Where to Go Mountain Biking in Klamath County (Based on Your Ability)
Slowly but surely, Klamath County has become a world-class, nationally-recognized mountain biking destination. Not long ago, only local riders or a lucky few travelers were in on the secret. All the other fat-tire fanatics were heading to Bend or Hood River for their (admittedly fantastic) mountain biking scenes, while Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin steadily cruised under the radar on a wide-open stretch of singletrack.
That’s decidedly not the case anymore. These days, Klamath County boasts a robust network of trail systems that are practically bursting at the seams with coiled & stacked singletrack, tons of fun trail features, and a growing number of loyal local (and out-of-towner) riders. Between the glowing write-ups in reputable MTB mags (like Pinkbike and Bermstyle) and the intense and intensive work that local trail-building non-profits like the Klamath Trails Alliance have done to evolve the overall trail scene, this much is clear: Klamath County is a haven for mountain biking mavens.
Currently, the KTA manages roughly 80 miles of trails spread out over three locations: Moore Park, Spence Mountain, and Brown Mountain. Here, we’re unpacking and unveiling some of the best trails within these trail networks, organized by their difficulty level. Happy trails!
Spence Mountain Trail System
Spence Mountain is arguably the crown jewel of Klamath County mountain biking. Located a mere 15 miles from downtown Klamath Falls on the western edge of Upper Klamath Lake, this beautiful 7,400-acre parcel of land features sweet-smelling forests, sprawling lake views, and some downright fun mountain biking trails—designed specifically for mountain bikers by mountain bikers. Swooping through Spence Mountain is a network of more than 35-miles of trails (with 30 more planned), ranging from rip-roaring descents to gentle lakeside singletrack to black-diamond rock gardens and gap jumps.
While Spence Mountain is primarily known for its fast, flowy downhills and technical trails, there are a handful of routes where beginners can have a good time. Most notably, the Old Eagle Trail is a 1.5-mile ribbon of singletrack that gently rolls along the banks of Upper Klamath Lake, featuring smooth trails, easy curves, and even a side-serving of bird-watching opportunities along the marshy waters of the lake. Connect Old Eagle with the 2.9-mile Shoalwater Trail (another beginner-friendly stretch of singletrack) for a fun loop.
The Upper Hooligan Trail is on the cusp between intermediate and advanced. But we’d be remiss not to mention it. This fast, flowy, ripping 2-mile trail starts as an “enduro” style downhill with berms, rocks, and jumps before connecting with the Lower Hooligan Trail for an equally fun descent. In total, you’re looking at about 1,600-feet of elevation loss over the course of one unforgettable 4.5-mile stretch of trail.
There’s just something about the North Ridge Trail that (marginally masochistic) mountain bikers can’t get enough of. Between the bermed corners, skinny trails, rock gardens, and 1-4 foot rock drops, the North Ridge Trail is a bona fide black diamond with major personality. Your skills will be tested.
Moore Mountain Trail System
Located minutes from downtown Klamath Falls, Moore Mountain packs in over 25-miles of glorious singletrack into a compact and convenient 458-acre greenspace. Not to mention, the scenery is pretty exceptional. Situated above Upper Klamath Lake, along the demarcation line between the wet & dry side of the Cascades, Moore Park features an ecological blend of lush cedars, pines, and firs mixed with sagebrush, junipers, and high-desert vibes. For mountain bikers, the trails at Moore Mountain pack a surprising punch. As the VP of KTA Kevin Jones, says, “If you can ride the trails at Moore Mountain, you can ride anywhere.”
Branching off from the Eulalona Trailhead are a couple of fun and easy trails. Powerline is a 1.2-mile, mostly downhill ride with a fairly fast and flowy descent heading south to north. To get back without retracing your steps (or wheel imprints), hook a left on the Sawmill connector (another green-rated trail), then return via the Eulalona Trail, a well-graded and super scenic trail with great views of Upper Klamath Lake.
The Klamath Ridgeview Trail is a bit of a ‘Goldilocks’ trail. It’s got a little bit of everything, and it’s just right. Over the course of 4.1-miles, this signature Moore Mountain trail treats riders to rolling terrain, small rock features, and big-time views of Upper Klamath Lake as well as expansive foreground views of ponderosa pines on all sides.
The trails at Moore Mountain tend to be steep, technical, rocky, and full of fun challenges. Nowhere is this more true than along the double-black Enduro Trail. Featuring a technical downhill, a few super steep sections, and some of Moore Mountain’s famous abandoned cars rusting alongside the trail, this route is difficult but downright worth it for skilled riders.
Brown Mountain Trail System
In terms of scenery, it doesn’t get much better than Brown Mountain. Circumnavigating this small cinder cone shield volcano is a three-part trail system that weaves through fairy-tale old-growth forests, lava fields, and loamy trails at an average elevation of 5,000-feet. While three trails might not sound like much, together they cover over 25-miles of ground and showcase a stunning diversity of ecology and trail features.
The Fish Lake Trail offers an easy and enjoyable 3.3-mile cruise along well-kept singletrack through an overstory of sugar pines, Douglas fir, and sweet-smelling cedars. Mostly flat, great for beginners, and offering great views of Fish Lake and Little Butte Creek, the Fish Lake Trail is a must-hit trail for novice riders.
Ranked intermediate solely because of its fairly stout mileage at 9.3-miles, the High Lakes Trail is another easy and breezy stretch of singletrack that connects Fish Lake and Lake of the Woods. The trail is wide, smooth, and packed full of astonishingly pretty old-growth forests and flora. Big trees and big views of Lake of the Woods make this one a great ride.
The Brown Mountain Trail is the namesake pièce de résistance of the Brown Mountain Trail System. At 14.2-miles long, this signature singletrack trail circumnavigates the mountain from east to west (or, at least, that’s the most common riding direction), and features a little bit of everything: creek-crossings, PCT-crossings, lava fields, huckleberry bushes, old-growth behemoths, and refreshingly remote surroundings. In a word, it’s breathtaking.
Wherever and however you choose to ride in Klamath County, we’re sure you’ll find something that suits your singletrack fancy!
Written by Ry Glover for Matcha in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.