Guidebook

Cascade Gravity Riding: Top 6 MTB Shuttles in Oakridge

Get shreddy on these fast and furious shuttle runs.

Greg Heil

Description

The small Oregon logging town of Oakridge, halfway between Eugene and Bend, objectively has very little going for it. While Stewart's 58 Drive-in serves a mean burger and milkshake, and you can find a small brewpub in downtown... well, that's about it.

That, and mountain biking.

Hidden in the deep forests of the Cascade Mountains is a massive network of loamy singletrack trails descending thousands of feet off the tops of the mountains. Dark black dirt reigns supreme, with root webs and rock gardens punctuating the high-speed descents. Occasionally, you'll break out of the forest onto a rocky mountain peak or a wide-open meadow and be awed by the expansive long-range views of the Cascades. The mountain ridges and pine forests spread out in an endless sea, giving the impression that the entire world is covered in trees.

While the core of the trail network consists of historic national forest singletrack, mountain bikers have been hard at work maintaining and improving the existing trails, while simultaneously building new and better trails with mountain biking in mind. Even though Oakridge is still a nothing town, especially when you compare it to its nearby neighbor of Bend, it's now home to one of the best mountain bike trail systems in the Pacific Northwest. The quality of the trails has even earned it a gold-level ride center designation from IMBA.

While the rest of the infrastructure might be lacking, the mountain bike infrastructure here is well-developed. Willamette Mountain Mercantile is the OG bike shop and shuttle company for the region, but shuttle demand is so high that Cog Wild, based in nearby Bend, has successfully established a dedicated arm of the company in Oakridge. Trans Cascadia has created a groundbreaking race format, and is also based here in Oakridge. Mountain Bike Oregon has brought the bike testing festival format to Oregon and is based in, you guessed it, Oakridge. And above and beyond these organizations, a wide swath of different races have stops or make their homes in this small town.

While you can definitely pedal some epic loops in Oakridge, the shuttle run reigns supreme. Thanks to a well-maintained network of logging roads, shuttle vans can quickly (and cheaply) whisk you to the tops of many nearby mountains, allowing you to fly down thousands of feet of the fastest, loamiest descents in the Cascades!

You can slice and dice the various trails and shuttles in a variety of ways. Whether you're trying to pack in 17k in a Day, are simply trying to clock a double shuttle day, or prefer to spread your shuttles out one per day, the companies and shuttle times available give you plenty of options to choose from. Regardless of how you space them out, the trails themselves boil down to a mutant's handful of the best options.

In this guidebook, you'll find 6 of the top shuttle runs near Oakridge covered in high detail. The Alpine Trail is a perennial classic and a must-do for every rider who stops in town. Dead Mountain keeps things nice and flowy, with almost no climbing. Lawler is deep and dark, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular trails in the region. Hardesty is remote and committing, but rewards riders willing to do a little extra driving. Eula Ridge might be short, but it's the steepest and most challenging descent in the region. Finally, Larison Rock is a quick hit, but it can easily be tacked on to the end of most shuttle days.

For more info, dive into the individual route descriptions!

Alpine Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Alpine Trail

Oakridge
25.7 km
769 m
1,571 m
Known as the "crown jewel" of Oakridge, the Alpine Trail easily ranks among the best shuttle routes in the world.
Difficult
Private
Dead Mountain Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Dead Mountain Shuttle

Oakridge
11.4 km
67 m
828 m
Flowy intermediate-friendly shuttle run.
Moderate
Private
Lawler Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Lawler Shuttle

Oakridge
13.1 km
249 m
1,153 m
The deepest, darkest zone in Oakridge.
Difficult
Private
Hardesty Mountain Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Hardesty Mountain Shuttle

Oakridge
12.1 km
349 m
1,049 m
Deep, dark, and fast--this is one of the furthest shuttles from Oakridge.
Difficult
Private
Eula Ridge Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Eula Ridge Shuttle

Oakridge
10.7 km
360 m
1,067 m
The steepest descent in Oakridge!
Severe
Private
Larison Rock Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Larison Rock Shuttle

Oakridge
6.2 km
50 m
705 m
A short, fast, flowy shuttle that ends directly on the outskirts of Oakridge.
Moderate
Private