This Winter when you are staring at your bike and the cold snowy new England Weather... go on a bike trip for your mind... Click a link and see a great adventure... Do some dreaming for the warmer weather.
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So many great stories to read from the riding community.
One thing is for sure, people all over the world love to share their riding stories.
Bend Oregon is called the Mountain Bike Mecca. I have no idea how many thousands of miles of trails they have out there. All I know is I had a friend living in Bend, and I had a 1 week vacation coming up in Early May 2013.
The McKenzie River Route is the EPIC Ride you Seek. This photo shows Clear Lake at the top of the McKenzie River Trail. We watched Fish Swim around the Baited-Hook that you could clearly see while these folks were fishing.
Bend is on the High Desert on the Eastern Side of the Cascade Mountains and is at ~4000 feet elevation. Just as you would expect in a Desert. There are no trees, lots of sand and brush, flat land, and it is very dry. However just 10 miles to the West in the Mountains the Trees are all over 100 feet tall, and forest so thick you have no clear view of any trail. The Western side of the Cascade's is where all the constant and heavy rain falls that Oregon is known for.
On the first outing we kept on the fairly flat land of the Dechutes River Basin. The raging water is an attention getter.
This was a 11 mile out and back (22 Miles) along this incredibly raging river. I have never seen anything like this in our North East. This river had so much energy in the water moving through it, I watched a 30 foot tree fly down the river and smash to splinters when it hit a volcanic rock wall. (Photo 14/26) (See Video below)
To add to the terror of this raging river that sounded like a Jet Engine, we had a Hail Storm our entire ride (Photos 10/26 and 13/26). This river carved itself into Volcanic Rock, so the entire trail was on Dry Lava. If you stray off the worn path, your tires get shredded from the Lava Rock. We were dressed for Winter with Many Layers, would not want to crash on the stuff wearing shorts in the summer.
Very Exciting Ride, left a lasting impression of what a Real River is like.
The next day my friend's wife was nice enough to taxi us up to the top of Kapka Butte (6000+ feet) to the Kapka Peak Snow Park, and YES, snowing it was. (Photo 15 of 26).
Started the ride with a quick descent of 800 feet in the 3" snow before crossing the Highway and climbing again, but no snow on this side at all, not even a hint of it.
By Mile 7, and after a few miles of climbing, it was clear we were on a Down Hill section. By mile 13 it was clear we were on a Down Mountain Section… It was about 8 miles of downhill bombing, screaming loud riders, and holding the handlebars sooo tight, you have to stop and rest your arms. (Yes, I screamed in fear on the way down)
25 miles total, most of it down hill and we rolled right into Downtown Bend. Great Ride, Thanks Alex...!
My friend said the Must See Epic Ride is the McKenzie River Trail.
Starting at Clear Lake on the McKenzie Highway, this is a 40 mile 2000 foot descent on Single-tracks along the purest river water I have ever seen. There are pools of water so clear you can’t see any water even when it is 50 feet deep. (Photos 20/26 + 21/26).
This was a really great ride, Epic..! Starting in a Lava Field and winding your way down from elevation in a forest so thick the only sound you hear is your tires, and your heartbeat.
In all, 5 days of riding at altitude (2 days in Portland for beer infused recovery at sea-level) and over 120 miles traveled in dense dark forest.
A lot of the bicycling clips have dissapeared after 10 years, but I think this Video still has a lot of Wow Factor
In 2015, I was able to do some extensive exploring in the Metro Denver area. Metro means a 15-20 mile radius from downtown Denver. In this area are hundreds of miles of bike paths and trails. Taken at 6500 feet, this photo shows the Deer Creek Canyon Foothills behind Lakewood Village. (3rd Story) Behind that is Waterton Canyon, the headweaters of the Platt River. (Main River through Denver) It is also the Trail-Head for the 465 Mile Colorado Trail Adventure. (Yes MTB's do it in 7-10 days). On my trip to Waterton Canyon, not-knowing I did the first 20 miles of the Colorado Trail.
Out in Denver for work, I spent a total of 35 days on 5 different trips over the entire summer. Working second shift, I had 5 – 6 hours of free time every morning, which I used to maximum advantage. Using www.RidewithGPS.com, I was able to map out my rides ahead of time, pick all the sites I wanted to see, and load them into my Garmin 810 GPS unit. Not knowing where I was going, never been to any of these places, I was able to see everything that I planned to see. In all I rode over 330 miles of trails in Metro Denver.
About Denver: Denver is on the East Side of the Rocky Mountains. It is located in the High Desert at 5000 feet elevation. Most of the Metro Denver area is Flat Desert. East of Denver is all flat desert. Desert meaning lots of Sand, flat lands, hot sun, no trees, no water, and tumbleweeds everywhere. Denver has an extensive network of Bike Paths mostly following dry creeks, or flowing rivers. Some head straight out into the Desert, some into the foothills of the Rockies, and some just around the metro towns of Denver.
Riding on Green Mountain is a very different type of riding. Most of the Rocky Mountains are just that… Rocky. At the Summit of Green Mountain, you can look 100 miles North or South and all you see is the Rocky Mountains in one straight line. The Green Mountain you are standing on is the only one that is GREEN. No trees, but lots of low brush, green grass, and shrubs. (Photo 18/27)
Starting at the Rooney Road Trail Head, there is a parking lot where you start your ride. I recommend going straight up to the summit on the main fire-road. It is a very hard 2000+ foot climb. If you are not used to the elevation, it can take you a long time to reach the summit. After 6500 feet (Higher than Mt. Washington, NH) I had to stop every 100 yards to breath... took an hour till I got used to it.
While near the summit, you can hear Birds everywhere but there are no trees?? Very weird feeling. Once I got to the top… WOW, it was worth it. I could see Downtown Denver, the hotel where I stayed and deep into the snow covered Rockies. (Photo 14/27) I made a great 10 mile loop that stays up high, hits the down hills a few times, and comes back up. 3 Ups and 3 downs total.
Anyway the riding was fantastic. As East Coast riders, we often find comfort in the tree’s, but up here, you can see for a hundred miles in any direction. Which means anyone (any animal) can see you at a distance too.
Just across the way from where you park is Dinosaur Ridge. While the ridge itself not really a ridable trail (I tried it) there are real Dinosaur Fossils to view. Worth taking the time to visit. This ride, along with the other Denver rides are so different from our normal East-Coast rides, you will remember this trip for a long time.
Most of the trails in Denver are well defined, and safe. There are Wild Animals Everywhere, and you are on your own, very exciting...!
From my Hotel in Littleton, I found many trails and bike paths to hit, without getting in the car. Very close to the Chatfield Lake State Park, a series of Bike paths run from there into the foothills, to the city, and into the Desert. Of all these I tried, my favorite ride from the hotel was the East West Regional Trail.
This trail goes deep into the rural territories at the Highlands Point Butte. The rolling hills and red-dirt trails are smooth and flowing. Once all farm and cattle land there are now large ranch properties and condo developments bordering the area. As part of these condo’s... they also own a lot of the land you are riding on. So there are some trail restrictions for non residents.
The Marcy Gulch Trail is a good route to get you out to the fun spots. The first 7 miles is a gentle climb of 1500 feet. A well kept bike path along a dry gulch that brings you to the West Big Dry Trail. (Satellite view map above) This is where you find the fun stuff, rolling hills, smooth dirt trails, hard banking turns, fast, twisty, and FUN. Just do not get caught being on the wrong trails. (The Fun Trails are the Private ones)
By Mile 16, you are off to the Chatfield Lake on the East West Regional Trail. This route will take you through some ranch lands where folks have very large properties. Near Mile 22, you are on the Chatfield Lake Dam, for an unobstructed view of the Rocky Mountains before you head back.
I did this ride 4 times while out there. One time was right after a lite rain. All I can say is the fun dry trails turned into Slick-Ice Trails that pack many pounds of red-mud onto me and my bike. (Photo 10/17) After one such ride, my bike was so heavy I could not lift it (over 100 lbs of Mud) and it was packed into the chain, gears, sprockets..every place it could go, and impossible to clean-off without a lot of Water.
Deer Creek Canyon is a really great ride. Everything Colorado in one Canyon area. Ventured out on this 20 mile trek 4 times. This is a very popular park with the locals. On weekdays, most of the other parks would be empty, but Deer Creek Canyon always had an active group. In fact, most of Metro Denver heads into the mountains on the weekends. This is not a good thing as I have heard trying to hike a 14,000 footer, or MTB at your favorite park is almost impossible. Too many athletes, not enough mountains. The reasons are obvious. The entire area is Breathtaking.
The Deer Creek ride is a 20 mile route that takes you to the top of Plymouth Mountain and the Red Mesa Loop, Elevation 7400 Feet. Then at Mile 14, you are headed across the road you came up on, and over to the South Valley Park for some wide-open riding among the Foothills. Mile 17 you take the Lyons Brook Trail which starts you on a wild downhill ride on a one-way trail that gets you back to your car for a 20 mile total ride.
However, if 20 miles is not enough, right across the street is an extra 5 bonus miles if you get on the Two Brands Trail. This is a quick loop along the ridge-line of Hildebrand Ranch Park. This is where I seen my first rattle snake of my trip about 3 feet from my shoulder as I whizzed by. Did not know till the person I was riding with told me. YIKES…!
This is a great hike on the Western Half of Acadia. A 6+ Mile loop with a few bail-outs if you want a shorter hike.
The first 2 miles are just mountain hiking in foliage brush. Once you get to Acadia Mt Summit you will be able to see most of Somes Sound.
The very first thought you have, the first time you see Somes Sounds is: Gotta Get Me a Kayak...! It is an eye full of views. Nearly 5 miles end-to-end, it has mountains along the shoreline on both sides. The views are incredible and unforgettable.
I would think they call this Flying Mountain because there is always a wind here you can fly-on. On the open ocean of Somes Sound, right below the summit of Flying Mountain, is a sheer cliff where the wind races up and over the summit.
Great place to take an extended rest, maybe some food, and sit overlooking Somes Sound where it meets the open ocean and the Cranberry Islands.
This hike is probably the toughest on the island. Mostly because of the West Face section of this hike.
Take a bus to the Jordan Pond House. If you think you can drive, you will never find a parking spot. Jordan Pond is an amazing view of inner Acadia Park. Directly across the pond are the Bubble Mountains, probably the most photographed feature on the island.
There is no other climb in Acadia that matches this one: Cadillac West Face. It is a 45 degree slope climb of nearly 1 mile. I never recommend descending down West Face... too dangerous. There are a few slick-rock ledge faces that usually are wet from mountain water. This makes them slippery as ice. Any wrong move is a 300 foot drop.
Don't let me scare you, the uphill portion of this hike is well worth it...!
You will kinda feel cheated when you finally get to the Cadillac Mountain Summit and realize there are over 100 other people there. There is an Auto-Road to the top. There's also a store in case you did not pack enough water for your hike.
Plan on an extended stay at the summit before moving on to Dorr Mountain to finish your hike.
Being able to park and hike is a great option for some hikes like this one. The Sargent Mountain hike starts off with a visit to three other peaks before the summit climb.
Once on the summit, you will be able to see most of the inside of Acadia Forest, the West Face of Cadillac and the larger ponds.
Sargent Mountain is a large formation with a great carriage trail that circumvents the entire mountain.
If you rent a bike, this is where you want to ride - on the Carriage Roads of Acadia. The 1 mile climb up is well worth the 2.5 mile downhill on the other side.
At the summit of Cedar Swamp, you have a choice to stay on the prescribed trail, or venture down to the Amphitheater. The visual is well worth it, but once you are down, you will be on a carriage road for the remainder of the hike.
While this is one of the easier hikes, the Wow-Factor is over the top on this one. Using the Island Bus, get yourself dropped off at the Otter Cliffs. It is a 7- mile return hike to Bar Harbor.
Start on the Otter Cliffs Trail, which runs down along the ocean. You may see lots of rock climbers in action. The rugged coastline of Acadia is on full display for this area.
Once you get off the ocean-side trail, you start your climb on Gorham Mountain, a gentle, but steady, climb on bald-face trails. The trail splits at one location near Mile 2, and you want to take the Cadillac Cliffs option. You will see sheer rock faces, caves, and climb over rock formations.
When you tell people you went to Acadia, the first question is: Did you Hike the Beehive? The Beehive, while short on elevation (580 feet), is big on entertainment.
Near Mile 3, this is a near vertical climb on 3 foot wide cliffs that zig-zag back and forth on the way up the mountain. There are metal ladder rungs forced into the rock-face for the areas where it is really tricky. I have seen folks in tears from fear, and I have seen 10 year olds with no fear. This is a climb you will never forget. As seen in the photo, you have a clear view of Sand Beach while you climb.
A great Road ride with long rolling hills and periodic spectacular views of many different lakes. The Saranac Lakes Ride starts at the Mirror Lake location and heads to the town "Saranac Lake" before heading once around the loop and returning to that same town. Nice wide open roads, not a lot of traffic, but there are a lot of Lumber Trucks.
From the Mirror Lake location, there is a great 10 mile MTB ride just around the corner. Great views of the mountains and the Ski Jumps from past Olympic Events.
Hiking in the Adirondacks is not like being in the well marked and maintained trails of NH. The moment you step on a trail in the Adirondacks, you know you are in pure wilderness. Trails are not well marked, and not well maintained. You check in at a Ranger Station, and tell them your Agenda. So stick to that agenda. This was an easy hike with just tons of WOW factor. (Go in the Fall)