Closest Towns: Monroe(20min)Alsea(20 min)Corvallis(45min)Eugene(50min), Portland( 2:00hr)
Ride Format: Loops-Trail System.
Trail Style: IMBA flow meets NW roots.
Giggle Rating: *****
Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate (but fun for all).
Ideal Bike: Dirt jump to enduro; Anything would be fun. Currently TDM would prefer a playful 5” trail bike.
When Wet: Trails are well drained, but soils are slippery and slow. Give it a day or two after heavy rain.
Overview: Alsea Falls is soooo much fun, and the anticipation is high because the area is just getting started. The truth is that TDM was a bit of a negative nelly about this area to start with, being not such a fan of many of the IMBA flow trails he had previously sampled, but the perfect sculpting and playful nature of the current trails has wholly converted him into a wide-track fanboy.
Adding to the area’s appeal is the fantastic family atmosphere. The Alsea Falls campground is pleasant and includes big trees and passable swimming holes near the falls itself. The trails lend themselves to cruising a run on the lower trails with the kids and grandparents, then powering up top with the crew for a fast lap with the shredders. In fact, of the things TDM really likes about this place is that diversity, and it is hard to tell if the logger on the three speed is really having any more or less fun than the enduro shredder with carbon wheels. To summarize this summary, despite some initial doubts, TDM wants to tell the world that Alsea Falls has incredibly fun trails for almost any skill level, and it will be getting even better in the near future. If TDM wanted to get somebody into mountain biking, this is definitely where he’d take them to set the trap. It is also his favorite destination (anywhere in the US) to ride with groups of mixed abilities…so easy to have fun at any speed!
Pros: Suited to almost any level of rider on almost any type of (mountain?) bike. Really good rhythm as long as you are not going mach-11. Pleasant easy climbs of varying elevation gain allow any fitness level some fun. Good camping and a nice forest setting. The area seems to handle crowds and varying abilities well.
Cons: The area is still fairly small, with one lap being around 7-10 miles. Much of the climbing is on paved or gravel logging roads. Advanced riders may find that railing some sections at full-tilt causes the rhythm to break down a bit. In particular many rolls/jumps begin to have flat or uphill landings if taken at these speeds, killing some of that well-earned momentum. Creative riders tend to find solutions to these issues, but it can be annoying if you are fast enough to max the place out. The trails are generally well drained, but soft soils create slower conditions when wet.
Need to Know: There is a map at the parking area which will indicate what trails are currently ready to ride; consult it prior to heading out. The camping is run by the BLM, and makes for a fun family weekend destination. These trails are the result of a great partnership between the BLM and Team Dirt (Corvallis IMBA chapter). If you live in the area, please consider helping with future maintenance and building by signing up for work days (see Team Dirt link below). You might also consider coming out for shuttle days, which help fund the building effort, and provide you with a great day of riding. Up to 20 additional miles of trail are planned for this area in the future!
Recommended Route Options
- The Simple Loop: About 7 miles and 1000 ft of climbing (.6-1.5hrs). From the parking lot, go past the gate and then up the paved logging road for about 3.5 miles to a split where the road turns to gravel. Turn left and proceed 150 yards to the top of Upper High Baller Trail. Switch the rig into down mode, and twist down this trail, continuing down lower High Baller and Springboard, eventually ending up at the parking lot after about 4 miles of descending. Check the map at the parking area, as new trails are coming soon, including trails above those mentioned here.
- The Full Loop: About 10 miles and 1600 ft climbing (.75 – 3 hours). From the parking lot proceed up the road past the gate for about two miles to a grael road branching off the pavement to the right. Take this gravel road a further few miles to the top of Whistle Punk Trail. Descend this section ( which is amazing) to a gravel road, then continue descending on the Sexy Tree trail a short distance to a road. This is the top of the climb on the shorter loop, so head a few hundred yards downhill on the gravel road (brief climb), hten continue descending back to the parking lot.
- More coming soon!
Links, Maps & Media
Mountain Bike Project: http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/6020203/alsea-falls-high-baller-and-springboard-loop
Team Dirt: http://teamdirt.org/