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.
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.
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.
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! Photos
: Leslie Kehmeier, IMBAVideo
: Katherine Fuller, IMBAMusic
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: BLM Salem District, Oregon