While Cedar Creek and 15-Mile parallel each other coursing down opposite sides of the Fifteen Mile Creek, they are not typical river trails and, instead, require a steep and sustained climbing effort. The two trails share a common pathway for the initial 0.5 miles which then forks high atop either side of the creek's ravine and continue downhill to create an inverse elevation profile. Either direction you choose, you're going down right out the gate with a grueling climb back to the car.
Perched 2,000 feet above the creek, both trails sweep opposite sides of the ravine's steep slope diving and stretching deeper and further into the firmament. Ancient volcanic rock fields stationed on exposed cliffside guard the eastern Oregon expanse almost as if it were Mother Nature's personal watchtower. The ground is a perfect medley of rock, root, needle-pack, volcanic moondust, and black gold. I think "loam" actually sums it up nicely.
The Cedar Creek descent ends with a sharp ridge descent over such an amount of pumice and baby head, I hardly recognized any evidence of a trail before popping back onto clay at Fifteen Mile Creek's river bottom. The initial climb out on the 15-Mile trail begins easy enough, but shortly after the mellow grade ascent, we were met with long stretches of hillside hike-a-bike punctuated by more outcroppings of rock. Once back on top, the trail continues climbing in earnest, but can be done so pedaling all the way back to the car.