Located just east of the town of Sandy on the southwest flank of Mt. Hood, the Sandy Ridge Trail system’s loops make up about 12 miles of riding. (Photo credit: Heath Korvola)

As a dirt lover, I’ve been hankering to check out the Sandy Ridge Trail, which holds a special place as the mountain biking single-track closest to Portland. Located just east of the town of Sandy on the southwest flank of Mt. Hood, the system’s loops make up about 12 miles of riding. One recent spring day, I packed my wheels and headed out for a late afternoon spin in the woods with anticipation. I got to the trailhead just in time for the sideways rain.

I sat in my car, watching the deluge and considered my options: Go home, wait it out, or rally. After all, that’s what Gortex is for, right? Luckily, this was a typical Oregon spring rain, which means it was a squall, not a storm. The drops fell just long enough to wash the forest clean.

The one-way trail system starts with a 4-mile ascent up a paved road that is closed to traffic. As I climbed, steam rose from the warming pavement, and sunlight drenched the green forest, electric with new growth. Purple foxglove, white Shasta daisies and wild iris lined the road, glinting with the recent rain and swaying in the slight breeze.

At the top of the hill I met another biker, also here on his first ride. As we checked our chosen routes on the trail map, the clouds pursed together again over our heads. It was time for a quick decent into the darkening woods. I took Hide and Seek — a fast and fun plunge into the dark forest. Little Joe Creek parralelled the trail, its rushing sound filling my ears. Overhead the call of a thrush rang through the trees. Rocks, roots, bridges and dirt flowed together in a seamless ride. I was back at the car far too soon and eager to return another day. Here’s some information to plan your own ride:

Trail details: All trails are one-way. Check the trailhead map to make sure you are headed in the right direction (or download a PDF from the Oregon Bureau of Land Management website). The system includes black, blue and green sections. Two new trails, Follow the Leader and Flow Motion, were just opened in July 2013.

Local wheels: Need a bike? Sandy Bicycle can rent you one. They’ll rent you a bike rack, too (and even put it on the car for you.) You can also pick up wheels at Otto’s Ski & Bike Shop.

Get there: From the east side of Sandy, head east on US Highway 26 for 11.4 miles. Turn left on Sleepy Hollow Drive soon after a large sign indicating a left turn for Marmot. (This will be the second turn-off for Sleepy Hollow Road.) Go 0.3 miles on Sleepy Hollow Road, turn right on East Barlow Trail Road and pass over the Sandy River. After 1 mile on East Barlow Trail Road, look for the trailhead and parking lot. Trails intersect with the paved Homestead Road, located just beyond the parking lot.

Note: The Oregon Bureau of Land Management says that Homestead Road, the first four miles of the ride, will be used for timber hauling during the summer of 2013. While the trail is not closed to riders, people should exercise caution and consider riding after 4 p.m.

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

Flag as Incorrect

Is any of the information on this page incorrect?

In this Oregon Story

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

A Related Story

Looking for more stories like this? Here’s a suggestion…

  1. An Oregon Wild Hike: Kentucky Falls

    written by Dawn Rasmussen

    [autoviewer=33,336,448] Earlier this month, I was in Eugene/Springfield for business and made the most of a Friday…

Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. rob kovacich says…

    Eileen knows her stuff, Sandy Ridge is a perfectly sculpted piece of All-Mountain riding.
    Go you will not be disappointed.
    -Rob

    Written on July 10th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
  2. Tori Bortman says…

    A correction for the author. While most trails at Sandy Ridge are one-directional, there are at least two (Laura’s Loop and 336) that are rideable in in either direction.

    Great story. Sandy is a gem of the Pacific Northwest and a testament to how BLM and local trail conservation and mountain bike groups can work together to build sustainable, world-class trails.

    Written on July 11th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
css.php
Close

Sign up for the

Travel Oregon

Newsletter

Stay in touch and get the inside scoop for your next Oregon adventure. We'll deliver Oregon stories, itineraries, contests and ideas of where to eat + drink and get outdoors and explore - right to your inbox, every month.

Success! You're all signed up to receive Oregon trip ideas delivered right to your inbox.

Hmm, something went wrong, please try later.

can't wait to hear from us?

Follow us Online