Located in Silver Falls State Park east of Salem, Oregon, the Catamount Trail is a four-mile single track that sets an example of the modern mountain biking experience.
Described as an ‘enhanced’ cross country trail, the single track twists and turns through the forest over a mixture of hardpack and pine needles. Punctuated with roots and the occasional pile of rocks, there are a number of optional features along the route allowing riders to get creative along the way.
Whether they’re the little stump kickers, occasional log ride, or bump to root-filled berm, it makes the blue rated trail enjoyable for a range of rider skill levels.
Though upper Catamount is designated as a directional trail, with a number of uphill segments, its not a gravity trail by any means. Our preferred way of experiencing the trail is the four mile pedal up the gravel road and come back along the single track. For rider that prefer a lifts, occasionally the gate at the trail head is open, though it isn’t clear how often this is the case.
At the top of the climb, you have the option to drop down to the right on the Lost Creek Trail. This connects into the Shellburg Falls Recreation area, to access a number of directional trails. As the Catamount trail is short, adding this to the route would provide a bit more variety. (on our to-do list, updating coming soon)
The alternative is to do a second lap, or explore the Newt Loop, which contains a number of skills loops and lines that are ideal for taking out young riders for their first MTB excursions, with green, blue, and black diamond features well signed and labeled.
Silver Falls is managed by Oregon State Parks; there is a charge for parking at the Silver Falls State Park trail head for a State Park Pass. ($5/day, $30/year)
Alternatively, one could start in the Shellburg Area, which is managed by Oregon Department of Forestry.
For more info, trip and wayfinding, search for info on trails in both the Shellburg Falls Recreation Area and Silver Falls State Park. Although we’ve visited this area a few times in the past, we’re looking forward to revisiting it more soon and exploring all it has to offer.