Post image for Trail Destination:The Sandy Ridge Trail System near Portland, OR

Trail Destination:The Sandy Ridge Trail System near Portland, OR

by Jason Van Horn on August 20, 2012

in Fresh Tracks

The Sandy Ridge Trail is one of our favorite trails in Oregon, and amazingly continues to get better (and longer) with the addition of the newest section, “Two Turn Tables and a Microwave.” Adding more diverse terrain (see the rock garden pictured below) and even more jumps, rollers and bermed turns, the trail is the most fun you can have on a bike outside of a pay-to-play bike park. (or Canada)

A rock strewn section of the Sandy Ridge Trail.

A rock strewn section of the Sandy Ridge Trail.

During a recent trip to the northwest, the Sandy Ridge Trail is a must-do destination. Easily one of my top five favorite trails, it was a no-brainer when it came to my first stop coming into town. The addition of a new parking lot area at the bottom of the trail head was nice as well, considering I was traveling with three bikes, assorted camera stuff and other gear. Break-ins in the parking lot have reportedly gone down since the new lot was constructed, and with the lot half full, it’s clear the trail continues to gain in popularity with the local scene. Although I was a bit concerned about my gear in the car, after I spent several minutes cabling everything together I became a bit less worried.

Setting up to send it on the dirt jump section of the 338 Trail.

Setting up to send it on the dirt jump section of the 338 Trail.

When riding a trail this fun, the camera gear gets left behind unless there is a paycheck involved. Even more so when you get two guys that shoot photos for a living together on bikes. Working on your time off really isn’t that appealing. However, I hate not having anything to share after the fact, so it proved a great time to test the still photo capabilities of my GoPro and the chest mount. After the 3-4 mile climb on pavement, I strapped the camera to my chest Spider-man style, turned it on, and proceeded to rip it down the trail. A thousand or so photos later I ended  up with a few keepers that showcase the fun this trail system has to offer.

I found myself missing the additional suspension travel and stiffness of my Santa Cruz Nomad on the trail, and put my Blur TRc through the wringer. However, the light weight of my ride was super nice after a lap and my riding buddies had to take off. It also meant I had plenty of energy to crank back up for a second hot lap for Strava time.

Self Portrait on the 338 Trail from 2010.

Another time, a different bike. Self Portrait on the 338 Trail from 2010.

Why are the trails at Sandy so incredible? Portland area mountain bikers owe much of it to the fact the local BML Land Manager is an expert level Cross Country and Super D racer, that has put years of effort into the project. Without a rider at the helm with a massive vision, this trail system would have never been taken to this level. (or possibly even happened) In addition, the trail contracting arm of IMBA (the International Mountain Bike Association) has half of its members living in close proximity. The short commute for the trail builders undoubtedly keeps the cost down. The staff of IMBA Trail Solutions has been doing an incredible job building a destination trail worth driving to. If only IMBA California was a fraction as successful in putting trails like this close to the general population.  (check out Trail Solution’s own Shane Wilson’s video edit below)

If anything, this trail serves to show the types of flow and features we’d like to bring to enhance the flavor of our local trails. Assuming we can get it done while we’re still young enough to ride bikes.

Click here to visit the BLM website for more info on the Sandy Ridge Trail including directions and a trail map.


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