14.2 miles
Distance
1,209 ft
Climb
-1,286 ft
Descent
02:57:08
Avg time
Supporters, Builders, Maintainers & Land Managers of Elkhorn Crest Trail

  • USFS
    Land Manager

Elkhorn Crest Trail Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • E-Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
    • Dirtbike/Moto
  • Riding Area
    Elkhorn Mountains
    Baker City, Oregon
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Double Black Diamond (1 vote)
  • Trail Type
    Singletrack
  • Bike Type
    AM
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Season
    Late spring summer - fall
  • Dogs Allowed
    Yes
  • eBike Allowed
    Yes up to Class 1
  • Ride in Rain
    Yes
  • Global Ranking
    #59065 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • #33121 in E-Biking
    • #36857 in Trail Running
  • Local Popularity
    90 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 100 in E-Biking
    • 100 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
    • 5 in Dirtbiking
  • Land Manager
    Wallowa–Whitman National Forest

Overview
Some trails are physically difficult, with long, grinding climbs; other are technically challenging, with endless rocky exposure. The Elkhorn Crest Trail is both, but that’s not all: it may also be Oregon’s most beautiful ride, just a narrow ribbon of singletrack that threads past jagged peaks, alpine lakes, and shaggy mountain goats.

Route Details
It's difficult to get to, requiring either a bouncy shuttle ride or a brutal doubletrack climb, but once you’re on the trail you are mercifully rewarded with a rolling alignment. Surfing along at 8,000’ above sea level affords amazing views in all directions but you’ll have to stop to enjoy them because the narrow, jagged tread demands every ounce of your attention. You’ll make steady progress but your hands will cramp from death-gripping your bars as you link together an endless array of moves over rock notches and around outcroppings. The exposure is omnipresent and you don’t want to fall this deep in the backcountry.

You’ll pass a couple trail intersections but pay them no mind as you continue to head northwest along the ridgeline. About 11 miles from the start of the trail you’ll hit a mining claim with a hilarious and otherworldly bit of folk art that creates a mandatory photo op. This is a good turn-around spot or you can keep going for a couple more miles before you hit the Wilderness boundary. Don’t be discouraged, the trail feels sufficiently different heading back.

Rather than completely retrace your steps, you can loop back down to the valley floor either to the east via Summit Lake Trail or to the west via the scenic and challenging Twin Lakes Trail. Just remember to plan ahead and not accidentally drop the wrong way or you'll be in for a very long ride

Riding Season
The high elevation keeps the trail buried in snow until summer; make sure to check the conditions before heading up the pass. The trail stays clear through fall, and even though early-season storms drop a little snow it can melt away in a matter of days.

Local Trail Association
Traditionally Indigenous Territory
More Stats for Elkhorn Crest Trail mountain bike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -70 ft
  • Altitude min
    7,439 ft
  • Altitude max
    8,386 ft
  • Altitude start
    7,545 ft
  • Altitude end
    7,474 ft
  • Grade
    -0.1%
  • Grade max
    -25.4%
  • Grade min
    23.9%
  • Distance climb
    6 miles
  • Distance down
    6 miles
  • Distance flat
    2 miles
  • Avg time
    02:57:08
  • Avg reverse time
    04:04:35
  • view trail stats
Status:
on Aug 9, 2021
Dry
Avg: 4.25 (4 votes)
Your vote: 0

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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Inadequate
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Flow (Ridden Direction)
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The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
  • bi-directional trail
  • no data
Trail Last Ridden
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  • < 2 days
  • < 1 week
  • < 2 weeks
  • < 1 month
  • < 6 months
  • > 6 months
Trail Ridden Direction
The intended direction a trail should be ridden.
  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
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  • Description
  • Photos
  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine which trails are ridden the most in the last 9 months. Trails are compared with nearby trails in the same city region with a possible 25 colour shades. Think of this as a heatmap, more rides = more kinetic energy = warmer colors.
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Radar Time
x Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public ridelogs from the past 6 months.
  • mountain biking recent
  • mountain biking (>6 month)
  • hiking (1 year)
  • moto (1 year)
Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public skilogs from the past 12 months.
  • Downhill Ski
  • Backcountry Ski
  • Nordic Ski
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      Directions to elkhorn-crest-trail trailhead (44.773410, -118.043660)
      update trails status or condition

      Elkhorn Crest Trail Trail Reports

      statusdatedescription
      Aug 9, 2021 @ 10:25am
      Aug 9, 2021
      "epic" trail. top 5 in PNW for sure. Ride it East to West. So many view spots its unbelievable. some chunky rocks in spots and lots of exposure...
      Jul 11, 2021 @ 8:45am
      Jul 11, 2021
      Fabulous. Rode 28 miles out & back from Marble Pass. Saw 4 backpackers, 2 mountain goats, and about a million butterflies.
      Sep 22, 2019 @ 11:31am
      Sep 22, 2019
      Trail conditions were excellent. That said, the downhill single track at the top descending down towards twins lakes is pretty sketchy just...
      Sep 26, 2017 @ 7:48am
      Sep 26, 2017
      Trail's in great shape if a little dry. Go get it before the snow falls again.
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      •  
      6 Months
      • 1 rides
      • 11 miles avg distance
      All
      • 25 rides
      • Last: Jul 19, 2022

      Photos

      more »
      137 |
      Aug 9, 2021 @ 10:38am
      Aug 9, 2021
      153 |
      Aug 9, 2021 @ 10:38am
      Aug 9, 2021
      150 |
      Aug 9, 2021 @ 10:38am
      Aug 9, 2021
      137 |
      Aug 9, 2021 @ 10:38am
      Aug 9, 2021

      Routes with this trail

      titledistance
      Elkhorn Crest Trail Loop32 miles
      Elkhorn Crest Trail + Summit Lake Trail shuttle30 miles

      2 Reviews & Comments

      • + 1
      aobbard (Jul 11, 2021 at 8:44)
      Don't know why this section is rated double black- it's not. Mostly blue, with a few miles of what could be considered black in the middle, only due to exposure and a some loose scree. The trail is fabulous- fast sections, exposed sections, mountain goats, clouds of butterflies (in July), fabulous views, and pretty much no one else around. There's also a sign ~11 miles out from Marble Pass that is the best trail sign ever.

      The only tedious thing about this ride is access. The road to Marble Pass is pretty crappy. High clearance/4WD is fine (just slow), Subaru probably OK, but I wouldn't try a passenger car.
      [Reply]
      • + 0
      dkscott (Aug 21, 2017 at 20:20)
      This is a phenomenal trail. While not that technically challenging and no huge climbs to tackle, the narrow trail and sustained exposure is exhilarating and mentally taxing. Strongly recommend flat pedals for this one. The first few miles of trail are wider with less exposure. The approach road can be a little rough and steep. Good tires and clearance are a must.
      [Reply]





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