Local Flavours: The Complete Guide to Riding in Baker City, Oregon

Sep 10, 2019 at 11:09
by Brice Shirbach  



This project has been funded in part by a grant from Travel Oregon.


Local Flavours

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO RIDING IN
Baker City, Oregon
Words, photos, & video by Brice Shirbach

The great thing about Baker City is that it's about as un-PNW as you can get in the PNW, and I actually (really) love me some PNW. While many of us associate the 9th largest state in America with dense evergreen forests, thick moss-covered trees, and of course the Cascade Mountains, Oregon is actually the most geographically diverse state in the Union, with over half of it being comprised of high desert and arid wilderness. Driving west from Boise on I-84, the Elkhorns and Wallowas explode from the burnt horizon line on both sides of the valley floor, with the Elkhorns occupying more and more of the western sky as you inch closer to town.

I had actually been here once before, and that trip resulted in me nearly severing my femoral artery and dealing with a hematoma that ranged from my business to my knee cap. That's the day I learned that riding switchbacks deep in the alpine backcountry of the Elkhorn Mountains is not the time to practice nose wheelies. Internal bleeding aside, the truth is that my first trip to Baker would prove to have a profound effect on how I define adventure, and it helped me understand that "scenes" and community are two very different things, and I'm a much bigger fan of the latter.

Baker City and the surrounding area isn't a place where you go to be seen. It's a place you head when you are in need of a less than purpose-built adventure. The mountains here are big and raw. The air up in the Elkhorns is a little thinner. The landscape will take your breath away, and the people who call it home aren't interested in "doing it for the boys" or "for the gram". They ride bikes up and down mountains because it's one of the most complete ways you can connect with nature and reconnect with yourself. My previous trip here might've had a bit of a dubious ending, but you can bet that I had a big smile on my face as I pulled back into town 4 years later for some more.

Brice Shirbach // Local Flavours
Age: 37
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA
Industry affiliations: Pivot Cycles, Maxxis Tires, Pearl Izumi, 9point8, Julbo, MRP, Deity Components, Shimano, Dialed Health, Stan's No Tubes, Topeak, Leatt, Cane Creek Cycling Components
Instagram: @bricycles
Favorite Trail in Baker City: Summit Lake Trail (Elkhorn Mountains)
Riding Style: Risk it for the biscuit.


Local Flavours Baker City OR
Welcome to Northeast Oregon: the least PNW spot in the PNW.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
The Elkhorn Mountains might be Oregon's best-kept secret.

Local Flavours Baker City Oregon
Baker City has over 100 building on the National Register of Historic places. They've taken good care to preserve their frontier heritage, and it shows.

Local Flavours Baker City Oregon
The Churchill School is a concert venue/bike hostel/Airbnb and is a sign of cycling's growing health in Baker County.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
The Trailhead is kind of like Cheers: You're always welcome, and eventually, everybody will know your name.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Local Flavours Baker City OR
This might be my favorite forest in all of Oregon.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
The only acceptable form of crop dusting in these here parts.

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

A Bit About the Region

Baker City was chartered in 1874 and named after Colonel Edward Baker, a Civil War hero who served as the state's first senator. By the start of the 20th century, Baker City was actually more populous than both Boise, ID, and Spokane, WA and was known as the "Queen City of the Inland Empire". The high desert town sits at 3,500 feet above sea level with over 100 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, and which makes it one of the largest historic commercial districts in the American West. This sense of heritage is something that permeates throughout the region and adds a great deal of charm to the place.

Nowadays it's the federal government and agriculture sectors that provide the area with the most jobs, as Bureau of Land Management as well as the National Forest Service keep many people busy, in addition to the hundreds of miles of farmland that cover the valley floor. Fortunately for anyone who enjoys spending time in the outdoors, Baker has finally begun to recognize that the greatest potential for prosperity lies in the mountains that surround town.

Baker is sandwiched between two impressive mountain ranges: The Elkhorns to the west, and the Wallowas to the east. These mountains are exactly what Baker and nearby Union Counties are counting on to carry the region forward, as outdoor recreation and tourism is an industry with plenty of room to grow and more than enough resources to make it happen.

Getting to Baker City

You're going to want a car here. I'll get into the various means of actually traveling to Baker City, but Northeast Oregon isn't exactly a model of public transportation proficiency. You are in a very sparsely populated part of the world, so the need for mass transit and services like Uber isn't particularly critical. Besides, with 3 National Scenic Byways crossing paths here, the drives are always scenic, plus the long, straight, and dusty roads are actually quite pleasant behind the wheel.

The nearest major airport is in Boise, about 2 1/2 hours drive time southeast of Baker County. I mention the drive time specifically because between Boise and Baker lies the timezone line between MST and PCT, so you'll actually get an hour back during the commute. Boise International Airport, or BOI, is served by 7 major airlines, and offers non-stop flights to 20 cities from the midwest to the west coast. It's a fairly small airport with plenty of major car rental agencies on site, so getting in and out is pretty quick and painless. Props to the TSA agent there who asked me how best to handle the contents in my bike bag so as not to disturb the organization of it. It's the little things, ya know?


Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Wildfires are a very real thing here.
Local Flavours Baker City OR
Light and shadow play tricks on the eyes in La Grande.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Phillips Lake may be more of an endorphin kinda ride than adrenalin, but there's nothing wrong with that. Especially with light like this.

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Patrick Thomas carves a turn on Phillips Lake South Shore trail.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
There are more than a few Easter eggs here.

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Hope you like it dry, because that's what you're gonna get.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Dropping in on one of the black diamond rated optional lines off of the Broadway Flow Trail.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Keep those hips loose if you wanna carry speed through the first expert line on Broadway.

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Patrick follows his son, Ezra, down Broadway.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
2 Dragon is full of high speeds and natural features.


The Best Trails to Ride in Baker City

Baker County is surrounded by world-class backcountry access. While they've made some progress in the implementation of purpose-built trails at Anthony Lakes, and certainly up in La Grande, the appeal here is rooted in raw and rugged trails up and down the Elkhorns. There aren't a whole lot of people around, so any ride - regardless of which region you choose to explore - will be largely devoid of trail traffic. Cell service is spotty as well, so it's recommended that you ride within a group. Northeast Oregon is a relatively arid locale, so you should expect pretty dry and loose conditions, especially if you're here in the summer.

Anthony Lakes
This is the epicenter of mountain biking in Baker County. Located 20 miles northwest of Baker City in the heart of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Anthony Lakes is a small-ish ski resort with a base area at over 7,000 feet above sea level, the highest such in the state. Anthony Lakes isn't a bike park just yet, but it does offer access to several miles of singletrack and trails that range from technically challenging and high risk, to high-speed flow, to mellow lakeside cruises. The terrain and landscape here will blow you away, and it's easy to see the insane potential this place has for future trail development.

Key trail - Broadway: This is as much about what the Broadway flow trail represents as much as it is about the trail itself. The trail is a wide corridor flow trail, with a surprising amount of cambers to play around on but always ready with a supportive berm to help you keep your speeds up. My favorite part of this trail is that it offers a handful of optional "expert lines" that feature steep rock rolls, ragged and dusty cambers, and pockets of ultra-dry dirt exploding beneath your tires. But more importantly than the ride quality is that this trail is a sign of things to come for Anthony Lakes. It was a 4-year process from start to finish, and its reception among riders and land managers alike gives hope for more and more progressive trail design in the near future at Anthony Lakes. Who knows, maybe someday soon we'll see them spin their lifts throughout the summer.

Key trail - 2 Dragon: 2 Dragon is a blisteringly fast descent that starts on the Anthony Lakes Highway about a mile from the main parking lot, and drops riders through a pine tunnel with dry loam beds, nuclear speeds, and scores of natural features to play around on.

Elkhorn Mountains
The Elkhorn trails connect to Anthony Lakes and spread south from there, eventually ending just a few miles directly west of Baker City. There are no small rides in these mountains. There is a lot of exposure. The views here will take your breath away, as will the amazing riding. Pay attention to the wilderness boundary lines, as there may be a point in which you'll need to shoulder your bike for a hundred feet or so, but it's a small price to pay for such epic riding.

Key trail - Summit Lake Trail: Steep chutes and roots early on, with some loose switchbacks to keep you on your toes. High-risk maneuvers if you decide to stay on your bike for early portions of the descent. A Summit Lake stop is a must here; it's easily one of the most scenic parts of the Pacific Northwest. Halfway through the descent, the trail open goes from singletrack to double track, but the speed ramps up and the corners remain very loose.

Key trail - Elkhorn Crest Trail: This is the proverbial feather in the cap for Baker City. It's a huge ride with plenty of exposure, some of the best views in all of the Pacific Northwest, and puts the mountains back in mountain biking.

Phillips Lake
25 minutes west of Baker City is Phillips Lake, a beautiful reservoir in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Osprey and bald eagles frequent the lake as a popular hunting ground, and many other forms of wildlife are oft spotted throughout the trails as well. There's nothing especially technical around the lake in terms of trail difficulty, but it's a fantastic place to set up camp and take in some beautiful scenery. Note: trail signage isn't really a thing here, so navigating anything off of the shoreline can be tricky. Trailforks is up to date here, and should be used whenever venturing off lake.

Key trail - South Shoreline: There's a bit more elevation on the South Shoreline trail compared to the North Shoreline, and the Elkhorn Mountains are on full display from here as well as the backdrop to the lake. This is less of an adrenaline filled ride, and more of an endorphine ride.

Key trail - Little Dean Creek: Little Dean drops riders over 1,200 feet from the ridgline above Phillips Lake to the South Shoreline trail. It's a bit of a grunt to get to, but is steep in places, offers a great line of sight throughout, and is over way too quickly.


La Grande
Okay, so La Grande isn't in Baker County and this is Local Flavours: Baker City. But, it's only 40 minutes up Interstate 84, and the truth is that there's a sense of shared community between La Grande and Baker, and a trip to the region wouldn't be complete without a day or two up on Mount Emily. You can actually see Mount Emily from Anthony Lakes, as the 6,114 foot summit towers above the Grande Ronde Valley and its patchwork of farmland below. MERA, or the Mount Emily Recreation Area, is chock full of trails (about 40 miles worth) from top to bottom and is spread out across 3,670 acres with 2,600 vertical feet of relief available top to bottom. There are motorized and non-motorized trails available, and shuttling is definitely big here. Just be sure to bring a vehicle that can handle rough roads as things get bumpy towards the top of the mountain.

Key trail: Caffeine Caffeine drops 1,400 feet over 3 miles and offers up a mix of dry loam forest floors, wide open views of the Wallowas and Grande Ronde Valley, and a mix of high speeds and playful terrain from start to finish.

Key trail: Sasquatch Sasquatch is a local favorite in these parts. The trail profile has as much climbing as descending, but if you're cool with a quick 10-minute jog up the trail, you'll be rewarded with a really fun and lively descent on the other side of it.



Local Flavours Baker City OR
Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Anthony Lakes offer awesome trails, and awesome post-ride vibes.

Local Flavours Bakery City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Things can get mighty loose if you're cool with letting that rear wheel drift a bit.

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR


Weather:

Baker's high desert climate makes for warm and dusty summers, with average daytime highs in the mid-80's in July and August, although temps can and do on occasion reach triple digits. Forest fires are common as well, so be sure to check reports prior to your visit. Spring and Autumn are pretty comfortable, with Autumn bringing a surprising amount of color to the region despite the lack of deciduous forests in much of the region.

Bike Advice:

Baker isn't chock full of super steep, fall line descents, so you can leave the big bikes back home. I came out armed with my Pivot Switchblade, and it was all I could want or need to ride here. You're going to want something with an efficient pedaling platform to get you up some decidedly large mountains, and something that will allow you to twist the throttle over some high-speed rough sections. Most short to mid travel trail bikes offer this very combination, which makes choosing a bike for a trip here super simple.


Local Flavours Baker City Oregon

Local Flavours Baker City Oregon

Local Flavours Baker City OR
The hostel at the Churchill School is great for you and your bike.
Local Flavours Baker City OR
The Landing Hotel and Restaurant is a great choice if you're keen to posh things up a bit.

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR

Local Flavours Baker City OR
Check out my full gallery of images from Baker City here.

Accommodations and Food:

I spent the majority of my week at an awesome hostel, The Churchill School Baker City. It was spacious, clean, had great wifi, and the couple that run it - Brian and Corrine Vegter - are incredible people, and founders of the Baker City Cycling Classic. If the hostel life ain't for you, they also have a beautifully appointed Airbnb rental property on site that makes for an affordable option if you're looking to split costs with your pals.

I managed to sneak up to La Grande for a night and stayed at the The Landing Hotel, a beautifully renovated boutique hotel in the heart of downtown. It's bike friendly, has an awesome staff, and ridiculously comfy beds.

There are plenty of other options in both towns, with several affordable hotels and motels right off of the interstate in Baker City. An Airbnb search will yield dozens of options as well, from cottages, to cabins, to modern apartments, and everything in between. Of course, you can (and should) consider camping as well, as the area boasts an absurd amount of campsites in and around Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Phillips Lake in particular is a great spot to pitch a tent or park your RV or van.

Breakfast:
Coffee Corral is my kinda place for breakfast. I typically prefer coffee and smoothies for breakfast, and as it turns out you can get them both here and they're really good at it!
The Sweet Wife Bakery might only be open Wednesday through Sunday, but their espresso and baked goods should be a priority for you while in town.

Lunch:
The Lone Pine Cafe is right across the street from The Trailhead bike shop, which makes it the perfect spot to drop your gear off and grab a bite. It's quick, clean, and tasty food.

Dinner:
Barley Brown's Brew Pub is a staple here. Even if you don't fancy alcohol, the food is awesome as is the atmosphere, and these guys are big supporters of mountain biking in the region.
The Landing Hotel and Restaurant in La Grande offers international wines and ciders from the Pacific Northwest and the food is fresh, local and organic whenever possible.
Side A Brewery in La Grande is run by a couple of mountain bikers who happen to make delicious beer and serve really good food. It's affordable, mostly healthy, and you can catch live music regularly.

Local Bike Shops:

The Trailhead is a full-service bike and ski shop right in the heart of downtown. The Anthony Lakes run shop has an amazing staff full of friendly people, with rentals, a consignment section, and delicious beer and kombucha on tap.


Other tips:

1. Hit the Open Road I spend a crazy amount of time driving by myself, which makes me a bit of an expert (100% self-proclaimed) in quality roadways, and the roads in these here parts are stellar. There's not much in the way of traffic once you get away from Boise, and the landscape is stunning. Drives such as the Elkhorn Scenic Byway and Hell's Canyon Scenic Byway are a motorist's dream, and worthy of a detour if you're so inclined.

2. That Pioneer Life The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center sits atop Flagstaff hill with stunning views of the Elkhorns and Wallowas that surround it. It's a 500-acre historic site with loads of exhibits, living history demonstrations, and plenty of interpretive experiences both inside and outside. The American West has a history drenched in turmoil and grit, and the Oregon Trail epitomizes that.

3. Summer Sendoff Autumn in Baker County is a sight to behold, with many of their conifers including bald cypress, dawn redwood, larch, and tamarack all having needles that change color in fall and then drop from the branches, much like the deciduous trees that do so famously in Vermont. Pair that with say, Oregon's best music festival, Pine Fest, and you've got yourself a winner. Pine Fest annually in the town of Halfway, about 20 minutes north of downtown Baker City, and is just another great excuse to come check this place out firsthand.

Presented by Travel Baker County


Elkhorn Mountains mountain biking trails

Mount Emily Recreation Area mountain biking trails

Phillips Lake mountain biking trails

Anthony Lakes Recreation Area mountain biking trails


73 Comments

  • 55 0
 I'm one of the 12 people from here (LaGrande) that will see this today and be totally amazed that anyone has ever noticed this place exists. Never thought I'd see anything like this on PB...
  • 8 0
 Had a great steak at the brewery in baker city. It’s a beautiful town. As I was there I kept thinking, how cool would it be to ride up there... well now I have a reason to head back. Small towns are the best towns.
  • 2 0
 I've heard rumblings about the riding out that way, but I was more familiar with Baker City as the home of Barley Brown...and I'd been meaning to drive up that way just for that.
  • 2 0
 Love LaGrande and Baker City. I lived in Salem for 4 years and would occasionally trek out there to ski and ride at Anthony. The scenery out there is unbelievable. Going out there was a great break from the obnoxious Portland/Salem yuppies you had to deal with every weekend as you drove in a traffic jam to the TH. Highly recommend to anyone... Worth the visit.
  • 1 0
 nobody thought they would.
  • 4 0
 Any chance the La Grande Local @mattbrown9 has some insights on how the local community views new MTB folks? Do they see the new visitors on bikes as good for tourism, or hindering their way of life where solitude is preferred? Looks like La Grande and Baker City have ~13,000 and ~9,000 residents respectively, certainly qualifies as a small town in my book, which often doesn't bode well when more cars with license plates form Portland/Salem/Bend begin visiting more often...
  • 2 0
 @GalloRocks @mattbrown9 Same question as Gallo but replace Portland/Salem/Bend with California plates. Never been that far east but looks stunning. And before anyone starts throwing stones, I'm from Oregon, grew up there, and now in CA for work but OR is still considered home. When I'm up visiting family I'll often bring my bike and it's a terrible feeling rolling up to my old home trails with CA plates.
  • 4 0
 @GalloRocks: @chrisjk Like almost everyone else who grew up in LaGrande (or any other town in Eastern Oregon) I wanted a job and was bored to death so I escaped and live in Portland now. Not sure I'm the right person to comment on the locals behalf. But I'll give it a shot:

LaGrande is less open to outsiders it seems. A lot of people live there because it isn't busy like Portland, and the people that live around the trails shown think LaGrande is the busy city that they're trying to stay away from. The actual Oregon Trail is B street in town but they won't advertise it because who wants tourists snooping around. They do have a big season of people coming into town though for hunting. That goes OK.
Baker (no one calls it Baker City..) has basically nothing except for tourism. A guy in the 40s(?) named Leo Adler got a lot of outside groups to hold events in Baker (Shriners, Harley Clubs, etc.) and it provides a lot of income to this day. The bottom of the PB article shows that it was supported by a tourism advocacy group. So they realize they need outsiders to stay relevant, at least more than LG does.

That said, you'll see ID and WA plates in that area all the time. If you're considerate with your interactions and usage of the area I doubt you'll have any issues, especially if you take a moment and say hi.
  • 2 0
 @mattbrown9: Lagrande is amazing! I’ve driven by dozens of times but finally went in the town last summer when I got a job working st the high school. I immediately sent a video of the area to my wife telling her we should move there. it reminds me of my hometown (Boise/meridian) before all of the foreigners (ca, or, wa, az, and tx) moved in.
  • 9 0
 And just like that, Oregon’s best kept secret is out in the open. This is one of my favorite places to ride and deserves some publicity. Selfishly, I would like to keep it to myself, but these trails, the views, and the people are worth your trip. Cheers!
  • 7 0
 Awesome sauce, Brice. Thanks! Embarrassed to admit I've lived in Hood River since 1985, and never quite made it to the Baker/LaGrande area to mtb.

Just driven past it dozens of times on the way to other, more famous riding locales. D'oh!

Gotta change that next season!
  • 8 2
 Hoping to head to Hood River for one of these sometime in the near future!
  • 1 1
 @briceshirbach: Well......at the risk of being one of those "I'm here, now close the gate" peeps, we don't need much help in populating this place during prime riding season. But hit me up if you swing through. If you can't track down kosmo when you're in HR, your journalism creds will be revoked!
  • 7 0
 Huh, never knew this about Baker City. I'm from Portland, but the only time I've ever ridden out there was for the very first edition of the Baker City Cycling Classic. Amazing road riding, and I it was cool how many locals came out to cheer us on during the crit that was downtown. I guess I'll have to spend a long camping weekend out there sometime and do some exploring.
  • 3 0
 Yeah the next time I’m there I’ll be camping at Anthony Lakes. Dreamy place!
  • 4 20
flag tatertottwo (Sep 18, 2019 at 19:42) (Below Threshold)
 @briceshirbach: Well, Thanks for putting it on "the gram". Maybe I'm the only old school guy on here but if you "discover" something, maybe, just maybe, consider that part of its richness is in the discovery itself and doesn't need to be put all over media to sell and article. In my day, we tried to protect rather than capitalize. What I see is an open invitation to "gram" the shit out of a place that you found to be incredible and in so doing, changing exactly what you loved about it. My advice is, consider your impact and try to tread lightly in areas that you don't live. There's very few "undiscovered" places any more and not all of them are ready for the impact of social media.
  • 19 0
 @tatertottwo: I don't follow....I'm not sure you do either. I shared a link to this story on Instagram, but that's in large part because I have to...my job is to create content on this very site you frequent, and in this case I was asked to do a story on Baker City by Baker City. But the "gram" commentary in the piece I wrote is about enjoying riding bikes in the mountains for the sake of riding bikes in the mountains, and not as a means of accruing social media currency. It is literally my job to create and share content through a variety of means aboard two wheels. I wouldn't overthink it.
  • 2 0
 @briceshirbach: @briceshirbach: Well said. keep promoting as you do!! These places will never be the stuff of whistler or tahoe, et al. Don't worry (locals), these trails will continue to be a place of solitude, reflection and some hard-earned adrenaline! For those of us living in geographically challenged areas (remote small towns), these little gems that we pass on our way to/from other larger hubs have always been a curiosity. Now that you have shared this experience, I too will pull over for a session, a layover, a beer, etc., in a place where the opportunity never had presented itself before. I look forward to further explorations, perhaps put some southern Idaho (Snake River areas), Central Oregon (between John Day, Fossil Beds to Salem) on your hit list. Lots of opportunities there too!
  • 2 0
 @briceshirbach: so very jelous of your job. Tks for the pics and story
  • 6 0
 Rad article!!!! I’m over on the west side of the state in Corvallis, and I never even knew there was riding over there! Looks cool! I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the write up!
  • 3 0
 Love Oregon!!
  • 6 0
 You are a master behind the camera and have done a great job of highlighting a rad part of our state! I bet this is going to raise stoke and get more people to visit and explore on two wheels!
  • 5 0
 Thanks for a great article! I think the area needs some publicity to keep these great areas from succumbing to lack of use. As to La Grande- the team that works on the MERA trails does a killer job for what they have. They just need more use to keep them from growing over! I stop every time I’m in the area. Phillips lake is great for early season riding, as it gets usable in March/April.

Baker City is also starting to become home to the “Bend Refugees” that are looking for a less expensive, less crowded mountain town.
  • 6 0
 Great article Brice! I absolutely love the Elkhorns... its pretty much the only accessible high alpine riding we have in Oregon.
  • 2 0
 Thanks, Nikki!! Oregon is just incredible...so much diverse terrain and so many rad people!
  • 3 0
 I'm embarrassed to say I've been to Baker City many times but only to race the Elkhorn Classic Stage Race... Wish I would've traded in the road bike for a mountain bike so much sooner in life!! Gotta get back there to check out the trails.. Stunning terrain.
  • 2 0
 Very cool to see Baker City get some attention. I live down in another not-very-PNW part of Oregon in the Rogue Valley. Great riding around here as well. I’ve spent a little time around Joseph and Baker City and if you’re looking for an uncrowded, more rugged recreation experience that area has you covered. Also, the towns in NE Oregon aren’t close to anything, so no worries about the riding areas blowing up and getting trashed ????
  • 2 0
 @dorkboat2004: Yeah, one of the thing the locals here wanted to do was move away from so much of what has already been published in recent years from the Elkhorns, although I agree that trails like Elkhorn Crest and Summit Lake are world class and really set this place apart from so much of the rest of Oregon.
  • 4 0
 I love OR myself and visit often but it’s funny how people think the whole state is a live portlandia sketch. Even with that history a lot of great things are happening!
  • 4 0
 The MERA crew on Mt Emily have a hidden gem going. It is standard stop and ride anytime I am driving through on 84. Big trails and graded well. A+ stuff
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the visual insight. Im moving to Boise soon and was excited to explore this area. Funny people who already live nearby have no idea about these trails until this. Do people not look at maps anymore!? Its no secret!
  • 5 0
 Awesome content. keep these type of articles coming!
  • 3 0
 Awesome write-up Brice! That's only about 5 hrs from Sun Valley so I may have to make my way over there soon. Always stoked to explore new trails!
  • 2 0
 Thanks, Nate! It's been too long bud...I need to head your way soon!
  • 4 0
 BS is BA, Great pics and Article. Did you have the Bahn Mi Salad at that one place? On the south side of main, I think?
  • 1 0
 west side of main.
  • 1 0
 @PCbroModerator: cheers man! No dice on the Bahn Mi salad...I think you're talking about Side A Brewing in Lagrande? I had the Kale Caesar and a pork belly sandwich. Crazy good.
  • 1 0
 @briceshirbach: I think it was the lone pine. Maybe they dont have it anymore. Dont forget, Baker is halfway between Post Canyon and Sun Valley..
  • 1 0
 @PCbroModerator: ahhhh...yeah a burger w/sweet potato fries!
  • 2 0
 Proud to call this home.. This area has an abundance of potential hoping this attracts some attention. That was my bruh Terry with the dog barking in parking lot I'll have to tell him he's famous.
  • 1 0
 My wife and I went through Baker in May and rode out at Phillips Lake on recommendation from one of the local bike shops. We did not see another person out there, just a number of deer and Bald Eagles. Except for making the ride my wife's first night ride (thank goodness I had my lights in my pack) this was a nice easy trail trail for a spring ride.
  • 3 0
 Also do the Baker City cycling classic if you're into road racing. ????. Then bring your MTB and shred afterwards.
  • 3 0
 Great article, as always! Adding this to the list of destinations to check out within a day's drive.
  • 1 0
 Dan, you'd LOVE this place
  • 2 0
 Great write up. I often stop and ride in the Baker City area on my way to/from other PNW destinations. Excellent food co-op in Baker City too!
  • 2 0
 I bought my 2015 Giant Reign from the owner of a bike shop in Baker Oregon, if he's reading this the bike is still going strong!!!
  • 3 0
 Excellent photos, looks like a nice place to visit and go riding!
  • 2 0
 Bikepacked the Elkhorn Crest loop last year. Stunning range and a fun, underappreciated area.
  • 1 0
 I drove through here on a road trip to Moab from Vancouver but didn't have enough time to stop and explore. Added to the wish list now though.
  • 2 0
 We’ll be stopping here on our way to Moab!

Thanks for the idea!

Any reason why two dragons isn’t on Trailforks?
  • 1 0
 Yeah I wasn't aware that it was missing from the Trailforks map until I was putting this story together actually. We tried to get it updated, but the attempts ran into some technical issues (see: no GPX data) and it's not there. I'll see if I can get someone to try again! Any suggestions @brenthillier?
  • 1 0
 @briceshirbach: we found a track on ridewithgps. We’ll be riding it this Friday. I’ll record it in Trailforks so it will be there. Then it just needs to get made public.

Do you know if the lodge will be open on Friday?
  • 1 0
 @Sharonb: Should be....serve beers and food on the deck on Fridays and Saturdays!
  • 1 0
 Would you mind doing one of these for Utah County, Utah, really a great place to ride.
  • 2 0
 It would be rad to bring the series there!
  • 2 0
 Cool to see PB future my town La Grande.
  • 4 5
 "The only acceptable form of crop dusting in these here parts."

I don't think there's an acceptable form of crop dusting at all
  • 10 2
 Well you are from switzerland... we have patches of thistle and weeds larger than your entire country here...
  • 2 5
 The only thing you have to watch out for in Baker city and La Grande is meth heads.
  • 2 0
 And that clown on the porch of the school... Pennywise?
  • 3 3
 And the white supremacists. They and the meth heads go together though. Oregon was founded as a “white stronghold” and that tradition holds strong still some areas.
  • 4 1
 @EKrum: Sadly, true that the state was founded as a whites only state that included a "lash law" for any African Americans who stayed after sunset. I want to believe, however, that things are changing, and I know many of us are working toward that change. Don't let that scare anyone away as Oregon's issues are no different than in the rest of the US.
  • 2 0
 @EKrum: I'm Asian, never had an issue with anyone in Eastern Oregon.
  • 1 0
 @ORhvac: My wife grew up in EO. I'll avoid naming towns but she came from a predominantly Mexican town and heard all kinds of slurs mostly directed at Mexicans in certain towns during sports. She is Asian too and didn't hear much personally other than the slapstick type "humor" like making slant eyes, stuff that people bemoan for not being allowed due to "PC" and that probably happened everywhere in the 80s/90s. Most the racist people I know predominantly just don't like black people and Mexicans... racist people all think Asians are computer whiz model minorities.
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