So many of us long-time riders forget what it’s like to be a beginner mountain biker. It’s tough being a newbie. Rocks and roots are scary. Loose corners are scary. Climbs are hard.
8 Mile isn’t the easiest bike ride in the world, but it’s fun for beginners and advanced XC riders alike. At only 6.2 miles, you’ll be able to walk out if you can’t complete the ride.
Park at the Bottle Prairie / Knebal / 8 Mile / 450 trailhead. The trail heads out of the left side of the small parking area. Take the right fork toward Bottle Prairie and 8 Mile (the left fork goes to Knebal Springs, but if you’re riding that, you’ll want to ride Bottle Prairie and then Knebal). When the trail forks again in less than 1/4 mile, take the right fork to 8 Mile. You’ll climb for 1/2 mile or so, roll down a fun descent through the woods, climb a bit more over a section of trail with a few roots and rocks.
Next you’ll hit the charming part of the trail: a curvy, flowy downhill through big, old trees. You’ll bottom out, and then climb for 2-3 miles at a gentle grade back to your car.
This is a great trail on a hot day, as almost all of the climbing happens in the shade. Plus, 8 Mile isn’t the length of the trail; it’s the name of the creek that runs along the climb out. Swim if you like.
Directions: From Hood River, head 31 miles south on highway 35 to forest road 44 on the left. Drive up the 44 Road about 7.2 miles to the 8 Mile trailhead (it’s 2.2 miles past the intersection with a paved road on the left). The trailhead is not well marked – it’s just a tiny dirt pullout on the left. On the right is the trailhead for the 450 trail, also poorly marked. If you go too far, you’ll know it when you see a paved road on the right. Turn around and go back.