The A-T-C-A route is a circuitous point-to-point route linking Upper Alpine - Tire Mountain - Cloverpatch - Lower Alpine. Most often it is shuttled from Oakridge or Westfir, depending on where you leave your car.
The route is big and features amazing sections of Oregon forest, breathtaking views and more singletrack than you can believe.
Although the route is a shuttle, there's still a healthy dose of climbing. Expect many descents to followed by some climbing until the lower reaches of Alpine.
Plan to invest some time in this ride. The climb from the bottom of Cloverpatch up the road to the Cloverpatch Tie-In and back up to Alpine can be a soul crusher.
Shuttle service: Oregon Adventures
Food, Beverage, Lodging: Westfir Lodge
, Brewers Union Local 180
, Oakridge Motel
Bakery and Cafe: Lion Mountain Bakery
Turn left onto Kate's Cut-In from the road. There will be a quick switchback to the right and then a short climb to the Alpine intersection. Turn left again. The trail climbs gradually through big trees to a grassy meadow. Cruise across and then dive back into trees, rolling towards the first sustained descent.
Cross a short narrow ridge and then start a fast descent. This one goes quickly with long runs of trail intermixed with turns and switchbacks.
This section ends at a road, cross and roll into an uphill section that leads to another big descent nicknamed 'Jedi'. This dark and fast section of forest ends at Windy Pass, a major road intersection.
From here there is an easy pedaling climb through a new section. It ends at yet another road. From here you'll be on a rehabbed road, now a trail, that climbs through a series of surfaced 's' turns.
There's a brief respite and then the route continues to climb. The forest opens up to big trees and steep, lush, lichen-leaden sideslopes to an incredible view at a high meadow. This is a great place to stop for a snack break and take in the views.
Turn right at the Tire Mountain (the name is etched into a log). The trail climbs quickly and steeply from the intersection and then descends into a thick forest of oaks and green, lichen covered boulders. The route climbs gradually overall with short ups and downs.
After the beginning sections of the trail, the views open up to steep grassy hillsides with rock cliffs and fins. You'll traverse this for a bit and feel like you're in the Highlands of Scotland.
As you dive back into the lush forest, the big descent begins. It's quite possibly the grandest pine forest you've ever seen. It's fun fast, and sustained with several turns.
The bottom reaches of the trail roll less steep. Look for an intersection with Cloverpatch on the left as the route makes a big left turn around the nose of a slope to Cloverpatch. Turn left and settle in for a grinding climb. There are a few steep lung burners mixed into steady pedaling. You'll have plenty of time to contemplate the vastness of the forests around Oakridge.
As any good climb is rewarded by a great descent, Cloverpatch is no different. Cross the road after the climb tops out, drop your seat and get ready for some rowdiness!
The upper reaches of the climb are fast and relatively smooth with big sweeping turns. The middle of the descent transitions to steep and exposed trails with a surprising section of scree/chunder mixed in to keep you on your toes.
The lower reaches of the descent are steep with a couple of abrupt creek crossings. Expect to transition quickly between braking and pedaling in these sections.
Cloverpatch ends at a USFS Rd. Continue straight (stay right)and then left up a USFS road to Cloverpatch Tie-In, a brand new connector trail that links Cloverpatch to Alpine.
It's a big climb with lots of switchbacks (over 20 of them!) that start immediately from the road. Settle and pedal steadily - it's worth the effort for another section of singletrack rather than road.
The trail ends at a saddle and intersection with a doubletrack. Stay left to ride up a bit more to connect with Alpine just above the Buckhead Shelter.
From the shelter, there's another round of brief climbing followed by sustained descent to a road. After crossing you'll experience another descent, one of the the more rowdy on Alpine with tight turns and some scrabbly texture.
Afterwards, you'll get a little break from the downhill as you pedal through flatter terrain. The trees are beautiful through here, covered in multi-hued lichens up and down their trunks.
Stay straight through road crossings before pedaling a .2 mile road section. At the end dive in fast and narrow trail that has long, straight runs. At the last intersection make a hard left and fly to the finish at the bottom of the road. Turn right to cruise back to parking lot at the red bridge.