Seaside Stories

Building a Seaside Mountain Biking Culture

January 13, 2020 | by Douglas Scott

The Oregon Coast is widely recognized as the setting for many incredible outside activities. Located at the end of Lewis and Clark’s journey west, the rugged and wild landscape has inspired generations of outdoor enthusiasts. But the region has traditionally lacked trails designated for mountain biking. That’s changing, and the hills surrounding Seaside, Oregon, are on their way to becoming a major hub for mountain bikers, with a network of singletrack trails that have been built thanks to the work of the North Coast Trail Alliance. The first rideable trails opened last summer, and many more miles are planned to open in the next few years, rewarding those who take a trip to Seaside with new options for two-wheeled adventure.

The newly-built trails around Seaside will be the first place on the North Coast of Oregon with an official area to ride. Those rides that do exist are only reachable by driving between hours from the North Coast. Recognizing the need for trails around the region, the North Coast Trail Alliance (NCTA) sprang into action. The NCTA, which is a subchapter of Northwest Trail Alliance, came together in 2015 and quickly established itself as a responsible group of citizens with the shared mission of improving mountain biking opportunities on the North Coast of Oregon.

“We are excited to be bringing mountain bike trails to Seaside,” said Steven Blakesley, one of the leaders of the NCTA. “We live in a beautiful spot on the Oregon Coast and have a chance to make this place an incredible biking destination for residents and visitors for generations to come. In a few years, riders will be able to go from Seaside to the coastal range and back on spectacular trails.”

In 2017, the NCTA began working with GreenWood Resources, the land managers of acres of private timberlands around Seaside, laying down the groundwork for miles of new routes to ride. What started off as a handful of mountain-bike enthusiasts has grown into a powerful movement. Working closely with the larger NWTA and the International Mountain Bike Association, this dedicated and passionate group of riders and outdoor athletes are eager to showcase and share the beautiful spots on the Oregon coast. The belief is that these new trails in the local terrain can become a world-class riding destination. They’re also hoping the new trails will encourage more kids on bikes in the outdoors as well. With family-friendly trails slated to open soon, things are looking up for mountain bike riders all around Seaside.

NCTA is building routes located at Klootchy Creek Park, once home to the largest tree in Oregon and one of the oldest living things in the state. In 2006, the 200-foot-tall, 750-year-old Sitka Spruce suffered crippling damage from a windstorm, snapping the tree in half. Though no longer rising to its stunning height, the tree’s 17-foot-diameter trunk and the two fallen sections have been left in place to serve as nurse logs for a new generation of Klootchy Creek giants. The park used to be more popular when the tree was standing, which means adding the mountain bike trails can help restore use and interest in the park.

The trails around Klootchy Creek County Park will be designed for new riders and families to use, including a pump track to whet the appetite for future rides. More advanced trails will also begin from the park as well. The plan is to create a stacked trail system, which means it will feature a number of intersecting loops that allow riders to access a variety of trails in a relatively small space. When complete, riders will be able to access an easy or green flow trail down or a difficult or black fall line trail while still relatively close to the start point.

Those hoping for even more gain and singletrack fun will be able to ride to the top of Twin Peaks, at 1,300 feet above sea level, just a short distance away. From here, there will be a combination of older logging roads and connecting trails to make an entire day of riding possible. Once the trails are completed over the next few years, there will also be various places to end the climb and ride back to Klootchy for some intermediate or more challenging riding.

In the coming years, thanks to the work of the NCTA, riders in Seaside will be able to pedal from a hotel in town, experience a beautiful ride up and then let gravity pull them back down to Seaside. With support from the county, a new outdoor recreation opportunity will soon be available for visitors and locals alike. While still in the early stage of development, the trail system is expected to eventually make Seaside a mountain-biking destination—and that’s something everyone can be excited about.

Written by Douglas Scott in partnership with City of Seaside Visitors Bureau.

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