Closest Towns: Philomath(10min)Corvallis(20min)Eugene(1hr), Portland( 1:50)
Ride Format: Loop or figure 8.
Trail Style: Trail, with a shredible ending.
Giggle Rating: ****
Flow:**** for advanced, *** for intermediate and below.
Technicality: Moderate, with cruxes being closer to a high ranking.
Difficulty: Mostly intermediate with some difficult cruxes.
Epic Scale: Mild
Ideal Bike: Trail bike with a downhill bias.
When Wet: Roots are very slippery, but it rides well.
Overview: Mary’s does not seem to get the respect it deserves, but TDM and his crew find this hard to complain about. Old growth trees enshroud a rocky, rooty, loamy ribbon that winds its way up and down the largest peak in the Coast Range, and the views from the summit meadow are the cherry on top. Well, sort of…the real cherry is the descent of N Ridge, which is long, beautiful and flowing. Recent trail work has improved some sections and completely neutered others, but its still one of the best in the state. To summarize this summary, Despite being in his back yard, TDM is not likely to grow weary of this loop’s big trees and quality riding any time soon. His only wish is that it were a bit longer, and still had all of its teeth.
Pros: Big, beautiful forest with meadow views on top. Some fun climbing, and some of the better descending in the area (or state). Short tricky cruxes both climbing and descending let you pick your poison without ruining the day if you are not feeling full sauce. The final descent is one of TDM’s favorites in the state.
Cons: The climb is fair, but not cake. There can be a lot of hikers, and part of the climb is on a gravel road (though it is a rather nice one). At only 10-13 miles it is a bit short…do it twice! The lower segment of N Ridge trail can be a bit overgrown, and is not the quality of the upper N Ridge.
Need to Know: Please be considerate of hikers on this one! The forest service is happy with the cycling scene on this trail at the moment, but there is real opportunity for conflict; please respect other users and slow down when sightlines are not excellent. There are many ways to link these trails together, but TDM recommends strongly that you descend via North Ridge at the end of the day, as descending East ridge is merely fun, while the N Ridge is a gigglefest. Also note that several trails in the area are closed to bikes, and that snow can be a factor on these trails during winter.
Other Rides in the area: Alsea Falls (***), The Mac(**),Black Rock(***) Oakridge is 1.6 hrs away.
Recommended Route Options
- The Simple Loop: About 11 miles and 2500 ft of climbing (1-3 hours). From the Woods Cr Rd parking area, ride through the gate and up the gravel road about 3.5 miles to a second gate and the East Ridge TH. Ride apx. 2.5 mi up East Ridge, staying left at the Tie Trail junction, to the top parking area. Continue from here up gravel road to the top meadow for some views. Cruise back down to the north side of the parking area, then put your rig in downhill mode and pick up the North Ridge Trail, which you will rally about 4 miles back to the car. Short and sick.
- The complete package figure 8: About 15 miles and 3500 ft of climbing (1.5-3 hours) This is the loop that TDM and his cronies recommend, as it maximizes the distance, and the descending pleasure, all in one concise little figure-8ish thing. Start at the pullout where Woods Cr Rd and Old Peak Rd meet, and cruse up Woods Cr Rd about 1.5 mi to the regular parking lot. Proceed through the gate, up the gravel road, and then up East Ridge trail, staying right just past a bench so that you might enjoy the techy charms of climbing the tie trail (don’t fall off the cliff). When you hit North Ridge trail, turn left to climb up the hill to the parking lot, then up the gravel Rd to the top. Now descend the East Ridge Trail back down to Tie Trail, turn left and do Tie a second time, then descend the best of North Ridge, crossing the gravel road and continuing on lower N Ridge Trail to finish out on 2 miles of narrow treaded singletrack which ends neatly at your car. Note that this lower North Ridge Trail can be a bit overgrown at times, but is a good time, either as a climb or a descent. TDM typically climbs this trail as well, avoiding the initial gravel groveling. A bit harder, but not so bad.
Links, Maps & Media
Mountain Bike Project: http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/4151702/marys-peak-loop