O'Leary Trail Loop - IMBA EPIC
ElevationAscent: 4,170' 1,271 m
Descent: -5,502' -1,677 m
High: 5,100' 1,554 m
Low: 1,239' 378 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)
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“Endless backcountry adventure with narrow trail and a stellar final descent.”— Chris Bernhardt
Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown
Need to Know
This ride requires fitness, skill, and the ability to keep your cool in a remote, backcountry setting. If you break your ankle in the middle of this ride youll be spending the night before search-and-rescue can come retrieve you for your heli lift. Dont do this ride alone and choose your crew carefully.
Not too far past the road, turn right onto Trail #3321 and out towards the ridge. The landscape changes and the trail gets narrower, more rugged, and rocky. Youll pass the high point next to McLennan Mountain but wont get a break until youve switchbacked up to Macduff Mountain. Stop here, scramble up the scree slope, and savor the view of the Cascades.
The trail finally heads downward, and with a vengeance. The vertical peels off the altimeter as wildflowers and views fly by, but dont take your eyes off the tread for a moment because the only predictable part of the ride is that it is unpredictable. Sharp turns, rocks, bear grass obscuring the trail, and nonchalant porcupines are standard fare.
After passing a large segment of rock retaining wall that was built during the Great Depression the trail crosses National Forest Road #411; dont miss the barely discernible tread as it heads back up the hill on the right side of the road. The trail again takes a nosedive on an old-school descent that will have you wondering how people ever rode mountain bikes before disc brakes and dropper posts.
After crossing National Forest Road #411 for a third and final time keep your eyes peeled for the intersection with Trail #3506, which will sneak by as you float through the emerald woods. Turn right and head past eight-foot diameter Douglas fir trees while catching a break along this rolling segment before climbing to the intersection with Trail #4362.
Payback time. Ingest some sugar, shake the lactic acid from your legs, and get your flow on as you twist though a moss-encrusted forest on a trail that looks like it was tailor made for your weary body. Once youve whooped and hollered one last time at Kings Castle trailhead it is time to roll into McKenzie Bridge and eat a large meal of gluten, dairy, and meat, because youve earned it.