A long ride, capped with 360º views for 100 miles in every direction at the top of Morgan Butte. Oregon's Basin Range County is sparsely forested and even thinner on the crowds. You'll love the unique ecosystem, wildlife sightings, views, and fun-rolling backcountry singletrack.
If you plan ahead, make reservations at Cowboy Dinner Tree in Silver Lake, the 30oz steak dinner is not to be missed!
The first 10.5 miles are on pavement but it's flat and there's very little traffic near Paisley. Besides, you'll be full from a big breakfast at the Paisley Homestead. Navigating isn't too difficult, but it's worth checking the MTB Project mobile app
to make sure you make the turn onto County Hwy 2-10A and then King Road #018.
Halfway through King Road, the tread changes to gravel and begins to moderately climb. You'll follow this with a five-mile grind up School House Road #020
In all, you'll climb 2,500' on these quiet forest roads to reach the top of Morgan Butte. About halfway up, there's a nice, cool and clean spring—your only water on the route until the river. Once at the top, take a break on the fire lookout's deck and enjoy the views. Pick out Mount Shasta, Abert Rim, and if you're lucky, the Three Sisters in the distance.
The descent doesn't see a lot of use so there may be some blow-down after you wind your way through the upper meadows, but screaming through soft beds of pine needles makes it worth it.
Nearer the bottom, you'll find a few sections with a little more pedaling than you'd like, but no real climbs to speak of. Then it's a breezy pedal along seven miles of slightly downhill asphalt back to Paisley, where you can recoup at the Saloon or the nearby Summer Lake Hot Springs.
This ride follows a section of the Fremont National Recreation trail built by the Youth Core in the 1990s.