This is one of the best ways to see mountain goats and high alpine lakes in Eastern Oregon. This loop has some steep climbing on dirt roads, but you are rewarded with some amazing views since you are riding along the top of the Elkhorn Mountains. This trail is certainly one of the most amazing high elevation trails in all of Oregon! Unlike the central and western Oregon trails, you'll see very few people.
You'll normally see goats on the side of the trail where there are steep rocky cliffs nearby.
This ride starts with parking at the road junction and riding up the road to Marble Pass. The road to Marble Pass will take you by the old Lime Mine and will be steep in sections. The steepest part is the switchbacking section next to the old mine. So once you pass the mine, the road mellows out to Marble Pass.
At Marble Pass, you'll connect with the Elkhorn Crest
. There are lots of mountain goats on the Elkhorn Crest
Trail and this ride has you completing the whole trail and then backtracking to the Twin Lakes Trail
. The first 5 miles to the Twin Lakes Trail
intersection is a blast both out and back. From the 5 to 8 mile mark is rocky and has significant exposure -- but it is all rideable and fun. From 8 miles to 14 miles is great singletrack, there are some rocks but it's mostly fast and technical trail. When you hit the Twin Lakes Trail
you'll have the option to shorten the ride. Otherwise, complete as much of the Crest as you can handle.
The downhill on the Twin Lakes Trail
is very rocky and has constant obstacles, but as a downhill it is a blast and a fun challenge. The trail is full of tight switchbacks with the hardest being the ones right after leaving the Elkhorn Crest
. Be very careful and make sure to stop to take in the view! Part way down you'll hit Twin Lakes. Stop and dip your fishing pole if you're down to catch some trout. After that, the trail is steep and rowdy with some more switchbacks to keep things very interesting.
At the end of the Twin Lakes Trail
you'll follow the road back to your car.