Distance: 17.6 miles
Climbing: 2600-3600′ depending on your route
Strava map of 450-Fifteenmile
Elevation profile when ridden from Knebal/8 Mile/450 parking
I love this mountain bike ride. I really love this ride. I really love going down and down and down through beautiful forest and meadows, and I love the loose, technical descent. I hate the climb out. It’s brutal. I love the climb out. My mountain bike is a 1×10, and it doesn’t have enough gears to make this easy. I think it’d be tough on any bike. Expect a challenge. Don’t attempt this one if you’re not in good shape. It’s a killer of a ride, but it’s so good that it’s worth training for.
Park at the 15 mile (directions below). Follow the lower two miles of the Lookout Mountain trail along 8 mile creek.
Here’s where you choose: the 456 and 457 trails split here. You’ll want to base your choice on the climb out. The right fork is a stellar ride through varied terrain: pine forest, rocky meadows, over hill and dale, flowy and fun, but it loses a lot of elevation down a fall-line, rocky, dusty skid trail. That makes for a grunt of a hike-a-bike back out.
Take the left fork, and you’ll have a long, flowing singletrack downhill with a couple of rocky sections and a mile or so of flat riding through lush forest at the bottom. If you choose to ride up that fork, it’ll be hard, a true grind, a grunt, but there are no mandatory hike-a-bike sections.
When you hit the lower intersection of 456 and 457, there’s a few more miles of trail you can ride as an out-and-back. Heck, if you drove all the way to The Dalles and Dufur, you could ride from there and finish the ride on a long, long downhill.
The choice is yours. Either way, the trail is STELLAR. One of my favorites.
For even more mileage, park at the Knebal/8-Mile/450/Bottle Prairie intersection and ride up the 450 to Fifteenmile. It makes the ride about 21 miles with 3600′ of climbing, but you finish on the super-fun 450 downhill.
To get there: From Hood River, head 31 miles south on hwy. 35 to forest road 44 on the left. Drive up road 44 5.4 miles to the Bottle Prairie trailhead on the left. (1 hour) Or continue to the right turn for Flag Point, road 4430. Drive 4 miles to the 15 Mile campground and start here. The loop is enjoyable both directions