22 miles of WORK (and some fun) at Waldo Lake
From IMBA: “The Waldo Lake Trail is part of the Oakridge (OR) Area Ride Center. Circling its namesake lake, the beauty of the High Cascade Mountains await those who ride this challenging loop at 5,500 feet. The trails take you past rocky coves, quiet beaches, meadows, campsites and several smaller lakes and ponds.
If you can stand the chilly water, a swim is highly recommended. Power boats aren’t allowed on Waldo Lake, which is why it’s so clean and clear. A forest fire burned the north shore of the lake in the summer of 1996, so be sure to check the progress as the forest fire begins to regenerate.
The Waldo Lake loop can be combined with other rides for an all-day adventure, including these trails: Betty Lake Trail, Gold Lake Trail, Charlton Lake Trail and Twins Trail, which tops out over the crest of the Cascade Mountains at 7,362 feet.”
Our thoughts on Waldo Lake Epic
We couldn’t miss riding an Epic Trail so close to Bend Oregon but Bend Oregon spoiled us with its flowy, fun trails! Waldo Lake Epic was ANYTHING BUT flowy… you’re pedaling the entire 22 miles. Not a lot of climbing on the trail, a few short technical climbs, however, will make you wish you were riding 2000 ft’ on a fire road instead.
Elevation: Riding at over 5000′ will definitely remind you of your altitude and how quickly your body loses its ability to breathe. You’ll feel it, especially on this trail since you don’t get to ”settle in” and find a good cadence to ride.
Technicality: There are probably only 2-3 sections that could be considered ‘hike a bike’ but if you’re a strong rider (or have the right gearing), you should be able to ride the entire trail. We wouldn’t recommend this trail for new riders however for a few reasons: lots of rock gardens and roots, no options of bailing out if you find yourself being ”over it” after 10 miles.
Views: The trail offers a gorgeous view of mountain peaks around and most of all, the crystal clear lake itself. It’s one of the clearest lakes due to its lack of plant life.
Waldo Lake Camping
The Waldo Lake campground is located on one of the most beautiful settings that you can find. Surrounded by tall pines, close to the waterfront and you can ride out of camp! What else do you need? The campground has no hookups, was $22/night.