Waucoma Backcountry is a high ridgeline on the northeast shoulder of Mount Hood adjacent to the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. It offers splendid views of the mountain and Columbia River Gorge, as well as peaceful alpine lakes and wildflower meadows. A network of defunct dirt roads and trails provide access for hikers and mountain bikers alike.
The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance loosely organized a beginner-friendly trip into the area last weekend as part of the Swift Campout. Three first-time bikepackers and a handful of experienced bike campers rode the aqueduct trail from Kingsley Reservoir and found a splendid base camp deep in the forest at Black Lake. The following day some of us ventured towards Wahtum Lake but found the trail blocked by a gnarl of windfall, while others relaxed in camp and enjoyed fishing and floating in the crystal clear lake.
The Waucoma Backcountry is a newly proposed recreation area that the OTTA fully supports in conjunction with a variety of user organizations from the northwest corner of the state. Oregon, especially near the Portland metro area, is in dire need of entry-level and car-free bikepacking areas. The Waucoma Backcountry area proposes roughly 3 miles of new trail (mostly short connectors) and about 25 miles of road-to-trail conversions. The resulting network would provide a multitude of options for families, beginners, and seasoned bikepackers alike to access lakeside campgrounds and create trips as short or as long as they desire throughout the non-technical and stunningly scenic landscape. Not to mention providing Oregon Timber Trail riders an enticing spur option to extend their journey by a few days.
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