Until recently, the “true mountain bikers” of Clatsop County had limited options on where to ride.
Thanks to a collaborative effort of the North Coast Trail Alliance, GreenWood Resources and the Clatsop County Parks Department, those options have improved dramatically over the last year.
The largest system of mountain biking trails in Clatsop County — and still growing — is the new Klootchy Creek Trails network, located off Highway 26, two miles east of the Highway 101 junction.
It's also the county's only system of trails built specifically for mountain biking.
County commissioners were joined by representatives from GreenWood, the trail alliance and others involved in the project for a chainsaw “ribbon-cutting” that officially opened the trails in July 2019.
“When we had the grand opening, we had 2.7 miles, now we have 7.7 miles,” said Steven Blakesley, president of the Northwest Trails Alliance. The long-term goal is to have 40 miles of networked trails. Volunteer trail-builders put in more than 5,000 hours of work over the first eight months.
The grand opening included a large crowd, with dozens of mountain bikers, celebrating what organizers hope will be the destination mountain biking spot on the North Coast, if not one of the best in the state.
“We've seen data that shows where people are coming from, and they're starting to come from all over,” Blakesley said.
And that was in a summer hit hard by inclement weather and coronavirus restrictions. The virus and the summer fire season also kept organized work parties from developing the trails, while the funding is “mostly driven through tourism dollars,” Blakesley said, another major setback because of the coronavirus.
The Klootchy trail system has something for every type of mountain biker, from the casual rider to the most serious, expert mountain biker.
“The project is really about designing trails for all user levels and user-desired experiences,” Blakesley said. “It really covers a lot of ground.”
Before you go, a quick check of some of the trail names (which can be found at trailforks.com) might give you an idea what the trails are like: The Klootchy network includes: the “Defibrillator,” “Sticky Buns,” the “Get Down,” “Dirty 30” and “Holy Shoot,” just to name a few. Trails are all classified by difficulty.
“The trails are very different and they all have a unique feel to them, so they appeal to different people," Blakesley said. "That's the goal we're trying to reach. We love seeing new riders up there.”
In July 2020, three sections were opened to the Low Tide trail, including the “Quarantine” trail, classified as a black diamond trail, the most difficult.
A free access permit is required, obtainable at permits.greenwoodresources.com.
While the Klootchy Creek network is the only mountain bike-specific trail, there are other multi-use trails in Clatsop County, from logging roads, trails in the hills of Astoria, the Fort Stevens trail network (nine miles of paved bike trails), a portion of the Fort-to-Sea Trail, the Warrenton Waterfront Trail and Discovery Trail in Washington.
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