The Surveyor's Ridge Trail
is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, due to the length and comparatively "straight" trajectory of the trail, it can be difficult to turn into an actual ride. By utilizing the always-nearby National Forest Road 17
, one can turn it into a straight-forward loop.
Although NF-17 has a lot of climbing and no obstacles, it is still very scenic, and even links up with the singletrack in a few spots along the way.
Although this route begins on the north trailhead, which doesn't require a pass for parking, parking at the southern trailhead requires a Northwest Forest Pass. These can be acquired at many locations, one of which being the Mt. Hood Ranger Station in Parkdale.
First off, Surveyor's Ridge - IMBA Epic
and Surveyor's Ridge Trail
can be used to provide additional details about the reason to come here: the actual singletrack.
After parking under the power lines, head on back down the gravel road to National Forest Road 17
and turn right to head south. The climbing starts right from the get-go and doesn't really stop until the southern trailhead 12 miles away. Sure, there's some flat stretches and even a few downhills, but the majority of the time it's a slow crawl up pavement or gravel. Be mindful of the few motorists that might drive by.
At a little over four miles, at the Gibson Prairie Horse Camp, a short spur to the right connects with the singletrack.
At about mile 5.5, the road comes right up onto the singletrack.
Keep on going to get to the beginning of the singletrack.
At about mile 9.5, the road T's into Brooks Meadow Road. Turn right and after a short distance another T will come up. Either direction is National Forest Road 44
. Go straight. After a downhill and some more climbing, keep an eye on the righthand side of the road and the little pull-off for the southern trailhead will be hard to miss.
Snack and rest up, then start on the singletrack.
It begins relatively flat and easy as it follows the road back in the direction you've come from. After only 1.6 miles, the trail splits. Left follows an old doubletrack trail around a small knob. Some maps mark this as being phased out. The newer way leads straight, and getting back up onto the road.
After some short backtracking to the junction of National Forest Road 17
and Brooks Meadow Road, proceed just a few hundred feet further to find sneaky singletrack hiding in the grass. This new "Super Connector
" trail winds through recently thinned out forest. It is still new so be mindful of loose soil.
After having some fun on the switchbacks, continue across the pavement of NF-17 and down a gravel road. The singletrack continues on the right, after a few hundred feet down the hill. It's hard to miss.
From here on out the trail is pretty easy to follow. About half a dozen amazing views of Mount Hood spring up along the trail, between the fun and rolling singletrack. Enjoy and take some pictures.
The last approximately 4.5 miles get a little trickier and more demanding as more sustained climbs pop up. The trail also becomes quite exposed on the side of the ridge, with somewhat steep drop-offs lining some sections. It's not too bad; stay on your toes.
Eventually, the trail begins a long and fun downhill back to the trailhead. The very last half mile or so gets pretty steep and gnarly. Be careful.