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McKenzie River Trail (MRT)

Difficult
 4.6 (158) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Rivers, bridges, lush terrain, waterfalls, blue pools, and technical riding.


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Map Key

25.4

Miles

41.0

KM

100%

Singletrack

3,147' 959 m

High

1,430' 436 m

Low

488' 149 m

Up

2,197' 670 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Overview

The MRT is 20+ miles of flowing singletrack, ideally located among old growth forest, waterfalls,mosses, ferns and brilliant blue pools of water. It is a long, mostly downhill and a a super fun spin. Of course, it wouldn't be the perfect trail without the sharp volcanic rock technical sections. The upper MRT has most of the technical, while from Trail Bridge Campground it is fairly smooth.

Need to Know

The McKenzie River is one of the coldest in the US. Don't jump in from any cliff, it is deadly. The volcanic rock is pretty slick when wet.

Horse Creek Lodge & Outfitters provides shuttles for hikers and bikers on the McKenzie River Trail and O'Leary Trail, and they rent and repair bikes. More information can be found on their website or by calling 541-822-3243.

Description

The MRT is a beautiful trail with a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced sections. It is often ridden downhill as a shuttle, but if you are fit you can ride part or all of it uphill.

Above the "blue pool" (Tamolithch Falls) is mostly intermediate with a few technical bits. There are three main areas of technical in the upper third section of the MRT: east side of Clear Lake, a short section below Sahalie Falls, and mostly after Tamolitch Falls where it becomes very rugged and rocky - great fun if you like technical challenges, wise to walk if not.

From the start, you'll ride a few miles of moderate singeltrack. At Clear Lake you can continue the easy-moderate trail on the westside, or opt for the highly technical section on the east side (a sunny, sweltering hot, sharp lava rock, tube eating option if you like that kind of adventure...credit to Mark for that). After the lake, it's back to nice flow.

A bit of technical sections below Sahalie Falls, quite a bit more below Tamolitch Falls. If you don't care to ride the volcanic rock, you need to walk it, there are no ride-arounds.

After you encounter Trail Bridge Campground, the riding is fairly smooth again, with a very smooth finish, but watch out for a very steep embankment and narrow trail shortly after you cross the log bridge over the Smith River feeding into the reservoir. If you've got wide handlebars it is easy to bump roots/rocks sticking out up hill and careen down the cliff.

Contacts

Shared By:

Katy Ryan with improvements by Andy Matthews and 2 others

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 158 votes

#14

Overall
  4.6 from 158 votes
5 Star
73%
4 Star
16%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
1%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Oregon

#14

Overall
2,454 Views Last Month
108,450 Since Jun 9, 2013
Difficult

0%
0%
14%
0%
86%
0%

Photos

The smooth and fast lower MRT- McKenzie River Trail
Oct 2, 2014 near McKenzi…, OR
The lower section going up
Apr 4, 2013 near McKenzi…, OR
Rocky volcanic fun!  This section requires twenty minutes of focus to get clean.
Jul 2, 2017 near McKenzi…, OR
Trail bridge over Lost Creek
May 3, 2014 near McKenzi…, OR
Fun on the McKenzie River Trail
Oct 17, 2013 near McKenzi…, OR
Clear Lake colors
Mar 29, 2013 near McKenzi…, OR

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Check-Ins

Jun 25, 2020
Alex Prak
Oct 6, 2019
Jen Tietjen
Only rode the bottom 5 miles in and back. The lower trail is easy, beautiful and super fun. Pretty much all flow. 10mi
Sep 12, 2019
Tiffany Logan
Fucking dumb 29mi — 6h 00m
Sep 2, 2019
David S
Strava dropped twice 16.2mi — 2h 33m
Aug 29, 2019
David Lewinter
Aug 5, 2019
Kirsten B
26mi — 6h 00m
Jul 3, 2019
Brandon R
Jun 25, 2019
Nick Giorgi
Classic fun pedal downhill.