This loop combines the Knebal Springs and Bottle Prairie trails to create an "M" shaped ride. A little bit of climbing gives way to a long downhill, which then turns into a long uphill, punctuated by a short descent back to the trailhead.
Parking at most trailheads in this area requires a $5 fee or a recreation pass.
This ride is being represented as counter-clockwise, which is the common direction it is ridden. This is because Bottle Prairie Trail #455
, the major descent, is more flowy and fun than the descent of Knebal Springs Trail #474
. One could ride the loop in either direction though, as a lot of descending and a lot of climbing is going to happen either way.
Starting from the cramped Bottle Prairie Trailhead in the south, the trail begins more or less with a fork. Going straight eventually yields the Knebal Springs Trail #474
downhill, which is not as favorable as the Bottle Prairie Trail #455
downhill, so most riders turn right at the fork and begin the climb up to Perry Point. Perry Point offers great views of the comparative desolation of Central Oregon.
After Perry Point, the trail begins a long, flowing descent to the bottom of the loop. A steep dip into a stream more or less marks the halfway point. Soon afterwards, the trail turns into Knebal Springs Trail #474
. There is a junction right next to the Knebal Springs Campground, stay to the left to stay on the trail.
This starts the long, slightly techy climb along Knebal Springs Trail #474
back up to the top. It flattens out at the summit briefly, before a short descent back to the trailhead.
The loop passes through many different "types" of forest. Forest meadows, debris-strewn hemlock groves, and open Douglas fir hillsides are just some of the experiences along the route. The lowest elevation sections pass through manzanita groves, and the trail can have a lot of blind turns so be mindful.
Like most trails on the eastern flank of Mount Hood, these are typically drier and by mid-summer can become quite dusty. If riding with a group, a little space between each rider might be a good idea to keep the trail visible!
The route passes along a handful of junctions and crosses several forest roads so it might seem easy to get lost, but the trails are in fact signed very well with new signs. It's very easy to follow.