2019 was a great year for new mountain biking opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. In the greater Portland area alone we have several new great riding spots that have been developed adding miles of quality, mountain biker designed and optimized trails. 2020 has the potential for a lot more great riding and is off to a great start – we’re already putting dates on our calendar to ride and experience all the new miles of trail.
One of our favorite new rides that opened in 2019 is Sixth Sense, the latest addition to the Cold Creek Trails. (also referred to as the Yacolt Burn Area or the Tarbell Trail System) Located about an hour from Portland, Oregon, the trails offer a wide range of off-road cycling opportunities from gravel to gravity-fueled DH shuttle runs.
To recognize the work put in by the volunteers and trail builders, the Southwest Chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance put on a celebration marking the official opening of the new trail. The trail formerly referred to as Trail #6 received its official name: Sixth Sense.
After the top volunteers on the project were recognized for all their hard work, it was time to ride some bikes, with free shuttles for the trail volunteers put on by the Cold Creek Mountain Bikers, AKA the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.
Sixth Sense can be accessed a number of ways, depending on whether you’re shuttling or pedaling it as a loop. Riders pedaling to the start can climb the fire road, or climb up Murphy’s Grade. With some steep grades, Murphy’s isn’t the most pleasant warm-up with the bulk of riders choosing to take the road option. If we’re doing laps, our preference is to shuttle, with our favorite loop being to drop into Thrillium and pedaling over at the first fire road intersection.
A favorite route is to start with a full Cold Creek towers run. Starting from the upper parking lot, its a relatively short additional climb up the logging road until you reach the towers. The upper section of Cold Creek is a personal favorite. It’s gotta be one of the best all mountain descents in the area, with a wide range of terrain that starts with loamy turns, that takes you through a meadow, down a loose rocky chute filled with unfriendly baby heads, to rutted out gnar lines with a few optional double black lines. It really has it all.
After riding upper Cold Creek descent, take a right to start with upper Sixth Sense.
Sixth Sense is essentially divided into three sections. The lower sections were initially constructed, starting with a climb into the woods, where it dodges and weaves through the forest before emerging into a clear cut area with even more berms and rollers.
Rated blue square for intermediate difficulty, the trails are designated as multi-use, with hiker and equestrian traffic in addition to the mountain biker contingent.
With so many opportunities to help build trail, we’ve tried to make an effort to make an appearance at least once at each project – if not just to get a sneak peek of the new trail experiences. While we only have enough time to dedicate to a single project, if everyone made an effort to support at least one trail project, there would be more for all of us to ride!
There are no such things as mythical trail gnomes. Trails are built by people. Great trail communities are built with the help of dedicated riders that give hundreds of hours of their personal time to create an experience. This edit is dedicated to the builders of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and everyone that written a check, sat through a board meeting, or picked up a McCleod or shovel in order to help create trails we all love to ride.
The best part is that the Cold Creek Mountain Bikers aren’t the only riders working to make mountain biking better. In the next episode of these series, we visit another group of dedicated mountain bikers, working to make a difference for all of us. Subscribe to the new Bermstyle YouTube channel and you’ll be the first to be notified when the next video drops.