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More Than Just the McKenzie: Exploring fall colors on the wet side

Ahh, rain and fall colors. Does it get any better than this? I just rode the McKenzie River Trail (MRT) and even when it’s raining you stay mostly dry underneath the high canopy of old growth forest that covers this trail.

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Ahh, rain and fall colors. Does it get any better than this? I just rode the McKenzie River Trail (MRT) and even when it's raining you stay mostly dry underneath the high canopy of old growth forest that covers this trail. Fall colors are just beginning to show themselves and it only gets better as winter approaches. The MRT is one of those classic rides - very scenic, plenty of challenges for every level of mountain biker and a full day immersed in some spectacularly pristine nature. I liken riding the McKenzie to a biking baptism, as it has a renewing effect.


Other trails in the area also deserve honorable mention. Originally constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the O'Leary, O'Lallie and King's Castle trails are worthy of exploration. King's Castle trail starts just across the river near the lower end of the McKenzie River trail and climbs to an amazing peak with views of the old Cascades and the high Cascades. It is well worth the effort. You can connect to O'Leary near the top of King's Castle (Castle Rock), as well. Check in with the McKenzie Ranger Station for specifics and local trail conditions. After a long day out, there is nothing better than soaking sore muscles in one of the many hot springs in that immediate area.

The many volunteers of COTA also look forward to the fall season because it is the time of year when "dirt work" is most effective. All those stutter-bumps, blown-out berms and sand traps can finally be repaired and "put to bed" for the winter. This fall, COTA has a multitude of opportunities to get involved in maintaining your trails. The premier event is COTA's annual Biketoberfest on Sat., Oct. 9. This event includes a free after-party for all volunteers! COTA is also hosting the second annual Steve Larsen Work Day on Sat., Oct. 2. Work crews will be finishing up the Steve Larsen Trail, commemorating one of Bend's most respected professional athletes who passed away suddenly in the spring of 2009. Please join COTA and friends for either one of these great events. Check the COTA website for more details at cotamtb.com.

Thanks, we look forward to seeing you out there!

Please send trail-related questions, comments or concerns to chairman@cotamtb.com.

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