July 3, 2014
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Reviewed by: codepink
Just checked out the trail this week and it was an absolute blast. It's not exactly easy to find; if you're coming from Monroe on the BLM South Fork Rd, go past the campground and start looking to your left. You'll see a BIKE XING sign and (I think) something about a trail, but it's not super obvious.
The parking area has a sign with a trail map, but that sign is missing a key piece of information: how far up the paved road is the trail? We didn't know. In the end, it is 3.6 miles and 1,000 feet of dull climbing to get to the top of Highballer. There are no signs whatsoever between the parking lot and the trailhead, so unless you have a cyclometer there is no way to mark your progress.
The first 1/3 of Highballer is alarmingly rooty, turny and droppy - not my bag. If you aren't a "serious" rider or have strong instincts for self-preservation, you might consider just walking the first section.
The middle 1/3 is a reasonably steep, somewhat turny set of jumps and banked switchbacks. It's not technical, and becomes very smooth, but you do have to check your speed. It gets easier as you go. Any reasonably competent rider should be able to handle the lower 2/3, even white-knuckling it.
The true gem is Springboard, which is a series of long traverses punctuated by little rollercoaster hills/jumps. There are no gotchas, so go as fast as you want. The banked switchbacks announce themselves, and they're high and firm enough that you can really commit. Springboard is the most fun I've ever had on a bike, ever.
When you get to the bottom of Springboard, you face a choice: take Dutchman to the right or keep going straight. Dutchman is traditional and gets you back to where you can ride Springboard again. Straight takes you back to your car. Dutchman would've been a downer, so I ended on a high note.
Great trails, worth the climb. Kudos to the architects. Great to have another place close to Eugene!
Take the road past the closed gate 3.6 miles. Trailhead for Highballer is on the left. First 1/2 mile or so is technical, narrow and slow. After that it gets outrageously fun for riders of all abilities. If you want, you can take Dutchman near the bottom to get you back to the road, where you can jump back in and take Springboard again.