Closest Towns: Eugene(45 min), Bend( 1:30)
Ride Format: Partial shuttle or loop.
Trail Style: Trail, with a shredible ending.
Giggle Rating: ***(***** last 4 miles)
Flow:**(****last 4 mi.)
Difficulty: Advanced ( remote)
Epic Scale: Solid
Ideal Bike: Trail bikes…something that can climb and descend.
Overview: TDM needs a moment to collect himself, because this ride is pretty sick. Oregon is not short on quality CCC-made offerings, but there are only a few of the legally-ridden trails which offer that really out-there backcountry feeling. Enter the O’leary loop. Expect big climbs, narrow tread, bear grass, rhododendrons, great views, some switchbacks, and one ripping descent to cap it off. Just come prepared, because this one is a bit more remote than most in this area. To summarize this summary, TDM loves him some adventure and narrow tread. Add big climbs, big descents, and some rhododendron and bear grass, and you have one of TDM’s favorite rides within Oregon.
Pros: Great views, beautiful forest and meadows, feels like a bit of an adventure. This is trail riding…narrow tracks with variable surfaces and rhythm. The final descent is one of TDM’s favorites in the state.
Cons: Climb, you must. There is some pavement in the full loop, but it’s not unpleasant.
Need to Know: Bring a map and carry water, as there is none available until near the end. Make sure you do the short hike to the top of Macduff Mtn, as the scenery is great, and this signals the point where you dive’r down the hill. All the climbs are fair, but there is a definite sense of accomplishment and anticipation when sitting on top of Macduff Mtn. Watch those switchbacks!
- Full Loop: about 25 miles and around 6000 ft of climbing (4-7 hours). The Dirt Magnet prefers to travel in circles, and this is the only way he has done this ride to date. Park at the Kings Castle TH (near the covered bridge in the town of Rainbow), and ride east on the paved road 2639 to a right turn onto 2638, shortly followed by another right onto single lane road 1993. Climb 1993 to the Ollalie North TH, and then follow the singletrack up the (big) hill from there. Bring a map to follow the O’leary route from there. A second option ignores the first TH, continuing up road 1993 to the second Ollalie North TH, passing a road slip or two in route. The talk around town is that this route it a bit longer, a fair bit easier on the legs, and has some great views.
- Semi-shuttle. About 20 miles and 4500 ft of climbing (2.5-4 hours). TDM forgives you if 6000ft of climbing sounds like too much of a good time, particularly considering the amount of road involved. The obvious solution is a semi-shuttle which cuts out the paved road sections, starting your ride at the lower Ollalie North TH, and continuing the ride through to the Kings Castle TH, where you will find yourself ranting endlessly about the final four miles. Shuttles can also be done to the Horsepasture Mountain TH, which cuts the big climb out completely, and leaves one with either a much more casual day, or possible loops involving the Ollalie Trail…time to get creative! There may be shuttles available through the McKenzie Bridge store, but I’ve no confirmation of that.
Links, Maps & Media
USFS Map- McKenzie Ranger District ( also has the other trails in the area…available at the McKenzie ranger station located only a few miles away).
Mountain Bike Project: http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/212960/mckenzie-river-trail-mrt