By Ryan Salm
The North Umpqua Trail in Oregon is the perfect excuse for a multi-day riverside ride through stunning old-growth forest. The trail is located on the southern end of the Cascade Range in the Umpqua National Forest and has many access points and shorter ride options.
But the best way to ride it is in whole from the Lemolo Lake Trailhead to the Swiftwater Trailhead for an approximately 61 to 78-mile (depending on side trips) epic. The North Umpqua Trail is divided into multiple segments of no more than 16 miles.
Conquering the entire trail requires two vehicles for a car shuttle to the top. While the singletrack drops about 2,000 feet along the route, expect climbs and descents along the way.
This is the Pacific Northwest, so be prepared for rain. Try to launch your expedition when there is no rain in the immediate forecast. Drizzle or short rains are no problem, but it can get cold and wet in the Umpqua region, so adding non-stop rainfall isn’t fun.
To ride the entire trail, set up pre-stocked camps before dropping vehicles off. Riding in to stocked, warm and comfortable campsites is sweet after getting wet on the bike. There are numerous campsites along the way that can be used if planned properly.
The North Umpqua Trail is 12 miles east of Roseburg, Oregon. If planning a car shuttle, leave at least an hour to drive to Lemolo Lake.
The North Umpqua Trail is one of IMBA’s “Epics.” Check out IMBA’s Web site for more information.
If you go: North Umpqua Trail: Roseburg, Oregon
Best bike shop: Bike Kraft, Grants Pass
Best map/Web site: The Bureau of Land Management has a awesome Web site for the North Umpqua Trail that includes interactive information on the different trail sections.
Riding season: Year round. Snow may be encountered at higher elevations in winter months; floods can knock out bridges and sections of trail.
Getting there: The North Umpqua Trail is near Roseburg, Oregon, which is 67 miles south on Interstate 5 from Eugene and 123 miles north of the California border.