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Gales Creek - Southern Climb

 4.2 (9)
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13.8 Miles 22.2 Kilometers



2,058' 627 m


-2,059' -627 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (12°)

2,528' 771 m


905' 276 m


Shared By Brock Warner



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This ride takes the best part of Gales Creek Trail and makes it a more enjoyable and reasonable out-and-back.

Brock Warner

Dogs Unknown

Features -none-


Much of Gales Creek Trail is great riding, but the northernmost descent isn't necessarily the most fun. This ride shaves off the super steep downhill and the brutal climb back out that it requires to make riding Gales Creek Trail much more fun and reasonable. Of course, stronger riders will want to ride the whole trail. Have at it!


Gales Creek Trail is among the best cross-country trails in Tillamook State Forest. This long, challenging ride can provide a real sense of accomplishment, especially without the soul-crushing steepness of the final three miles of Gales Creek Trail. The long, steady, somewhat grueling climb to the summit at the Bell Creek Road Trailhead rewards you with a long, fun descent back to the car: a classic out-and-back.

Starting from the southern trailhead at Gales Creek Campground, the trail follows its namesake for a number of miles up the valley. After only about three-quarters of a mile, the trail crosses a bridge and immediately T's at a junction with the Storey Burn Trail.

Turn right to continue up Gales Creek Trail. As it climbs, the trail is often within sight or earshot of the creek as the singletrack winds along the ravines and gulleys that drain into Gales Creek. It makes for a lot of short, punchy climbs and brief flat stretches, always causing the legs to burn. It can feel rewarding nonetheless. Although not very technical for the most part, the ever-changing direction of the trail will keep you on your toes.

At about five and a half miles, a short but super fun reroute of the trail brings some obvious MTB-inspired flow to the trail and is a blissful section. If only it was longer. The last half mile is the steepest climb of the ride, but seeing the small parking lot for the Bell Camp Road Trailhead lets you know you're at the summit. Rest and grab a snack. Unfortunately, there aren't really any stellar views to catch up here. Exploring slightly to the north can yield some views through the trees, but it is nothing to write home about.

When you're ready, turn around and ride everything you just rode back to the Gales Creek Campground. The upper rerouted section will feel so sweet, but all too short on the way back down. A lot of the upper sections of the trail back will have some surprising flow, considering it was built as a hiking and equestrian trail. Several washouts over the years have prompted a lot of trail rebuilding, with mountain bikers getting more and more attention every time it's done. The closer to Gales Creek Campground, the less the trail will feel like this, as the ravines and gulleys rob the trail of more and more flow. But it's still fun!

The bridge that marks the junction with Storey Burn Trail signals the start of the only substantial climbing on the way back. Thankfully, it's not too long, although it is steep. In no time, the parking lot will appear. Congrats.

The trail is well signed and easy to follow.


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Your Check-Ins


Sep 3, 2018
Chuck Aude
Jul 15, 2018
Jimmy Stanley
Hot day, did about half the climb, about 900 ft gain. With Asmund, Wes, and Smith. 8mi
Jun 8, 2018
Andrew Spencer
Fun, but brutal. Not for begginers, like at all. 13.7mi
Jun 8, 2018
Konstantin Alemasov
May 6, 2018
Stefano Pellerano
Mar 15, 2018
Fred Gibson
trail in great shape, only 3 downed trees. 3554' elevation gain on Strava. 14mi
Mar 5, 2018
Lance Bradley
Aug 13, 2017
Pam Yang

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 9 votes


  4.2 from 9 votes
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in Oregon


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2,126 Since Jul 29, 2017
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