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.
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.