FATMAP difficulty grade
If you’re a mountain biker living in Portland, Oregon, you ride at Sandy Ridge—it’s that simple.
Despite being located over 40 miles from downtown, Sandy Ridge is the closest mountain bike legal singletrack network to the city of Portland.
While there are other singletrack trails in the heart of the city, the trail access issues are contentious, with bikers having been shut out of all the high-quality trails.
Thankfully, Portlanders and visitors alike can drive to the mountain bike hotspot of Sandy Ridge. Unlike most of the best-known mountain bike trails in the world, Sandy Ridge was designed and built from the ground up by IMBA, in conjunction with the Northwest Trail Alliance and the BLM.
In many ways, Sandy Ridge is one of IMBA Trail Solution’s showcase pieces, exhibiting exactly what they can do with a blank slate. And what can they do? Why, they can build one of the best damn mountain bike trails you may ever ride! The route mapped here is unapologetically designed for experts-only.
For a more consumer-friendly mountain bike ride, be sure to check out the “Sandy Ridge: Intermediate Loop” route mapped separately.
No concessions are made on this route for the beginner, intermediate, or—if we’re being honest—even the advanced rider on the trails mapped here.
This Expert Loop turns the dial up to 10! The ride begins with the Follow the Leader trail along the top of the ridge.
Tech-gnar is the name of the game, with tight, rocky drops and rock gardens placed along an exposed bench cut singletrack trail.
Hitting all of the features here will require sniper-like bike handling skills, especially the five-foot boulder drop to a narrow singletrack landing.
Despite the warnings in the paragraph above, an advanced-level mountain biker should be able to navigate most of Follow the Leader with a few dabs, and riding around the most technical features.
Yes, there's tons of rock, but the trail isn’t nearly as rocky as some old school forest service trails you’ll find tucked away in the remote corners of most national forests. But the ride only gets harder from here. After crossing the paved road, the trail transitions from a chunky gnar fest to a full-on jump line.
This lower trail is so fresh that it’s not on any of the maps as of the time of this writing (June 2019), but the tread has been finished and the ribbon has been dropped, so get ready to send! This jump line is home to hands-down some of the largest jumps you will ever see outside of a bike park.
Humungous doubles, hips, step ups, step downs, tabletops—you name it, you’ll find it here.
The scale of these hits is incredible—they'd be more at home in a lift-served downhill bike park, but you'll find them tucked away here in Sandy Ridge’s deep, loamy rain forest. There are no ride arounds on these jumps.
There are no easy lines on these jumps.
Absolutely no concessions have been made to the intermediate rider, or even the advanced amendment looking to improve their jumping.
These hits demand expert-level skills and the confidence to boost and send.
Go big, or choose a different trail and go home. The quality of the mountain bike trails at Sandy Ridge is phenomenally high! According to locals, it’s not uncommon to talk to mountain bikers who have been riding for years… and pretty much the only trail they’ve ever ridden is Sandy Ridge.
While of course if you're a real rider, you should explore further afield, Sandy Ridge is _just_ that good.