Closest Towns: Eugene(1Hr), Oakridge, Bend (1.5 Hr), Corvallis(2 Hr), Portland (3 Hr),
Ride Format: Often Shuttled, or loops/Figure 8’s via logging road climbs.
Trail Style: Rustic, sometimes rugged trail riding with some big descents to finish..
Giggle Rating: ** to ***, depending on condition and your temperament
Technicality: Moderate, but narrow tread on side-hills make it feel more advanced.
Physical Difficulty: Moderate with shuttle, or difficult to f^%$ed up if riding loops.
Ideal Bike: Trail bike, but a XC whip would be good too.
Wet Conditions: Not the greatest; brush applies constant agua to the self.
Overview: Word is spreading far and wide of the greatness of the O’Leary loop, whose opening gambit is the climbing of the northern most section of the Ollalie trail. At the top of this climb most folks hang a right, and traverse the awesome ridges leading back to their waiting beers via the King Castle descent, and in so doing they ignore traverse of the interesting ridgeline that is the full Ollalie experience. To some degree this decision to ignore the Ollalie fork makes all the sense in the world; O’Leary is clearly the better choice.
But suiters should not stop here, as there are several ways to have your cheesecake and eat it too, and some of these combinations compete in TDM’s mind as the best possible way to enter in to the O’leary zone. To summarize this summary, despite an intriguing backcountry feel and an undeniable sense of isolation, the Ollalie trail as a whole is just awkward enough to keep folks from raving about its miles of forested ridgeline and narrow tread. Despite these truths, Ollalie remains a cool adventure that is easily tacked onto the best parts of the O’Leary loop, making an already classic ride just a little more adventurous…hard not to like that.
Pros: Many readers have not done it, so get out on an adventure. Creative shuttling can splice this rig onto the best parts of O’Leary, and get you an extra descent (or climb) in the process. Likelihood of running into other folks on this ridge…not high.
Cons: The trail is in poor order in a few sections, so expect some minor hiking at slide locations. Sections are sometimes bushy as well. Despite awesome positioning on a remote ridge, the views are mostly limited to forested hillsides…but there are a few nice exceptions. Much of the trail is relatively level, meaning descents are in short order, but then again, so are significant climbs (discounting either end of the trail).
Need to Know: If the trail has not been cut out you may be in for a hell of a rough day. Also, TDM recommends riding this as some sort of loop, lollipop, or shuttle to reduce the time spent as and out and back…the main ridge is entertaining once, but riding it twice in a day may not appeal as much. Luckily there are several options to choose from, particularly if riding some logging roads is not too objectionable.
Recommended Route Options
- Simple Shuttle**10 miles and ~1,000 ft climbing (1-3 hours)going south to north. Can start at either end, but TDM recommends south to north since it leaves a big descent on gorgeous and narrow tread at the end, but what does he know? From McKenzie Bridge, take Horse Cr Road a couple o miles to USFS RD 1993. Turn right onto this and drive about 3 miles uphill to the TH. To get to the other end, return to Horse Cr Rd, turn right, then drive about 7 mi on Horse Cr Rd to USFS 356. Turn right onto this, and drive about 5 miles to road 1993. To go to the south end, turn left (South) and drive a further 3.8 or so miles to the TH. To get to the middle of Ollalie (and the start of O’Leary), turn right at the RD 356/RD1993 intersection and follow rd 1993 north along the ridge about (4?) miles to the Horsepasture Mtn TH.
- Lollipop using the Saddle Trail and the 1993 road*** (19 miles and 3,500+ ft climbing…climbing stats may be sandbagged?). Start at the Northern Ollalie TH and climb to the Saddle Trail. Drop that to the 1993 road, then climb that to the south Ollalie TH, and traverse the ridge back to your vehicle, finishing with a great descent.
- Shuttle combo pack with O’Leary.****~32 miles, 4,700 ft climbing, (3-6 HRS) This is the way TDM likes his Ollalie/O’Leary sandwich…might rival the normal O’Leary combos. He ride starts atop the ridge at the Horsepasture Mtn trailhead, then immediately descends the highly rustic Saddle Trail (perfect your nose manuals on the many switchies) to the USFS 1993 Rd. Turn left on the road and climb this for 6ish miles to the Ollalie TH. Head up the hill, then traverse Ollalie to an eventual turn onto the O’Leary trail, then cruise that ridge to finish on King’s Castle. The shuttle involves Horse Cr Rd, thenUSFS 356 and 1993 to the Horsepasture TH.
- TDM should also mention one can drop the Saddle trail, then climb back up to the start point without doing the Ollalie ridge…shorter, and skipping the whole point of this page, but possible if climbing the 1995 road…a bit of bushwhacking might be needed at the top.
Links, Maps & Media
Mountain Bike Project: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/3866235
Adventure maps: Sisters and Redmond map – http://www.adventuremaps.net/shop/product/product/sisters-redmond-high-desert-trail-map-2/
USFS Map- McKenzie Ranger District (also has the other trails and camping in the area…good map).