North Umpqua Trail, Oregon
Hardy souls can grind out the 79-mile-long Umpqua River Trail in one day. But don’t be one of them–to devour this masterpiece in a single session would be as misguided as swigging a tumbler of 18-year-old Scotch in one gulp. Each should be savored in small doses.
The trail, consistently ranked as one of America’s best, begins 4,000 feet high in central Oregon’s Cascade Range and unfurls westward along the North Umpqua River, weaving along the water’s edge. The route is dotted with campgrounds, allowing riders to divide this epic into 15-to 20-mile sections. Each has its own flavor–from cliffside exposure up high to smooth singletrack lower down that spins through old-growth forests of Douglas fir.
Although the trail loses more than 3,000 feet of elevation, it also offers heavy doses of leg-searing climbs along the way. But you can fend off the burn with a postride dip in the Umpqua’s bracing waters–most campsites are adjacent to popular swimming holes, and a few are a quick pedal from natural hot springs.
On a trip this indulgent, you’re better off leaving the chores to pros. Cog Wild offers three-day excursions with guides who reserve prime waterfront campgrounds, cook delicious meals, and produce coolers of ice-cold Deschutes beer after rides. They’ll even tackle the dishes, leaving you to relish the next tasty section of trail.
Sign Up: Cog Wild, cogwild.com
Length of Trip: 3 days
Best Time to Go: June to September