Heading to Portland for a week to visit family, so day trips only. Any recommendations? Bike can handle anything, rider not quite as good- but willing to ride anything. Ape Canyon is on my list. Ride in Colorado, so classic NW riding would be nice ( Ferns, thick trees, loam, etc…)
Cold Creek (part of the Tarbell loop) is about 45 min northeast of Vancouver and is awesome. It’s straight up/straight down, enduro type riding and is adjacent to Thrillium which is a pure DH trail. From the Cold Creek trailhead can also do an epic clockwise loop on the Tarbell trail or head north on an out-and-back on the Bells Mountain trail.
Can’t beat Sandy Ridge for a nice day of riding. It’s the most user-friendly trail meaning you really can’t get lost as there’s a kiosk with map at the bottom and the top. You also ascend a paved road for about 3.5-4 miles before the singletrack.
Also check out Stub Stewart. Haven’t been there for over a year, but they’re constantly working new trail out there.
Syncline is outside Bingen, WA (about 1.5 hrs from PDX) and is a hoot. It’s not that typical NW mossy riding you’re looking for since it sits outside the Cascade range, but is a great option to ride. One of my favorites and is often not raining or dry when it’s too wet around Portland.
When you say “day trips” there’s more you could do in a day. The ones listed above are like a good half day. If in fact you have the full day check out Black Rock, Post Canyon, Growler’s Gulch, and Alsea Falls.
Let me know what details you want on any of the above.
You didn’t mention when you’re coming, but if it is sometime after May, the Timberline to Town Trail is a must-do. It’s along the Mount Hood corridor on Hwy 26 about 15-20 east of the Sandy Ridge Trailhead. You catch a bus from Welches or Rhododendron up to Timerbline Lodge. The trail starts above the lodge parking lot and descends about 16 miles. There’s a couple short, punchy climbs, but that’s it. Best $2 you’ll ever spend. Two. Dollars!
Thought of another that should probably go straight to the top of the list since you’re here in summer. Timberline to Town. Catch the Mount Hood Express bus from the Village of Rhododendron ($2) up to the Timberline Lodge. Track starts from just above the parking lot and descends all the way back to Rhod.
If you look at the Mount Hood Express bus schedule and time it right, you can work in 2.5 laps for a $5 day pass: that’s one full decent, a half lap as you bail out to Government Camp, and another full lap. This can happen if you catch the 5:54a bus in Rhody. You’re down by like 12:30 and if you want more, you can go down to Sandy just 10 minutes down the road.