2-Day Bikepacking Trip in Mehama, OR: Exploring Shellburg and Silver Creek Falls
Want the GPX version of the map or just more detail? Click here.
Although I’ve ridden most of the trails around Shellburg Falls, this weekend was my first time extensively exploring Silver Creek Falls’ network of all-purpose trails, as well as some of the forest roads east of both Shellburg and Silver Creek. It turns out, Oregon.gov has some incredibly detailed maps of Oregon’s network of forest roads, which I definitely plan on using for some fun snow bikepacking trips this winter when singletrack is a mucky mess. You have to dig a little to find the maps, so instead, I’ll just include the link:
For this particular trip, I left mid-morning for Shellburg Falls, biked up to a campsite about a mile past the falls, and claimed the best real estate for that night. The campsite is one of the best I’ve been to and only costs $5 compared to the usual fee of $18.
I then proceeded to bike some of the trails in the Silver Creek Falls area, which surprisingly are linked to Shellburg, it’s just that not many people know how to bridge the gap. For those who know the area, I took Lost Creek Trail to Buck Mountain Loop, and then branched off onto the Perimeter Trail for a while until getting to Rackett Ridge, which I followed for a while until I mistakenly turned towards Camp Silver Creek and had to take an unmarked fire road to get back to the Buck Mountain Loop and, eventually, back to Lost Creek Trail. When all was said and done, I biked about 27 miles and climbed a little under 5,000 feet.
Because I had some daylight left, I also rode part of the freeride trail network back in the Shellburg Falls area, which was both thrilling and terrifying. Some of it was just plain out of my league, but I had a great time riding one of the easier routes and imagining the crazies with a deathwish flying off jumps that rose above my head. I think I’ll save that kind of riding for when I turn 30 and life’s not worth living anymore.
When I got back to camp, my dad was unpacking his backpack and setting up his tent. We had planned to rendezvous at this little campsite for some father/son bonding time, he by backpack and me my bikepack. We had a great evening and morning playing games, drinking whisky, and chatting by the fire.
The next morning was a bit drizzly, but luckily dad and I both avoided getting wet until we had eaten breakfast and everything had been packed and rain-proofed. I decided to explore a bit of the forest roads in the area but didn’t make it very far before deciding that the rain was more than I had bargained for and hurried back down the mountain to my car.
The Shellburg/Silver Creek area is a great year-round bikepacking/mountain biking destination, and I will definitely make a return trip to Shellburg’s vast forest road network when the dark and dreary days of winter are upon me and a good dose of nature is needed to help me persevere.