Northwest mountain biking trails

Happy (Mountain Biking) Trails: The Northwest’s Best Summertime Rides

Sure, you can mountain bike all year long in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s something about summertime riding that’s hard to resist. The sun, the scenery, the cool-off, post-ride swim and beverage.

There’s still plenty of the summer season left to enjoy. So gear up and get dirty on some of these kicking Northwest mountain biking trails.

Not-to-be-missed Trails in Oregon

Northwest mountain biking trails

Henry Hagg Lake
Length: 14.5-mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Just 30 miles outside of Portland, this ride loops around Henry Hagg Lake and through nice forests with occasional glimpses of the lake. Summer’s a great time for a ride because it’s dry—and you can cool off in the lake afterward.

Forest Park
Length: Up to 26 miles
Difficulty: Beginner to moderate
Portlanders don’t have to go too far to get their forest fix thanks to Forest Park, the largest urban forest park in the country. Link bike-friendly trails and fire lanes together for a nice, dry ride before the rains return.

Sandy Ridge
Length: 15-mile network
Difficulty: Beginner to advanced
Due west of Mount Hood, this relatively new system of trails winds through a scenic forest of firs, hemlocks and cedars with occasional grand views of the mountain off in the distance.

Post Canyon
Length: 15-mile network
Difficulty: Challenging
Where Hood River locals go to play! Post Canyon is a challenging network of forested trails, some of which include manmade jumps and other obstacles.

McKenzie River
26 miles total
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
This is the trail to ride in Oregon—forests, waterfalls, lakes and the incredible Tamolitch Pool, a blue gem of a pool where the McKenzie River emerges after an invisible stint underground.

TOP Tracks in Washington

Northwest mountain biking trails

Tiger Mountain
Length: 12 miles total
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
A favorite of Seattleites, the trails at Tiger Mountain offer a mix of technical riding with less-intense rides through the trees. It gets wet here in the winter, so summer’s the prime time.

Stafford Creek
Length: 12 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
Reward yourself after a scenic 6-mile climb up this trail with an immaculate view of the Stuart Mountain Range.

Saint Edwards State Park
Length: 25 miles total
Difficulty: Beginner to challenging
Located on the shores of Lake Washington, this state park offers a nice array of close-in trails, from chill single track to steep climbs and log obstacles.

Kettle Crest Trails
Length: 110-mile network
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
Located in Eastern Washington, the Kettle Crest trail network is the state’s largest system of non-motorized trails for mountain biking. Make the trip for subalpine scenery and endless miles on the trails.

Ape Canyon
Length: 22 miles total
Difficulty: Moderate
The scenery sells this stellar trail on Mount St. Helens. Once you’re up out of the towering old growth, you’ll be on the ashen Plains of Abraham taking in the devastation and beauty that coexist on this infamous peak.

Where are your favorite spots to trail ride in the Northwest? Let us know in the comments below!

Jon Bell

Jon Bell writes about the outdoors, fitness, health, and a range of other topics from his home in Lake Oswego, OR. He is also the author of "On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak."

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