Escape Adventures offers the perfect summertime singletrack mountain bike tour at Mount Hood.
The sight of Oregon’s Mount Hood (53-miles east of Portland) can be something of a revelation. First spotted by Lewis and Clark in 1805, and often compared to another great upswept dome, Japan’s Mount Fuji, Oregon’s tallest peak rises 11,250 feet over gentle forested slopes. Its topographic prominence—how high the summit rises above its surroundings—places Hood amongst America’s loftiest.
An incredibly diverse succession of terrain, from glacial plains to mountain ridges, rainforests, woodlands to orchard valleys, defines this mountain bike epic. From Oregon’s most prominent landmark, Mt. Hood, notable for its twelve snowfields or glaciers, the potentially active stratovolcano beneath it, we skirt the surrounding 1,067,000-acre national forest, headed for the Columbia River Gorge.
Following a portion of the historic, 2170-mile Oregon Trail, laid out by fur traders in 1811, who gave way to large wagon wheels our tour then traces an ancient glacial ridgeline. The latter flanks Mount Hood. Egressing into the Columbia River National Scenic Area, we’ll experience the legendary singletrack atop Surveyor’s Ridge.
Bestowed with IMBA Epic status, Surveyor’s 20-miles of singletrack merges some techie spots with big alpine rushes. No doubt a bit of a challenge at times, the work pays off: in a thrilling descent from High Prairie, matched by a glorious panorama of the Cascade Mountain Range. Like sprinkles on an ice cream cone, crisscrossing glacier-fed streams, riding through the scenic Hood River Valley and down to the mighty Columbia River, tops up this tour. You can also expect views of Mt. Adams and Mt St. Helens, its self-healing process, from the 1980 eruption creating a one-of-a-kind landscape.
Characterized by an alpine to high desert transition, with a total elevation loss of 4,000 ft., color this an athletic bike tour, owing to a dynamic of daily climbs and descents. That said, many of these routes have options: either transiting calmer-wider logging roads, or hewing to more technical singletrack. Reflexively this mountain bike tour fits riders of widely varying abilities.
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