Guidebook

An Easy Introduction to the Cascades in Oakridge

While the Cascades are generally steep and challenging, this guidebook offers a selection of easy mountain bike ride, hikes, and trail runs to get you started.

Greg Heil

Description

From a distance, the Cascade Mountains look soft and cuddly. Mountain ridges roll away endlessly into the distance, their features softened by the covering of deep pine forests. But when you get up close and personal, the reality is so very different.

In person, you'll realize that these "soft" mountains are steep and rugged. The deep forests can create impermeable undergrowth, and even if you can hack your way through the thick vegetation and cross the numerous downed trees, the forest floor itself, while mostly consisting of dark black dirt, hides boulder fields, cliffs, and steep, narrow river valleys.

For an easier introduction to the Cascades than you might otherwise receive, check out one of the hiking, mountain biking, or trail running routes detailed in this guidebook.

The Salmon Creek Trail provides the perfect beginner mountain bike ride, beginning directly from the outskirts of Oakridge. The mellow singletrack rolls along the banks of the creek, offering stunning views the entire way. If you're not into biking, consider a hike or a trail run on this trail instead.

For an intermediate-friendly introduction to shuttle runs in the
Cascades, try the Dead Mountain Shuttle on for size. Despite its forbidding name, Dead Mountain is a very smooth descent with almost no climbing required.

If hiking is your thing, you can gain stunning views of the thundering Salt Creek Falls in less than a mile of hiking on this mellow trail! Or, if you want to reach a stunning overlook of the region with just a few minutes of hiking, head for the top of Larison Rock.

Finally, while you can definitely find a shorter run than this one, the 3-mile loop with a stop at Diamond Creek Falls offers stunning vistas and a mellow trail to run on.

Salmon Creek Out-and-Back
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Salmon Creek Out-and-Back

Oakridge
13.0 km
140 m
140 m
The perfect beginner trail!
Easy
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
Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls

Oakridge
0 - 1 hrs
1.0 km
96 m
96 m
Hike to the lower viewing platform to get a better view of Salt Creek Falls.
Easy
Private
Larison Rock Short Hike
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Larison Rock Short Hike

Oakridge
0 - 1 hrs
1.6 km
120 m
120 m
Quick hike to a gorgeous view!
Moderate
Private
Diamond Creek Falls Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Diamond Creek Falls Loop

Oakridge
4.9 km
160 m
160 m
Experience the best of the Cascades on this stunning run to Diamond Creek Falls.
Moderate
Private