Wilson River Trail: Neither quick nor all that dirty.

A hefty chunk of Team Metropolis (and one apostate who defected to Breadwinner) rode the Wilson River Trail a week ago Sunday. The weather was glorious, and the trail itself was in surprisingly good (read: dry) condition. The plan initially had been to ride the loop at Brown’s Camp, but upon being advised there was still snow at the summit of Highway 6, WRT was proposed as a reasonable compromise.

The trail itself is quite smooth, with the only technical features being infrequent rocky patches (not big enough to warrant the name ‘ rock garden’) and more numerous small creek crossings. The dirt was firm and dry, with not a hint of snow or mud, though there were a few downed trees to negotiate.

We quickly split into two groups, a crew of hard chargers going off the front, with the rest of us proceeding at a more measured pace. It’s a tough trail, steep enough in most places to push a less fit rider into the red, but not necessarily so steep as to force an immediate dismount.

A creek feeding into the Wilson River.

 

That said, I for one did plenty of walking, as did most of us in the slow group. The mountains of the Coast Range may not be anywhere as near as high as the Cascades, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy.

 

If this were a trail built for bikes, there would be a big berm here, making the turn nice and smooth. As it is, riders need to be careful with their speed going downhill.

After much painful grinding and a fair amount of pushing, we reached the highest point of the trail, the summit of Elk Mountain. After eating some snacks and enjoying the view, a speedy descent (with a little bit of climbing) awaited us.

The view from the top of Elk Mountain looking west.

 

 

Maps are helpful.

 

WRT is less than an hour from Portland and is a great option for wintertime riding, as it drains well and is at fairly low elevation.