This trail was built by the Motorcycle Riders Association of southern Oregon, and is maintained with help from the RVMBA. The closest trailheads are those for Stein Butte Trail
, Summit Lake
Trail (at Squaw Lakes), or New London
Elliott Ridge provides an important link between Stein Butte and Squaw Lakes. Accessed by an assortment of singletrack trails and at least one forest road, it is a scenic ride by itself, or, more logically, part of a longer loop.
The western terminus of the trail is at the top of the New London
Trail, which is also the eastern end of the Stein Butte Trail
just east of the summit.
If you're like me and have reached this point following a meditative spin up Stein Butte, the introduction to Elliott Ridge is a rude awakening, as the trail eschews manicured switchbacks in favor of the direct approach up and over every pitch along the ridgeline.
Thankfully, the steeper grades soon ease, and fun, interesting singletrack leads along the ridge for nearly two miles to where it morphs into doubletrack just west of a place called Mingo Gap.
Continuing along a forest road, the Carlton Pasture trail is soon passed on the right, and a steady ascent leads past the high point of the ride at almost 5000 feet. From here, a half-mile descent brings one to the upper (south) end of the Summit Lake
It is possible to drive to this, the eastern end of Elliot Ridge trail, via forest roads coming up from Applegate Lake
and passing Squaw Lakes.
Recommended options from here are to 1) Rip down Summit Lake
trail past Squaw Lakes and down the gravel road in the drainage to pick up the Payette
Trail along Applegate Lake
; or 2) Ride back along the ridge westward from whence you came, then descend New London
or Stein Butte Trail