

MERA: Red Apple and Soggy Bottom Loop

4.2 km
96 m
96 m
A short, flowy beginner loop.
Easy
Private
MERA: Parent Trap -> Honor Roll

MERA: Parent Trap -> Honor Roll

2.9 km
63 m
63 m
Perfect beginner mountain bike trails for kids and adults alike.
Easy
Private
MERA: Zig Zag

MERA: Zig Zag

1.1 km
4 m
80 m
Steep, switchbacked old school trail at MERA.
Difficult
Private
MERA: Rough Rider

MERA: Rough Rider

0.4 km
0 m
40 m
Rough Rider is steep fall line alternate to Zig Zag.
Difficult
Private