Umpqua River Trail
Our Umpqua River Trail trip includes some of the best singletrack mountain biking we ride anywhere in the country.
The trail is truly the land of milk and honey: smooth, perfect trail tread with excellent traction undulating through vast and diverse forests of mountain hemlock, western cedar, and the mighty Douglas fir.
For much of the trip we follow the North Umpqua River downstream. But don't be fooled, there is plenty of climbing as we flow through the forest. While we contour through the mountains, we are often high above the river with exposure on the downhill side.
The trail is smooth and flowing, but singletrack experience is a must. This guided mountain biking trip is not to be missed. Give us a call at 800-845-2453. We'll help you get started planning one of the best rides you'll ever do.
After a three hour shuttle we begin our trip on the shores of Lemolo Lake at the northern end of the North Umpqua River Trail. Lemolo Lake is remote, with just a few campgrounds and crystal blue water. We’ll unload and have a quick lunch before our ride. We will start with a contouring section of trail that is a great warm-up and precursor to the week’s ride. The Umpqua is named after the Native Americans who made this area their home. Some think the word Umpqua means satisfied—as we know you will be by the end of this week. The trail is cut into the steep wooded hillsides of the Umpqua River canyon, and while the trail surface itself is not very technical, the challenge is in maintaining good balance to keep your bike on the trail. Today’s trail section is cut in the wooded northern slope of the lake snaking between the enormous pines that Oregon is famous for. We’ll loop around a lush little stream, which is the very headwaters of the North Umpqua River, and return on the same trail to our beach-side camp on Lemolo Lake. TOTAL MILEAGE: 16 miles
Today is the big day, more for the name’s sake than the mileage. Our trail section today is called Dread and Terror and you’ll see right away what they mean. Our favorite forest service ranger deems this section his favorite; it is profound, dramatic and thrilling. The North Umpqua River cuts through a gorge and our trail is etched into the edge. Though very well constructed and maintained there are some exposed moments. We’ll pass Lemolo Falls, a 135 foot horsetail waterfall pouring over a wall of basalt. Here the gorge is so tight and the riding is so mesmerizing that we’ve had some riders miss the falls completely! Don’t let that happen to you. Dread and Terror traverses forested slopes, grassy flats and across steep streambeds and has generally been voted the most technical section of the trip. We pack a lunch to enjoy in the canyon and eventually meet the van for a refreshing beverage. We’ll resume riding the North Umpqua River Trail at the hot springs, a spur option off the trail. We ride another few miles to our open meadow camp just up from Toketee Lake. There is a great side trip to the dramatic Toketee Falls for the extra energetic and a handy swimming option right from camp. TOTAL MILEAGE: 17 miles
From Toketee Lake we go east on the North Umpqua River Trail, the Deer Leap Section. This is impressive trail building at its best with lots of ups and downs through massive hemlocks, cedars and Douglas fir. We contour our way high above the river and get great views of the surrounding valleys. This trail is truly a dream. We’ll break for lunch at the Soda Springs Dam where we can see giant schools of Coho and Chinook salmon. In the afternoon we ride the Jesse Wright segment of the trail. Jesse and her husband Perry Wright homesteaded in this area in the early 1900s. Their outdoor lifestyle and dedication to the land of the North Umpqua is quite inspiring. We arrive at Horseshoe Bend, our campground on the river, with a true sense of “umpqua” or satisfaction. TOTAL MILEAGE: 18 miles
We continue on the North Umpqua River Trail back at the Marsters Bridge. This section includes some challenging ups and downs with great views of the river. There are some fun side canyons that we contour through as we follow the river east on the way to the ocean. If you pick a strategic resting spot and have a bit of patience, you will be rewarded with the heroic efforts of a very large salmon hurling itself skyward as it makes its way up river to spawn. Back on the trail, we continue to the Calf Creek Trailhead and the next section of trail. At the Mott Bridge we are going to leave the North Umpqua and head across the river to the Riverview Trail, a great cruise to our camp at Bogus Creek. From camp we have the option in the afternoon to lounge riverside or get back on the bike for a short but spectacular loop to Falls Creek Falls. TOTAL MILEAGE: 14 miles, optional additional 6 miles
We have saved some of the best trail and the best challenges for today. We will be hitting the trail early to head for the Tioga segment of the trail. This includes 15 miles of rollicking through the forest. The first part is similar to the last few days with a few steeper pitches, both up and down. There is bit of a climb to negotiate Susan’s Creek, but the real killer is Bob’s Butte. The trail heads for a rocky outcrop and some wicked switchbacks before we top out in the trees for a well earned picnic lunch in the forest. For the grand finale we get a ripping descent back down to river level. Huge trees and big patches of vine maple make this twisty turny section a hoot. We finish our ride at a giant swimming hole with a beautiful granite beach. We’ll load up and shuttle back to Medford. TOTAL MILEAGE: 15 miles
This is a technical singletrack trip. A high level of fitness is necessary and singletrack experience is highly recommended. We will be without vehicle support during all of the singletrack sections of the ride. Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Singletrack, mostly firm pack, some loose pumice, smooth pine duff and rocky sections. A few sections of grassy, rocky trail with exposure. Some dirt roads and a few miles of pavement.
Overall Rating: Intermediate/Advanced
Technical Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Physical Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Altitude: 4,000 - 6,500 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.