McKenzie River Trail (MRT)

 94 votes
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Featured Ride
Trail

25.4 Miles 41.0 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

488' 149 m

Ascent

-2,197' -670 m

Descent

3,147' 959 m

High

1,430' 436 m

Low

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Unknown

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

Katy Ryan

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 often described as the #1 trail in the US. It is a stunningly beautiful, mostly downhill trail, but it is an all day ride, even if you are fit. Generally ridden as a shuttle, but the uber fit and motivated could ride it back (that's crazy though).

The technical is not concentrated in one area, which makes it hard to bypass. Most everyone will walk some of the sections. If you aren't willing to walk, at least scout some of them out, before you need to walk out with a broken arm. There are three main areas of technical in the upper third section of the MRT: east side of Clear Lake, after Sahalie Falls, and after Tamolitch Falls.

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.

Technical resumes after Sahalie Falls, and again 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.

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4.6 from 94 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Nov 26, 2016
Troy Daniel
Not the downhill run that it looks like. Over pretty good
Nov 6, 2016
John Kvanduch
25mi
Oct 22, 2016
Brandon Durgan
Fern Gully
Oct 10, 2016
Marc Ellis
Rainy and muddy but still gorgeous! 25.4mi
Oct 8, 2016
Katie Fox
4mi — 2h 30m
Oct 2, 2016
Craig Bond
Out to Trail Bridge Reservoir and back.
Oct 1, 2016
Krystyna Bednarz
Sep 25, 2016
Jamie Umbras
28.1mi — 5h 00m

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 94 votes

#22

Overall
  4.6 from 94 votes
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Rankings

#3

in Oregon

#22

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1,860 Views Last Month
39,051 Since Jun 9, 2013
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You have to love riding technical rock that can seriously cut you and break you into pieces if you fall to like this trail. I am a strong intermediate rider but found myself walking a lot last year on a 26" wheeled full suspension xc bike. The scenery is gorgeous but I like flowy trails and the upper section did not flow for me. Do a serous self-assessment beforehand and be ready for an all-day adventure - you might end up walking 2-3 miles of different sections and it can start to get you down if not ready for it. Take the highway side around the lake to avoid a bunch of rock - we took the rocky side and I regretted that later. Jul 28, 2016


massively over rated. very little flow, sections of single track are relatively dull to ride despite amazing scenery in places. Constant flow of hikers makes it impossible to gather any sustained momentum. Deceptively hard work due to poorly planned routing through lava fields that were never designed with MTB in mind. Take my advice- Camp here and hike the trail, then go ride at Oakridge. Nov 9, 2016


HUGE letdown for the bucketlist ride. Shuttle was fine, but first ten miles was nothing but miserable, jagged lava rocks, which feel really great when you land on them. Followed by ten miles of so-so ST and a somewhat smooth finish. The MRT is indeed DH as billed...but it's not a DH trail. Peddling almost 100% of the time. I'll take Marin, Fruita, Moab, Bend any day...VERY overrated. Mar 6, 2017


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