This is a beautiful 15.1 mile trail through old forest and past waterfalls. Most people ride this as a shuttle, but for a strenuous day, ride it as an out-and-back or ride up Old Man Pass through old-growth forest, for approximately 25 miles in the saddle. Expect the ride to take 4-5 hours if you don’t shuttle.
The trail cuts through the woods on the right side of the road, giving you about 1.5 miles of singletrack before you ride a mile or two on a gravel road. The trail alternates between short road sections and long singletrack sections. There are lots of turns and two places where the trail runs through campgrounds, and the signage isn’t good. Carry a map or bring someone along who knows the trail.
The singletrack is awesome. Expect lots of fun corners and small root drops and short rocky sections. Any intermediate cross-country rider with a 4″ bike will be fine riding the downhill. Freeriders in jeans and pads are not going to like this trail; there’s just too much climbing, even on the downhill. Most of the elevation drop is in the last few miles of trail, a steep sidehill filled with hikers on their way to Falls Creek Falls.
Directions: From Hood River, cross the Port of Hood River bridge and then head west on highway 14. Just after passing over the Wind River bridge and before you reach Stevenson, head north on forest road 30 toward Carson. Stay on road 30 through Carson to forest road 3062 which leads to the lower Falls Creek trailhead. If you’re shuttling, leave a car here and then head back to road 30 and continue north over Old Man Pass. Park at McClellan Meadows Sno-park on the right (or on the pullout on the left) at the top of the pass. Another way to do this is to hitchhike up the 30 Road to Old Man pass. Secret tip: turn your bike upside down next to the road and people will stop for you, thinking you have a flat tire.