Dog River + Dog/Surveyor’s/Oak Ridge

Dog River Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation drop/gain: 2099′
Click here for the Dog River Strava segment

Dog/Surveyor’s/Oak Distance: 24.8 miles
Elevation gain: 3883′
Click here for Dog/Surveyor’s/Oak

Dog River is 6.4 miles of radness (minus 1 mile of climbing) for shuttle freaks. It’s also 5.4 miles of climbing goodness, plus a mile of downhill, for fitness freaks. If you’re climbing it, consider having a bell on your bike, and makes sure you have low gears. It’s steep. Men’s record currently stands at :51, and the women’s record stands at 1:09. Normal humans can do the climb in 1:30-2:00. The descent takes :20-:45, depending on your ability and fear factor.

The trail winds through the forest, mostly on lovely dirt singletrack with a couple of rocky sections mixed in. Watch out for lots of switchbacks and also for rubber water bars, which will throw your bike around a bit as you hit them.

The trail has a tendency to get blown out early, as hard-braking shuttle riders unfamiliar with the trail lock up brakes before the many switchbacks. Don’t do this. It’s not nice.

The trail also has a tendency to be open really early, as the early-season Dog River Enduro race forces organizers to clear snow and downed trees from the trail in mid May.

To make this a longer ride, form a loop with and Oak Ridge, plus 3 miles of pavement, for 24 miles total and 3-5 hours in the saddle. It’s debatable which direction is better – up Oak Ridge or up Dog River – but I prefer going up Dog River. Oak Ridge is very steep, and the first mile or so is on exposed, hot, rocky loose trail, more interesting for descending in my book. But if you prefer descending through lush forest on dirt (and blown out corners), go up Oak (pushing parts of it), across Surveyor’s and down Dog River.

Directions: From Hood River, drive up Highway 35 past Parkdale, then past Baseline Road. The bottom trailhead is about 2.5 miles past Baseline on the left. To get to the top trailhead, continue along Highway 35 to the 44 Road. Take a left. Follow the road up until you see the sign for Surveyor’s Ridge Trailhead. Park there. Dog River is on the west/downhill/left side of the parking lot. Surveyor’s trailhead is on the right/uphill/east side next to the Porta-Potty.

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