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Gales Creek - Southern Climb

 4.1 (14)

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

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2,528' 771 m


905' 276 m


2,058' 627 m


2,059' 627 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown


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.


Shared By:

Brock Warner

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 14 votes


  4.1 from 14 votes
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in Oregon


13 Views Last Month
5,658 Since Jul 29, 2017



Coasting down the Gale Creek Trail, about to merge with Storey Burn Trail
Aug 2, 2016 near Banks, OR
The start of the trail - headed to either Storey Burn, Bell Camp or Reeher's. Along with the memorial plaque to Randy Hodge - who died while helping to build the trail.
May 5, 2018 near Banks, OR


Current Trail Conditions

Minor Issues 87 days ago
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Jul 4, 2023
Robert Hash
Getting overgrown in some areas. There is a tree down across the trail at 3.6 miles from Gales Creek camp. 12.6mi — 2h 40m
Jul 3, 2021
Mike Redacted
Jun 12, 2021
Mike Redacted
May 31, 2020
Todd Wydeven
Apr 11, 2020
Jong Yang
Jul 28, 2019
Steve Williams
expect to do some handle bar bushwhacking at the bottom but it goes away after a short bit and the trail is riding just fine 12.4mi
Jun 9, 2019
Teal Hand
Rode down from bell camp rd to gales creek camp site! This was a great downhill! Should be created as a dedicated trail! Rogers rd closed, Go t timber 6.9mi
Sep 3, 2018
Chuck Aude