My buddy Chris always told me "The less you know the better." This has been my approach to mountain biking in general so when we loaded up the truck and left for Oakridge I really didn't have an idea of what I was getting into. Now don't get me wrong. I am not one of those foolish people that show up to ride in the backcountry unprepared. In fact I am the opposite in that sense. When my friends are rationing their last bits of a cliff bar I am the guy on the trail that will pull out a slice of left over pizza. Ok so back to the ATCA Trail.
The ATCA Trail is a legendary point to point in Oakridge linking up Upper Alpine, Tire Mountain, Cloverpatch and Lower Alpine. 24 miles of singletrack bliss. For some more detailed information on the ATCA Trail system head on over to the MTB Project.
It's late when we pull into our campsite in Black Canyon. We set up our tents and our tents and head right to bed. Rest.
Apparently some people climb up the gravel road but since we had multiple cars we shuttled our way up to the trail head. We even gave a couple other riders a lift up. Trail karma.
"From Windy Pass ride 1.2 miles on Alpine until you come to a trail junction. Tire Mountain is carved into an old log, turn right here, it’s a sharp little climb but mellows out quickly for awhile until you begin a very fun descent to the junction for the Cloverpatch trail. Be sure you are indeed heading up Cloverpatch and not dropping in on the Eugene to Crest Trail. Cloverpatch requires a bit more climbing to get to more run flowing trail. At the end of Clover patch you will be on a forest service road. Up until 2013 you would have had to descend this and ride the North Shore Road back to Westfir but thanks to local trail building efforts and the Cascade Cream Puff they built a connector trail to bring you back out just above Buckhead Shelter. To get to the connector just ride down the road until you see a green forest service gate on your left…it’s a bit set back from the road you will be on so don’t miss it. Ride past the gate and up Road 130 for 1.9 miles until you reach the connector trail. It can be a bit tricky to see so don’t miss it. Climb another 1.9 miles until you reach Road 683 and turn left which will bring you back to the Alpine Trail. Most of this trail is considered to be intermediate except the Cloverpatch section which is rated advanced." - Oakridge Bike Shop
" This trailhead can either be reached by bike or car. Oregon Adventures runs a shuttle from May to October (start up and shut down dates are contingent…please call Oregon Adventures to verify) to the start point (Kate’s Cut In) which leaves you with a 15.4 mile blissful ride, most of which is downhill. The trail itself is considered intermediate but if you want to increase the aerobic aspect (or you just don’t want to shuttle) you can ride up from the Office Covered Bridge. From the bridge take the Aufderheide Scenic Byway to either forest service road 1910 to Windy Pass (7.9 miles) or 1912 (9.8 miles) all the way to Kate’s Cut In. If you take the 1910 to Windy Pass you will then need to locate the 1912 and continue heading up on that the remaining 3.1 miles. Be aware the 1912 is steeper than the 1910 and many people choose the longer road because of this.
The 15.4 mile ride from Kate’s does include a few short sections of singletrack climbing. Right from the start you climb a gentle grade up to Sourgrass Meadow then it’s downhill until you cross over the 1912. Another set of climbs brings you to the fabled Jedi Section. Once you reach the bottom and cross the road it’s a short pedal until you cross over the 1911 and begin another climb for around a mile. Past the viewpoint there are a few short hills to climb but the majority of the ride is downhill so check your brakes and make sure your pads have some substance to them.
If you’ve never ridden Alpine you might be surprised to learn there are a few variations to the trail you can do if 15.4 miles isn’t enough for you." - Oakridge Bike Shop
Where to camp while in Oakridge? Black Canyon Campgrounds is the perfect jump off spot for shredding in Oakridge. Fall asleep to the sounds of the Willamette and trail access can be ridden to from your tent.
Where to eat? Cedar Creek Meats and Provisions is located on the Willamette Highway just a stones throw away from camp and has always been our go to spot. Breakfast burritos? Brisket burritos? Yes, please. Take one to go you'll want it on the trail.
Bike broken? Definitely make sure to head over to the Oakridge Bike Shop. Show your support. Buy a trail map and whatever else you may need for the trail. Most of not everyone in the shop plays a huge role in the trail system your about to ride.
Need a shuttle or a guide? Oregon Adventures has you covered. Hell they even offer a 17k day!
So thats about it. The ATCA is an amazing trail system. It's a big day. Be prepared. Hope this article helped. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or want some recommendations for other trails in or around Oakridge.