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! Mapped here is one of the highest-recommended loops at Sandy Ridge.
Like all of the rides in the network, it begins by climbing up the steep, gated, paved road to the top of the ridge.
From there, this route follows Rock Drop -> Communication Breakdown -> Quid Pro Flow -> Two Turntables and a Microwave -> Hide and Seek.
This is one of the most rewarding loops in the area, and is also generally quite intermediate-friendly—hence the name.
Flow is the name of the game on this loop! IMBA has built dozens—maybe hundreds?—of berms deep in this forest.
Berm after berm will have you ripping down the mountain at top speed on the dark, loamy soil of this Pacific Northwest rain forest, with towering trees above you and dark green undergrowth surrounding you.
Between the berms, take to the air with optional kickers, doubles, and tabletops.
But don’t worry, everything on this loop can be rolled over if you prefer. The intermediate label does come with a caveat, however.
Compared to the other trails in the network, this loop is overall intermediate friendly, but some sections may exceed.
A few of the trails here are labeled as blue/black or even black diamond, thanks to a few rock gardens and root webs to keep you honest.
This is mountain biking, and the sweet downhill flow has to be paid for some way! If you’re a newer intermediate rider, you can always walk the more challenging sections on your way to the sweet, sweet flow. 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.