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Oregon's Sandy Ridge Trail System

Jul 26, 2013
by IMBA USA  
PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

The Sandy Ridge Trail System in Oregon is one of the most innovative mountain bike trail systems on public land. Located about 45 minutes east of Portland, the system's trails are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and were designed and built by the International Mountain Bicycling Association's Trail Solutions, with help from AntFarm and the Northwest Trail Alliance, an IMBA chapter. The trails are optimized for mountain biking (equestrian use is prohibited) and feature a mix of machine- and hand-built singletrack, with options for all abilities.

PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

Sandy Ridge celebrated the grand opening of two new trails in July. They mark the completion of the initial phase of construction and bring the total miles of bike-optimized singletrack in the 6,000-acre Sandy Ridge system to just over 15. Follow the Leader is a double-black diamond trail 1.65 miles in length, featuring 350 feet of vertical descent and several challenging rock lines. Flow Motion is a 0.75-mile intermediate trail with loamy soil and more than a dozen berms.

PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

The Sandy Ridge trails were built after a 2006 Wilderness expansion near Portland closed 125 miles of trails to mountain bikers on U.S. Forest Service land. Following that, the BLM worked with other agencies to figure out what role they could play in the area, and building bike-specific trails was high on the list of desired projects. The BLM immediately engaged IMBA to design a varied, bike-specific system of singletrack that could stand up to regular heavy use. The BLM also involved the public and responded to requests for challenging options by building rocky, rooty, scrappy, black and double-black diamond trails, as well as a long line of jumps, berms, gaps and tabletops built in an old road bed.

PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

PHOTO Leslie Kehmeier IMBA

Alongside a longstanding partnership, IMBA and the BLM couldn't have done it without the tireless efforts of the Northwest Trail Alliance, which regularly has trailwork days at Sandy featuring 50+ volunteers. Huge thanks and props to the Portland-based mountain bike group!

Views: 8,238    Faves: 46    Comments: 3


Photos: Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA
Video: Katherine Fuller, IMBA
Music: Legends Never Die | DIYS @soundcloud.com/diysmusic

System Maps and more info: BLM Salem District, Oregon


56 Comments

  • + 27
 just returned from a weekend trip up to Black Rock OR. My god that state has there shit together. Best trails I've ever ridden, and there are free to the public!! Post Falls, Sandy Ridge, Ashland... the whole state is a meca!
  • + 1
 Sweet Dog Pisser Jump Move at 2:05
  • + 1
 I'm riding it all right now! Mt. Hood has some sick shit, granny's kitchen blew my mind at black rock, I'm riding sany ridge tomorrow
  • + 10
 What the article fails to mention is that Sandy Ridge is the only descent place to ride mountian bikes within 45 minutes of Portland. There is so much singletrack potential in the Portland area that is off limits to mountain bikers because of "environmental concerns". This trail demonstrates that a well designed and well built trail network can stand up to the wet weather of the NW without a major environmental impact.

BTW. The trails here do rock! Big thanks to everyone for their hardwork to make it happen, especially the LBS that hired a full time trail builder to work exclusively on this network!
  • + 4
 check out www.facebook.com/BuildGatewayGreen. working on getting a mini bike park in east Portland where I-205 and 84 split. I was just out there and am helping out with the process, should be really awesome. Gravity lines, single track, dual slalom, pump track, all in the works. we're starting crowd-funding (indigogo.com, like kickstarter Sept 9th) but all the info's and updates will be on FB.

oh and: I. love. sandy. ridge.
  • + 1
 that bike park looks sick!!!!!!!!
  • + 0
 That is bull shit..... Too an extent. Larch, Ravens is a little longer, Post Canyon... However! There is an incredible amount of potential for single track.. You are correct there. Portland claims to be the "Biking Capital." It should be the "Road Bike Capital." Damn environmentalists of PDX... Forest Park would be AMAZING.. But no, I gotta poach hiking trails.. Check out PDX MTB rippers on Facebook..
  • + 2
 Not to mention the fact that the "environmentalists" are wasting a bunch of taxpayer money suing the Forest Service over the bike park at Timberline. Apparently building trails in a ski resort will ruin the pristine alpine wilderness.
  • + 1
 I don't understand why people continue to fight for access to Forest Park. It's obvious the rich people who live there will never allow it. Why? Because they have the money, resources and time. Mountain bikers spend their money on bikes(because they're so expensive these days). Look at something like the Gateway Green project that has the full green light but no funding. Why not push to build the trails first and then if funding comes around all the buildings later? It's all unused land nestled by the freeway. Why not put it to use and try to kill the idea that PDX hates mountain bikers?
  • + 2
 Because, a lot of people (mostly environmentalists) do indeed hate mountain bikers. Why forest park? It is Americas, maybe worlds? not sure, largest public park within city limits!! I dont see why we can only use the fire lanes.. Just a trail or two would be cool. I peeped the Gateway thing, I sure hope that goes through!
  • + 1
 I'm not saying there's no value in Forest Park. I'm just saying it's so staunchly opposed that it's not even really worth fighting. It's like going to a gunfight with a stick. They're gonna do everything in their power to shoot it down. Just wait, the recently approved plans for mountain bike trails will get opposed at the last minute by Friends of Forest Park. I believe in order to maintain it's high status as a cycling city Portland has been asked to add more mountain bike trails in the city. We'll see if they step up or decide to step down in status.
  • + 7
 Sandy is amazing, have run that stuff w some buds a few times, model for other areas around the country. That said w the terrain available in Oregon, the Eco nazi's are a real issue and a road block to trail building in the are. Hell there is basically no single track in Portland...for such an awesome area they really have their balls on a leash from those ignorant assholes. Oh - FUCK THE SIERRA CLUB
  • + 10
 Im looking to transfer to oregon...so i can ride stuff like this. Everyday
  • + 1
 I'm joining the Air National Guard and apparently they have a base in OR. Totally might transfer myself after I'm in.
  • + 7
 Best trails I've ever ridden. Well worth the stop on the pilgrimage north to Whistler. Can't wait to go back someday.
  • + 1
 I'm on the same route!
  • + 3
 Trail here in the State Oregon are pretty rad!!!!! coming to Oregon and riding these trails has made me a want to volunteer and build, build build. I have been build and riding trails here in Oregon for 6 years now, I am proud to say that I have move dirt and help builder's at Black Rock, Post Canyon, Sandy Ridge, Stub Steward, Trillium and Raven's Ridge. Get together with your local group's and rally some people to help you build that's the best way to get sweet trails, it may take long but the trails will be there for longer!!!!!! Sign Up for the next build day!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Personally I think the best trails are the "unsanctioned" trails about a mile up into the climb. The new FlowMotion trail is pretty nice as are some of the others but follow the leader is more of a technical climb, and lower hide and seek needs to be rebuilt with berms in places that make sense. Still it's the best place close to portland by far.
  • + 1
 I hate to be the bearer of bad news to the environmental whackos, but let me tell ya something. People riding pedal powered bicycles in the woods does not have an "environmental impact" They are trails, by their very nature a somewhat un-natural part of the terrain. The idea that somehow riding a bike on them, wet or dry weather destroys the environment is a bunch of crap. Ive never ridden there, but Ive ridden a lot of wet weather areas on the east coast and Ive never seen a forest burn down, or a species of animal go extinct because of a few tire ruts. Thats all.
  • + 1
 Great to see IMBA and BLM working together and trails look great. Only thing is that this came about because 125 miles of trails were taken away from MTBrs when the USFS expanded a wilderness area. We lost 125 miles and got 15 miles farther away from Portland. Not a good deal. The expansion of wilderness areas is the biggest threat to mtbing.
  • + 5
 Time to move to Oregon I think.
  • + 1
 Reading these first few comments reminds me of the problems where I live in Staten Island. One day back, a forest ranger stopped me one day and asked if I was riding on the trails, probably the best trails on S.I.(High Rock), I had to ask why we couldn't ride the trails. Her answer was shocking the bicycling erodes the dirt around the tree roots and makes them fall. If that isn't dumbest answer I have ever heard. How can someone legally stop you from riding in a state park of natural woods??? Please someone answer that one.
  • + 3
 Sandy Ridge rocks! Props to all those who worked on finishing Flow Motion and Follow the Leader. I can't wait to try them this weekend for the first time.
  • + 1
 Going out there too this weekend to give them a go.
  • + 3
 why on earth can this not happen in Roosevelt National Forest outside of Fort Collins, CO???
  • + 1
 Holy Cow! That still hasn't gone any where? There was a big push for trail in Roosevelt when I was last in N. Colorado in 2004.
  • + 1
 Trail looks real nice! Oregon is real nice, but be careful they don't become too much like kalisfuknya.
Blm, biggest land owner of the west.
Wilderness areas/eco terrorists=biggest threat to tax payer owned land.
  • + 0
 I've ridden there a couple times now and yeah it's great. There's a good variety of trails with fun features. I wish Bend / COTA would take some notes and get over the "feature-phobia" I feel like we have. Well, I take that back they are trying. It's hard to build in the dust here in central Oregon also. I support COTA all the way, but I have to be honest, for a "bike-centric" area, the trails around Bend feel pretty behind the times. Then again, I personally am not out to ride 50 miles of XC a day. Some people are. Yeah, dirt jumpers and XCers are loving it. Oh well, we'll have Bachelor soon.... ;p
  • + 1
 Sandy is the BEES KNEES!!! Although its a long hike/ pedal to the top, its well worth it!!! Lots of fun, well maintained (yet not over maintained) trails!
  • + 2
 The new trail section they just opened us very fun and technical. Heading to bed now for a ride at the crack of dawn!!
  • + 1
 Hmu! Ill be riding hood them sandy ridge!
  • + 2
 Okay that move at 2:05 totally just redefined how I'm going take my corners.
  • + 2
 Best out! Oregon represent!
  • + 1
 Wish we could get NW BLM to get in the game! Cool to see more and more areas opened.
  • + 1
 Love that switchback technique at 2:00...gonna try it tonight.
...and Awesome trails up there!
  • + 0
 If you ride TIGHT mostly off camber switchbacks, it's a must
  • + 1
 That is just fluff...There are switchbacks that require a rear tire hop to get around, but this switchback isn't one of them. It's much quicker to just ride through it. It does look cool on film though.
  • + 1
 Yeah, sure. Has nothing to do with skills, or having fun or anything....it's just for the fluff of it....
  • + 2
 forgot to showcase TNT and little monkey trails... locals know
  • + 1
 Thank you IMBA, BLM and Jason Wells for the vision. I ride there ALLOT! Its the bomb!!!!
  • + 2
 Awesome looking trails! Job well done. Please come to NY!
  • + 1
 Putting the "Ooo" in Oregon, damn! Trail looks completely amazing, big props all. Mr. Wells, you sir have some sweet moves.
  • + 1
 Oh sorry, Great job on those trails look real sweet
  • + 1
 that old guy in the video rips!
  • + 1
 Way old but still rippin! Is that Royce in there too?
  • + 1
 Those trails are fun fo sho
  • + 1
 these trails are the bomb ass dank ass
  • + 1
 I road this three weekends ago. It is amazing.
  • + 1
 love this place
  • + 1
 Place looks dope
  • + 1
 Love it!
  • - 1
 Moab used to be great until all the mtn bikers came in and took out all the trees....
  • + 1
 Aladeen!
  • + 1
 Oregon, represent! Big Grin
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