FATMAP difficulty grade
When all the other trails are too wet and snowy to ride, the locals head to the Syncline area.
This exposed, south facing mountainside catches sunlight all year round, melting snow fast and drying the dirt quickly after a rain.
In fact, if you’re coming to the Hood River area in hopes of finding deep, dark Pacific Northwest forests to ride in and you choose to pedal in the Syncline area, you may be shocked at how dry, rocky, and barren the terrain actually is.
But of course, dry and rocky can make for fantastic mountain biking! The Hidden Canyon loop mapped here is one of the longest and most rewarding loops for mountain biking in the Syncline network.
The climb up the old road is a grunt, but once you gain the top of the ridge, flowing singletrack delivers you across the picturesque ridgeline to the descent down Hidden Canyon. You’ll find few trails as diverse as Hidden Canyon.
The singletrack begins with delightful, smooth, flowing dirt singletrack that rips down the hillside, funneling into sharp but rideable switchbacks.
The trail bobs and weaves out of small drainages.
From the tops of low ridges, it provides stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge. Lower down, Hidden Canyon gets progressively rockier and more challenging, before dropping into what is likely the namesake for the trail itself.
Here, you’ll find some hefty rock features with big boulder-filled rock gardens, steep rock rolls down jagged rocks, optional ledge drops, and more.
Delightful singletrack runs between these large, challenging trail features, meaning an intermediate rider who’s willing to walk a few obstacles would still love this trail.
While the difficult obstacles may earn this trail a “severe” rating, I’ve only given rated it as “difficult” due to the intermittent nature of the obstacles. Once back down on the old, gated road grade, you’ll look back up at the hillside and wonder, “just how could a trail that good be hidden up **there?**” And that is the beauty of Hidden Canyon.