The Old Cascade Crest is one of Oregon’s most remote and raw places to Mountain Bike, located in the Northern Sector of the Willamette National Forest. Nestled right next to the Middle Santiam Wilderness, the OCC in total is a 42 mile backcountry lollipop just an hour from Bend Oregon. This area was site of the 2017 Trans-Cascadia MTB race, split in half, we ride the Old Cascades Crest South on Saturday and Old Cascades Crest North on Sunday. These two days are the best combination of riding in this area.
OCC North is a beautiful day on the bike, exploring the actual Old Crest of the Cascades, the highest point of the Cascade Mountain Range 1 million years ago. We’ll begin our day by climbing up S Pyramid and descending into N Pyramid riding up and over an old glacial cirque and incredible geology that tells a really neat story of the history in this area. Spring Flower Bloom is world class and so is the descent, a playful shred down to our van and if the weather is right, a mid ride dip in crystal clear MTN lake water. We’ll shuttle up to our next decent, Scar Mountain, a jagged peak and sweet views of your ride on N Pyramid and OCC South. We’ll then make our way over to Gordon Peak, a huge decent bordering the Middle Santiam Wilderness and some of the most remote riding you can do on a MTB. We’ll end our decent with a river ford and a short little grunt back up to our car, and some high fives. Don’t miss this tour, definitely one of the best rides in Oregon, let us show you Bend’s backyard with this incredible tour of the Old Cascades Crest.
with The Old Cascades Crest
This was a huge project during the summer of 2017 to uncover some of Oregons Hidden Trail Gold. To read more about our collaboration with our community and how this ride came to be, check out this write up from Santa Cruz Bicycles.
The Old Cascade Crest was the crest of the Old Cascades around a million years ago. The new Cascade Crest is made up of all of the volcanos we see in today’s backdrop, like Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Bacheor and Mt. Hood. Kinda cool to think this was the high point of the Cascades at one time, and now we’re riding it.
The trail system was constructed between 1930 and 1950, and was first built by the CCC and later completed by the USFS. These trails were originally created as a transportation network between fire towers; fire towers were on most peaks in the Old Cascade Crest Network. These trails were also used for animal grazing and gold mining at one point. What’s now super remote and feels really deep, once had thousands of people living there mining for gold. It’s still one of the most active hobby mining areas in the Willamette.
The network was finished as recent as the mid 90’s where the USFS connected all of these trails. The Three Pyramids, North Crescent and South Pyramid Creek Trail were all built or re-discovered in the mid 90’s, and those 3 trails make the network connected. The South Pyramid Creek Trail was an old Native American Pathway that was discovered in the process of the trails development…. you can just imagine the history in this area and how many different people have used it throughout history. It’s been dormant for the past 20 years, with very little use… and now it’s your turn to see what it’s all about.