Ride epic coastal trails and join summer events from Bandon to Seaside.

Imagine carving a graceful turn as the smell of salt air fills your nostrils. Or dropping in to a perfect break with no one in sight. No, we’re not talking surfing here — this is mountain biking on the Oregon Coast. Over the past decade, new trail systems have been popping up along the Coast and might just be the state’s best-kept secret for mountain biking enthusiasts. Where some parts of the state’s trails may be under snow well into springtime, the trails along the Coast see little to no snow, offering year-round riding opportunities. The temperate rainforest of spruce, pine and Douglas fir offer rich, tacky soil for a perfect grip; smooth berms and banked turns echo rolling ocean waves. 

To experience the loamy goodness that makes up these trail networks, the summer Ride the Dirt Wave series of events is the place to start. In its second year in 2024, the series — sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association — features the best coastal shredding with three separate events over the course of three sunny months. Spanning the Oregon Coast from Bandon to Seaside, each event covers two full days, with the first day focused on guided group rides and demos, then timed trail races on day two. The family-friendly event has options for all skill levels and ages, and is complete with food trucks, a beer garden and music. Note that registration is required for all events on each day, and you’ll want to bring your own wheels, as there are currently no mountain bike rentals on the Coast. 

2024May mtb north
Klootchy Creek Trail (Photo by Jeremy Burke)

New Single-Track Near Seaside

The series officially kicks off on June 8 and 9, 2024, at the Klootchy Creek Trail system. Located inland between Seaside and Cannon Beach, off Highway 26 on the North Coast, this new trail system is less than five years old and is a mere 70 miles from downtown Portland. Klootchy currently has 23 trails for all skill levels, from eight beginner-friendly green (or easy) loops to three aggressive black diamond (difficult) runs for advanced riders. The main trailhead at Klootchy Creek Park is also a stone’s throw from the Necanicum River, so pack a fly rod if you want to double down on outdoor activities after your ride. 

For those wanting to partake in the demo rides on Saturday or the Flow Duro Challenge on day two — a high-speed, timed race where participants are separated by skill level — be sure to register for each. Outside of the event period, a free access permit is required to ride the trail network. 

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Whiskey Run Trails (Photo by Jeremy Burke)

Views and Brews Near Bandon

Next up are the Whiskey Run Trails in Coos County, located just over 8 miles from Bandon and roughly 18 miles from Coos Bay. The most established network of mountain biking trails on the Coast, Whiskey Run is also the largest, with 64 different named trails and over 32 miles of loamy single-track winding through old-growth forests. Climbs are mostly gradual and not too punishing, and you can catch glimpses of the Pacific on clear days. The network itself is compact and gives riders several loop options and plenty of opportunity for quick returns to the trailhead, if needed.

Ride the Dirt Wave at Whiskey Run takes place on July 22 and 23, 2024, and is similar in structure to the other events, with guided rides led by the local bike-club gurus on Saturday and the Flow Duro Challenge on Sunday. Food and beer will be available for purchase both days, and riders will need to register to participate.   

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Wilder Trails (Photo by Jeremy Burke)

Fast and Flowy on the Central Coast

Capping off the series is the final event, just outside of Newport on the Central Coast. The newest coastal trail complex, Big Creek Trails sits just inside the city limits and encompasses nine trails for a total of 13 rideable miles. Beginner-friendly with fast and flowy routes, the network is small but mighty.

Ride the Dirt Wave at Big Creek takes place on August 12 and 13, 2024. Local shop Bike Newport will be providing shuttles for the event both days, and Bier One Brewing in Newport will host the series event party post-rides on Saturday.

If you’ve got an extra day in the area, but sure to also check out the nearby Wilder Trails on the southern edge of town. A more expansive network than its northern Newport counterpart, the Wilder trail system has 31 trails with just under 20 miles of single-track across a variety of difficulties. The network has a nice cross-country flavor thanks in part to the roots, natural features and multiple forest-road connectors. You will need a free permit to access.

– By Lucas Alberg

Top photo Whiskey Run Trails by Jeremy Burke