McKenzie River Trail! The most beautiful trail in the USA!!

Sep 27 2020

McKenzie River Trail! The most beautiful trail in the USA!!

This past weekend my girlfriend Carissa and I took a trip out to the McKenzie River valley in Blue River, Oregon to ride the McKenzie River Trail. Many outdoor publications have rated this multi-use trail the #1 trail in America and it’s really easy to see why. Hands down the most beautiful and scenic trail that we have ever ridden! It’s been on my radar for quite a while and to say we were excited to check it out is a huge understatement! We took a shuttle to the top of this 24 mile 3600+ foot descent trail from where we stayed at the Inn at the Bridge in McKenzie bridge Oregon. Horse Creek Lodge runs the shuttle service to many of the local trails in the area and I highly recommend them, (I’ll leave their contact info at the bottom of this description). This trail earns it black rating from the top half of the trail where you’ll come across some very technical sections through an ancient lava flow that encompasses thousands of acres in the area. The trail starts just above Clear Lake, a beautiful blue/green clear water lake. The lake is a tourist and hiker hot spot so it can get quite busy. When you get to the lake there’s a fork that takes you to a blue trail (Clear Lake Trail) this trail takes you along the shore across the lake and away from the highway and all the foot traffic, it’s also nice and flowy whereas if you take the MRT on the other side of the lake it’s very technical and slow going and even slower with all of the hiking traffic. Clear lake trail is right at the fork and marked on Trailforks. Once you pass Clear Lake and the dam you’ll come to a T in the trail where it meets back up with the MRT. Make sure you go right at this T or it will just take you around the lake in a loop back to where you started. Once past the lake you’ll come across so many awesome view spots. Blue pools, waterfalls, lava fields and a lush green forest of moss, ferns and beautiful redwood trees. Overall the trail is pretty easy, there are some short, steep and punchy climbs and some very technical rocky climbs and descents. The top half is far more technical than the bottom. Once you pass the 2 big falls, Sahalie and Koosah you’ll come to a 3 mile section that takes you through a massive ancient lava flow. You will encounter a TON of hikers here and it’s VERY slow going. We did this ride on a beautiful Saturday in June, weekdays are probably a lot better. Our shuttle guide said they are currently cutting a few bike only ride arounds in the high hiker traffic area which will be a great addition to this trail system. Once you get past the lava flow and the campground the trail gets much easier and less trafficked, it rides right along the river’s shore. Lots of beautiful places to break and take in the sights and even dip your head in the crystal clear and cold waters. You’ll encounter lots of bridge crossings over this magnificent river as you criss cross it on your way down to the end. We did the entire trail and the ride back to our cabin, 27.7 miles total in 4:29 hours moving time according to Strava and about 6 hours total for sightseeing and photo stops. This was hands down the most beautiful place we have ever ridden and we are already talking about doing it again. If you have the chance to ride it I highly suggest it and there’s a great 18 mile DH run you can shuttle up to and do the very next day! Enjoy the video and feel free to drop any questions in the comments!

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