Nestor is one hell of a miserable climb. 2500 vert or so on a dirt road. If you need to get in shape, ride this a couple of times a week. The reward for the climb is a long, winding, not-very-technical downhill (minus the first 1/4 mile of loose rock).
You may want to take the map along with you, just in case, because you don’t want to make any wrong turns on the road climb. You can get the map here.
Park as described below. At the first Y, go left onto Nestor Peak Road (the right of the Y is Buck Creek Road). Climb for a mile or two, and take a right at the N 1000 road. Follow this past the horse camp. At the next split, go left to stay on the N 1000. Climb a few more miles, and take the steep, rutted, overgrown N 1600 up to Nestor Peak. The trail is on the right after you come into an open viewpoint area.
The trail winds through forest. It’s got a few rocky sections, but mostly it’s buffed, ride-your-brakes singletrack with one section of berms and small jumps. Eventually the trail will dump you onto a road. Follow the trail signs. It’s counterintuitive, but after about 400 yards on the road, the trail continues *uphill* to the right. Follow it. After some rolling sections, it’ll dump you at the horse camp for the final downhill section. To make the ride longer, follow the directions below:
From Ted Dodd, the trail steward:
“After climbing the trail up stream along BC for awhile you will pass a punch bowl falls which is nice place for a snack stop. After that, the trail gets rocky for a short time as it passes through a small rock slide area. From that vantage point you can look across BC and see a camp area. Shortly after that, the trail comes to a T, take a right and proceed downhill and over a metal bridge which puts you in the camp area. At the gravel road turn right and look for a trail on the left a short distance away. Follow it for about a 1/4 mile to a trail intersection and turn right and downhill. When the trail merges with a dirt road, go left and up the road 600 yards until you see a trail on the right. Follow the trail which cruises through the woods and eventually turns into a long and fast descent. When you get to the bottom turn right and go to the gravel road. Cross the road and bridge and look for a trail on the right which will take up back up to the trail (which you already rode). At the trail intersection turn left and head downhill. When the trail dumps you out on the road you are done. Ride the road downhill back to your car.
The first section (Nestor down to BC) is a good all mountain or DH ride. BC Loop is more cross country with good climbs and multiple views of Buck Creek.
Mileage for both together is about 12 miles as a shuttle. 18 with the road ride up.
Elevation change (as a shuttle) for Nestor Peak + BC Loop is 1040′ ascent and 3650′ descent
Elevation change for the Nestor Peak downhill only (as a shuttle) is 250′ ascent and 2600′ descent in about 6 miles (see graph below).”
To get there: From Hood River, cross the Port of Hood River Toll bridge. Turn left at the stoplight onto SR 14. Turn right after about 1.5 miles onto hwy. 141. Follow this to Northwestern (Lake) Road on the left. Turn here and proceed a quarter mile or so to the picnic area at Northwestern Lake on the left. Park. Or park on the right at the bottom of the gravel road by the trail kiosk.