Carson Storch has ridden his mountain bike around the world, but the trails he’s most excited about? Those on the Oregon Coast. “It blew my mind what the terrain has to offer,” he says.
The 27-year-old professional freeride mountain biker was born and raised in Bend. When snow blankets the city and nearby trails become too icy to ride, Storch heads west to the trail systems along the coastline. “It’s some of the best dirt I’ve ridden in the whole world,” he says. “In the winter it gets wet, but it drains really well, so you can ride it all year long. There’s not a lot of places you can ride year-round.”
The mountain biking scene along the Oregon Coast is a blossoming one. Growing up in Oregon, Storch says that when he visited the Coast 10-15 years ago, he would ask about mountain biking but never heard about any places he could ride. Now, as more and more trails are added to the area, Storch lights up with excitement when talking about the region, and a trip west is now a regular part of his winter training regimen. “The whole coastline has something for everybody,” he says. “It has limitless potential.”
On Oregon’s South Coast, Storch says that the 22 miles of riding at Whiskey Run Mountain Bike Trails near Coos Bay offer a great mix of options for beginners and experts alike. The single-track two-way paths take riders through different ages of forest. For those looking to extend their time on the saddle, the trails easily connect to nearby gravel and dirt forest access roads. The Oregon Coast Visitors Association recently spotlighted Storch riding at Whiskey Run. Check out a video of the Whiskey Run trails in action.
Oregon’s Central Coast is home to the Cummins Creek Trail, a 5.8-mile loop south of Yachats that begins on an old roadbed before following a ridgeline through old-growth Douglas-fir and emptying into alpine meadows. With sections of steep terrain, the trail is rated as difficult for both mountain bikers and hikers who share the path. For a more accessible trail, the Siltcoos Lake Trail south of Florence is a great option. The 3.5-mile loop follows an old logging road before reaching rolling hills and ending at Siltcoos Lake.
On Oregon’s North Coast, Storch recommends the Klootchy Creek Trails, 7 miles of downhill dirt paths, and more trails under development, inside 25 acres of greenspace south of Seaside. Mountain bikers will also enjoy the chance to hop off of their bikes for a break to visit the country’s largest Sitka spruce tree, now downed, which once stood at 200 feet high and 17 feet in diameter. The fallen trunk remains to serve as a nurse log for future generations of Klootchy Creek giants. The region is also in the process of building a trail system that Storch is most excited about — and that’s not just because he’s involved in the project. Nonprofit Tillamook Off-Road Trail Alliance (TORTA) is planning to build 20 miles of trails along the western slope of the dense coastal forest north of Pacific City. “We firmly believe it will be some of the best riding in North America and even the world,” he says.
For Oregon Coast visitors who won’t be near any of these trails, keep in mind that now is the time of year when more beaches are open to bicycles, as winter falls outside of the western snowy plover nesting season.
– Emily Gillespie