Fremont National Recreation Trail
|Season: summer, fall|
|Distance: 175 miles +/-|
|Hazards: remoteness, little water, few people, lots of mosquitoes, primitive trail conditions|
COTA recently (July 2010) adopted this trail to assist the Fremont National Forest in keeping this trail open. This unexplored gem of a trail is not for the faint of heart or those who are easily lost. It requires significant route-finding skills, self-sufficiency and willingness to spend 8 or more hours on the trail. Shuttle options are available but also require good ability with FS maps and persistence. These skills are rewarded in spades with outstanding views, long climbs and descents and some of the most incredible scenery in the state. The trail itself would be more established if only more people would go ride it. Some small segments are also used by equestrians and hikers but to truly appreciate this trail a mountain bike is definitely the preferred mode of travel.
The northern and middle segments pass near the towns of Silver Lake, Summer Lake and Paisley, and fianlly terminates approximately within a 45 minute drive Northwest of Lakeview, OR at a remote trail head called Cox Pass. The Southern (or Eastern) segment is entirely along the crest of the Warner Mountains to the East of Lakeview from Vee Lake to the Calif. border.
More information can be found on the Fremont NF website but local conditions vary widely across the seasons and segments. A large forest fire, followed by widespread bark beetle-infected areas has left some segments (particularly along the crest of Winter Ridge) in such a state of disrepair that the trail is no longer distinguishable. Other segments (such as up and over Hager Mt. all the way past Silver Marsh CG, Antler Trail Head up to Yamsay Mt.) are outstanding but very primitive for riding.
Check these links for approximate trail locations and information, but inquire locally about latest conditions and check the COTA Worklog to see if anyone within COTA has recent info.
Northern Segment Fremont National Recreation Trail
Middle Segment Fremont National Recreation Trail
Southern Segment Fremont National Recreation Trail
Directions to Fremont NRT:
There are way too many entry points and it is too complex to list them all here but a good, easy starting point, coming from just South of LaPine on HWY 31, is just before the town of Silver Lake turn right on County Road 4-11. This becomes Forest Road 27 for 10 miles, and you should see the campground/trailhead entrance sign for the Silver Creek Marsh Campground. The NRT passes through (near) camp and is “somewhat” easy to locate. Another good staring point is at Antler Springs Trail Head (well signed to get to, tricky to leave – is actually a very nice place to camp with a clean pit toilet and delicious water from a deep well) From this trail head go West on the NRT toward Yamsay Mt. The section of NRT connecting Antler to Silver Creek Marsh is some of the most outstanding singletrack anywhere.