Thursday, July 25, 2013

8 mile, Knebal and Surveyors Ridge

From where we were staying after the wedding for the next few days, Cooper Spur Resort, the closest bike trails were also some of the best recommended in the area. I did a recon the evening before I planning on riding and decided I'd get a lift to the start of the combined Trailhead of  8 Mile and Knebal. As a bonus during the recon I drove up on 4 elk that were grazing along side the road.

Rented a bike from the Mountain View Bike Shop in Hood River. Another bike shop that treated me fair and was great to do business with.

Rental bike with Mt. Rainer left, and Mt. Adams on the right in the background. View from near the tower, see further below.

I started on NF-44 where 8 Mile and Knebal Springs share the Trailhead at Bottle Prairie. 8 Mile is not the trail length, but a distance on NF-44 or ?? that no ones seems to from or where to anymore. Other trails are named the same in this trail system.

Following trail info taken from the

"The only thing wrong with this ride is that it is too short. There is a lot of nice terrain and it opens up on top near a lookout. In the early summer the meadow around the Five Mile Butte Lookout is loaded with wildflowers. About half the ride is up a little creek on trail 459. The graph is shown starting near the Bottle Prairie parking area but it can also be done starting at the Eight Mile Crossing Campground. The only reason it is typically shown starting from Bottle Prairie is that is the closest place to drive to if you are coming from Hood River or Portland. If you start at the campground, you will do all the climbing first and end with a descent. If you start at Bottle Prairie, you finish with the climb up the creek but it is not too bad. The hordes of mountain bikers from Dufur start at the campground because that is the closest for them."

Quick stop at the Campground off the short spur bottom right. I started bottom left.

 Mt. Adams right, Mt. Rainier left.

There is a tower on the trail that has the view of Adams and Rainier and a view of Hood, but not that great of Hood as trees obstruct it. There was person in the tower, he/she didn't acknowledge me when I climbed the tower and came up against the locked trap door that leads up to the "house".

Mt. Hood.

After 8 Mile, I headed back up the shared trail to take the Knebal loop.
Didn't take many pics. Not the views of 8 Mile, but longer nicer downhills and tougher longer uphills.
About an 8 mile loop. I think it was on Knebal (or was it Surveyors Ridge trail coming up) where I could see vistas of Central/Eastern Oregon. A cool mix....Cascades, Central and Eastern Oregon views off one trail section. Only thing missing was a view of the Pacific!!

Trailfu combines 8 Mile and Knebal into a single trail, Knebal Springs. info for Knebal. Horse issues not noticed.

"Knebal Springs is great singletrack riding but less so if there have been many horseback riders on it. After heading southwest on road 1720 for about a mile, head up trail 474 and return on 455 then back on 474. This trail can be combined with other rides nearby like Eight Mile or High Prairie. This trail and some of the nearby trails can get dusty late in the year from horses.

Getting to the start of the Knebal Springs Trail at the campground:____ In Google Maps copy and paste "NF-1720 @45.435860, -121.480510" as a destination."
Garmin info/data for both 8 Mile and Knebal.

From there, I scampered 4 odd miles down the paved NF-44 to the shared Trailhead of Dog River and Surveyors Ridge.

Stopped to talk to guy on the road who was checking his map. He had a mtn. bike on his pickup and he gave me some great info on Surveyors Ridge.
Garmin info/data for the road ride.

View of Hood from the road.

From the combined Trailhead for Dog River/Surveyors Ridge, my original thoughts were to ride down Dog River .....from site:

"If you look at the graph you can see why this ride is typically done as a shuttle. It drops almost 2000 feet in the last three miles. The logistics of a shuttle are not too bad either. The drive is pretty direct but does climb enough to dent the gas gauge. It can be ridden uphill but the steep, tight, and loose switchbacks can be difficult to ride.

Getting to the start of the Dog River Trail on the south end:____ In Google Maps copy and paste "Dufur Mill Rd/NF-44 @45.408330, -121.550050" as a destination in the get directions tab. Enter where ever you are as a starting point obviously."

 and then peddle back to Cooper Spur thereby not needing anyone to pick me up. But, once I found where Dog River dumped me out and after talking to a few fellow bikers out on the trails that told me that Dog River was rather crappy and with the information the guy mentioned above on the road told me, I decided to take Surveyors Ridge down to whats known as the Powerline Trailhead and then jump on NF-17 to where it connects to Hwy 35 (NF-17 is called Pinemont Drive at this intersection) and get picked up here.

As time and fate would have it, I was able to skip getting picked up at Pinemount/Hwy 35 and instead biked all the way down Hwy 35 the 11 miles or so (ALL downhill!) and ride right through the doors of Mountain View Bike Shop in Hood River and get the bike back by 6pm with 15 minutes to spare.

This allowed me to keep my rental to 2 days and not having to deal with a huge issue the next morning as we packed up from Cooper Spur with a mini-van full of people and luggage and also trying to get the bike back at 10 AM to keep from getting charged for a 3rd day.
I later found out that there were some discussions behind my back from family members as to how I planned on getting the bike back...I did have a plan B, to have Chris and Helen take it to Hood River as Chris had his bike and bike rack (a double) and they had to go almost to Hood River the next day to pickup their dogs....I never had to mention/ask Chris but as an avid biker and he and Helen both avid runners, I didn't think they'd mind.
All and all it worked out rather well. Pays to be flexible and stop to talk to people on the trail once in awhile!

Back to the Surveyors Ridge ride.
From the Trailhead things went well until I popped out onto NF-44 a mile down the trail and it made a left to continue on down NF-1720/NF-44. It got rather tricky as I didn't know where the trail took off from the road, but I knew it had to stay left of the road. I turned on to NF-17 (stayed to the left) at the NF-17 and NF-1720 Y. I then just took a flyer off of NF-17 which is paved, on the first dirt road to the left and down there 200 yards or so the Surveyors Ridge Trail took off again to the right. I could see faint bike tracks on the dirt road, so that helped my confidence. A sign as to the turn-off would have been nice, but it's also fun to have to engage one's brain and figure some things out while riding as well.

During my road time, I came across a forest service worker that was off NF-17 raking in the woods...she wasn't really that helpful to me as she didn't know the trails that well, but when I asked her what she was "growing" out in the woods she admitted to me that she was working on some yet secret connector trails. COOL!! Hopefully this will take some of the confusion out of the connections.

Surveyors Ridge, as described in, seems to be the Crowned Jewel in the area and I can't disagree.

"Surveyor's Ridge Trail is a classic mountain trail ride. If you are in the area and have the time to drive up to the ridge, this should be high on your list of things to do. Surveyor's Ridge Trail runs along a good chunk of the ridge and there are frequently excellent views of Mount Hood and the valley. Most of the clearings are natural and not clear-cut although this is not a virgin forest and you do cross a couple of clear-cuts. The trail can be ridden a number of ways. Some folks will run a shuttle and end up at either the bottom of the Oak Ridge Trail or the end of the Surveyor's Ridge Trail at the big power lines. Another option is to start at the bottom and do an out and back (up and down). It is not too steep to ride up but you will have to be in good shape to do the whole thing. A better option is to start at the top, ride down to the end of the trail at the power lines and return on road 17 which is also called Surveyor's Ridge Road. Seventeen is paved much of the way but there is little traffic and the forest is mature enough to provide some shade. This makes for a good final spin and allows time to BS with biking partners. As you can see from the graph this is rolling terrain so even though it is downhill overall there are definitely enough climbs to have it qualify as a workout. The graph is top to bottom one way and does not include the Oak Ridge Trail.
Getting to the start of the Surveyor's Ridge Trail on the south end:____ In Google Maps copy and paste "Dufur Mill Rd/NF-44 @45.408330, -121.550050" as a destination in the get directions tab. Enter wherever you are as a starting point obviously.
Getting to the start of the Surveyor's Ridge on the north end:____ In Google Maps copy and paste "Unknown road @45.527220, -121.525870" as a destination. The only problem with this is that in Google Maps it has you driving on some roads under the power lines directly up from Highway 35 which is not open. In order to see where the turn off is to get to the Surveyor's Ridge Road go to the link below.
Getting to the start of the Surveyor's Ridge on the north end turn off to Surveyor's Ridge Road (17):____ In Google Maps copy and paste "NF-17/Pinemont Dr @45.579680, -121.552100" as a destination in the get directions tab. Enter wherever you are as a starting point. This is one case where just typing out directions might be better than forcing people to use Google Maps but consistency is important right? Basically Pinemont Dr. turns into Surveyor's Ridge Road and it is all paved until the last mile near the power lines where you turn west to drive to the top of the ridge."

Trailfu info. It's shown as a loop and I only did the east, right trail. It looks like they combine Dog River and Hwy. 35 to make the west/left loop connection.

Great views of Mt. Hood and looking across the Hood River valley.

My lunch spot, local smoked salmon on bagel with cream cheese and capers!
Mt. Adams in the background. Could see Adams and Hood here as it was an open patch where they had done some logging. Sat on a huge old pine/fir stump.

Mt. Hood. 

There were some nice "pay attention" sections with much steeper drop of section than this.

Left middle where it's open is the Cooper Spur Ski hill. Just below that area is another slightly open spot, that is Cooper Spur Resort.

Hood River Valley.


Got to the Power Line TH as mentioned above and called Lynn for her to meet me in Hood River then rolled with speeds up to 40-45 mph (Garmin was off) on NF-17 then on Hwy 35 to Hood River and the bike shop.
She gathered me up and we headed up to the Big Horse Brew Pub where I ordered an Easy Blonde and Lynn got a MacStallion Scotch Export.
As an appatiser before getting back to the Resort to grill steaks we had one of their famous sea salt/bacon chocolate chip cookies...need I say more that it was the end to perfect days riding?

Garmin data/info.

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