It’s been a long, cold and rainy winter. Summer can’t come soon enough, filled with weekend riding trips and visits to trails and bike parks throughout the northwest. Among our new favorite riding destinations is the Mt. Bachelor Bike Park.
Our first visit to the park was late last summer, but the bike park at Mt. Bachelor has been operating since 2013. Normally, knowing a new bike park was located a relatively short drive away would mean dropping everything to get there. However, the buzz surrounding the bike park simply wasn’t there. It wasn’t until my brother shared his photos of a family weekend or riding that we were intrigued enough to commit a weekend to checking it out.
I’m glad we did, because the trails on the mountain are pretty damn good. If you enjoy gravity fed trail riding, it is worth planning the trip.
The lines at the lift are short, and we were quickly seated and headed to the top. Getting off the Pine Marten Lift, most of the riders head to the left to access the bulk of the trail network.
The majority of the riding starts off headed down the intermediate rated Lava Flow, a trail that reaches almost 4 miles in length should you follow it all the way to the bottom. Although it has an average grade of 7%, you’ll want to carry as much speed as possible through the turns if you want to minimize pedaling. Most of the trails are accessed off this main line, branching off at various points.
Our first visit to the park featured mostly clear skies, but was a cold and windy day. A long sleeve base layer and wind breaker left me chilled on the lift, but once on the trail it was ideal. I kept wondering why this riding experience wasn’t more popular. Two of our favorite gravity fed all mountain trails are in Downieville or down Mt. Ashland. Bachelor features a similar riding experience, with only a short chairlift ride as the cost of entry.
The bulk of the online conversations on the bike park center around it as a gravity fed bike park for DH bikes. In this regards, the reviews are less than great. After our first run, the why was apparent. A lot of pedaling is required here to maintain speed and this was probably the first time I’ve visited a bike park and utilized a dropper post as much as I did. It’s more Downieville than Whistler. There is also a distinctive lack of jumps, as Bachelor lacks the signature Livewire or A-Line style jump trail bike parks like Northstar and Whistler are known for.
For the summer of 2016, the Mt. Bachelor Bike Park had over 13 miles of trail comprised of machine build flow trails and hand cut single track. Many of the trails are loose and rocky, but they’re a chore to access on a full blown downhill bike. On our 6″ travel sleds optimized for modern enduro though, these trails were a blast.
In addition, the views from the mountain are amazing.
Bachelor has snow almost up until July, making for a short riding season. Though trail crews have been building and opening a new trail every summer, if you’re looking for a jump filled line along the lines of Crank it Up, Dirt Merchant or A-Line, you’re likely to be disappointed. Bachelor doesn’t have a line like that yet. In fact, the only “true” DH line, Rockfall, had recently opened. Rated a double black diamond, it contains technical features that had me scouting them before sending on my 6″ of travel, but it’s the only trail that I’d haul a DH bike out for.
We also find the marketing for the park to be a bit off- the last promo video I saw was filled with riders sessioning jump lines. We had to search just to find them. (I believe they’re on Lava Flow – there is a skills area near the lifts suitable for big bikes though)
The other videos are populated with riders in DH kits and full faces. While the loose conditions and lift service make armor and full face helmets a wise choice, its more burly trail riding over rocks and roots than DH. If that is what you’re seeking (and that’s exactly what we are looking for) we’ll see you up there this summer.
To plan your trip visit www.mtbachelor.com/summer/mountain-biking
Notes: Short season; opens in July. Open all week through September 5th. Open weekends while conditions allow.