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McKenzie River Trail

Average Rating:    (4.64 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 85

A snaking rollercoaster of a trail that follows the McKenzie River through an ancient forest. It offers smooth singletrack, log bridges, hot springs, killer views, tight turns, steep drops, technical lava field traverses, and challenging climbs.
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Latitude
44.36061720507495
Longitude
-121.99356079101562
Trail Directions
Take Interstate 5, either from the north or south to the Eugene/Springfield area. From there take highway 126 east 50 miles to the town of McKenzie Bridge. The lower trail head will be approx. a mile north. Most riders shuttle up to the top of the trail at clear lake
Trail Length
approx.25 miles
Trail Level
Advanced
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
McKenzie Bridge
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (85 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
October 1, 2013

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: Chris ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
I was a little worried with the lack of reviews on this trail, but went on the recommendation of a friend's friend in Portland. Stayed at the McKenzie River Mtn Resort and got the shuttle the following morning. There were only 3 other guys in the van and I was a little worried since I was the only one wearing lycra. At the time I wondered if I should have tried it as a loop, foregoing the shuttle, but in the end I'm glad I shuttled.

The upper sections of the trail is fairly technical and not for beginners. The shuttle driver warned us about the original east side trail around Clear Lake and said it was technical, inplying that maybe I ought to go on the less technical west side. When I asked "how technical" his response was "it's a b*tch" (but then he proceeded to tell me about how his 9 yo son managed it). So with my manhood in question, I proceeded on the technical side of the trail. Yes it was technical and through jagged lava fields, but have have medium good technical ability and handled it fine. Some of the sections were asphalt paved, which was kind of a bummer.

Once the trail crosses the highway, it changes dramatically. From lava to swoopy forest trail with rocky sections. Frankly some of the rocky sections in this "middle" portion of the trail are just as difficult as the upper section. There are many extensive rocky section along this stretch, and occasional shorter ones throughout the length of the trail. Nothing too technical and easy enough to dismount if you want to walk it, most are manageable by a guy like me.

The trail follows the river and elevation changes a little along the way.....and keep in mind that as you make your way up easy climbs and put some elevation between you and the river, you're about to be paid back double (1 for the climb and 1 for the fall of the river along the climb and descent). The downhills are fast, mostly smooth and flowing. Here's some bad video of part..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFynJYJDvqM (Sorry for the bumpyness, need a helmet mount).

Eventually that flowy trail drops you into river bottom-ish forest and eventually the trailhead. When I finally made it to my car, I had been on the trail for just under 4 hours (with no real stops) and was knackered. Glad I didn't have a 25 mile ride to the upper trailhead.

Recommended Route:
Shuttle, start at the top, ride the east side of Clear Lake. If this is too technical for you, it's going to be a long day. Ride the trail to the bottom. It's not all downhill, but it sure seems like it.

Our shuttle driver gave us good maps with mileage markers (those def helped).



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Review Date
November 6, 2011

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: sirons13 ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
I managed to squeeze in a ride of McKinsey just before a winter storm last week. As most recommend I hired a shuttle for a drop off near Clear Lake. Given I was riding alone and starting relatively late in the day I opted to take the easier of the two options around the lake to start the trail. Despite the elevation drop of nearly 2,000 ft over the 26 miles it has decent amount of climbing as well as technically challenging areas... especially when it is wet and slick which is probably the norm for this trail. But the highlight of this trail has to be scenery. Even when you aren't near the river or water falls you are in some of the most beautiful woods imaginable. Moreover, you can go miles and miles without seeing a single person.

Recommended Route:
Take the shuttle to the top. After descending past Clear Lake you'll cross over the highway, 126 I think. Once you do this you'll come across a bridge and it looks like you can ride on either side of the river. Go across the bridge to avoid riding on the side that is better suited for hikers (more stairs). Give yourself 5 hours as you'll want to stop many times to take in the scenery. Also, it is a long ride. Don't be fooled into thinking it is all downhill.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Although I didn't do it this time I would think that the ride around Clear Lake (taking in the Lava Fields on the far side of the lake) would be a nice shorter ride. Also, enjoyed plenty of riding in Bend, OR which was my home base for the week. Phil's trails have some decent areas if you are wiling to put in some less technical miles.



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Review Date
June 22, 2011

Overall Rating
 1 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 1 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 0 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
1.00 of 5, 12.00 votes

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Reviewed by: David Wegman ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
Flew across the country and drove almost three hours from Portland to ride this trail. I asked the locals (McKenzie Bridge) about renting a bike but they looked at me like I was speaking another language. Stuck w/o a bike, I had to turn around for a long drive home. I didn't even put a wheel on the trail. For being Oregon's most well known trail and one of the top trails in the nation, it's kinda surprising that it is so unsupported by local people/businesses. I guess I'll give up on the mcKenzie River Trail and spend money riding in Moab. At least in Moab, the locals will have heard of mountain biking!

Recommended Route:
I don't know and the locals don't either.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Who knows?



Comments
JohnnyBGoode2001 (08/01/2011)
Sorry, but you sir are an idiot. Who would fly across the country without first doing a modicum of research?? McKenzie River Mountain Resort offers bike rentals, shuttle service and lodging.
dirtdude (09/12/2011)
i can understand this guys frustration, i just moved here from Washington, i can not pry any information from anybody about any mountain bike related question. can't find a mountain bike trail club that will respond to any emails, it was very hard to find a pro shop, I've been here for 9 months and still have not met anybody that will ride with me, only found one trail that i would return to... all the same crap with fly fishing... either nobody knows or no body's talking... oh, and i'm also pretty sure that i'm the only person in the state that smokes the 420
darthjamo (05/01/2012)
Lots of rental bikes and shuttles from Bend, just an hour or so away. Not to mention, if you come that far you should ride Bend anyway.
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Review Date
April 12, 2011

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Every few months

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Reviewed by: DMBrooks ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
Trail looks good. Still snow at some higher elevations. Another ride would be road 15 near blue river res, starting at wolf rock. Ride to road 2654(deer creek) and head downhill to the river trail and continue on to mckenzie bridge. About 26 miles. King-Castle is quite the uphill and back down again. The mckenziebridgeshuttle(.com)is still in operation and they can get you where you need to be. Max of 4 riders/bikes per trip. Looks real good this summer!

Recommended Route:
from bend/sisters west to santiam jct, left, to hwy 20, left on 126. top of trail is about two miles from there. Bottom end of trail is 26 miles down river at the east side of mckenzie bridge. shuttle service is 1 1/2 miles from there in town.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Alpine near Oakridge



Comments
bb12creek (08/01/2011)
This post appears to be spam as it is very similar to two previous posts made (6/19 and 6/7/2010) that plus a shuttle co that operates near MRT.

MRT is awesome, but this is not the forum to advertise your business for free.
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Review Date
July 21, 2010

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: dcpowpow ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
Rode this in mid July weekday and never saw another biker. That might be due to the fact I started at 3:00pm. Not a wise move, but I di finish by 7:00pm with some daylight left.
Great single track with minimal climbing. Not scary technical, but challenging in areas for sure. Keeps you on your game a bit.
Not sure if I was on the right trail, but right after the falls I rode down a ton of stairs and encountered a lot of people. I was polite to all of them and gave them the right of way.
Great trail for sure.

Recommended Route:
Start above the lake, go left over the bridge before the lake to get into a more tech way around the lake.
Go all te way to the ranger station. The bottom is faster section for sure.
Allow 4-5 hours ride time



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Reviews 1 - 5 (85 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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