|Larch Mountain - A short but very fun rocky/rooty downhill (1000ft descent), followed by a loooong climb back up. Some great views of the surrounding area from the very top (see this page for a 360-degree view from Larch Mountain). Be careful about directions! (click on the picture for more details)|
Warning: there are three trails within an hour or so of Portland named Larch Mountain!
|There are some classic trails south of Hood River. Discover Bicycles provides some good descriptions, and you can buy a map at the shop. Check with them before heading out here early in the season; there may be snow or significant windfall. This is likely the best riding in the area. I don't have trail descriptions mostly due to my location.|
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Brown's Camp - Also called "Nels Rogers", "Historic Hiking Trail". This is excellent riding not too far from Portland. Good technical singletrack - roots, rocks, etc. Be sure to stop by University Falls, especially early in the year when its really flowing. I'll try to get a map online at some point, as its kind of easy to get lost here. There is a maze of fireroads that makes this a good choice for evening rides (you can get back to the car really fast), as long as you don't take a wrong turn in that maze! The "historic hiking" trail is just one big loop, though.
Gale's Creek - A fairly new, developing set of trails north of highway 6. There is a blazing downhill that starts just east of the Brown's Camp entrance off Hwy 6. It can be accessed by climbing the gravel road up from the campground (then turning right and riding west on Hwy 6 for a few miles). Gale's Creek trail meanders along the creek, and provides some fun climbing. It ends at a "T" junction - left is Storey Burn, right is Bell Camp. Both climb up to a fireroad, but their trailheads are many miles apart, and I'm not sure the fireroads even intersect (so there's no loop opportunity there). Story Burn is a long climb. Bell Camp is a long climb that eventually becomes outrageously steep - some sections are difficult to even walk up. Story Burn can be used as a loop for that first downhill, but I prefer to just turn around and blast back down. There is a fireroad that can be ridden up to Bell Camp but I haven't figured it out yet.