Silver Siouxon: Fall Bikepacking in Portland’s Shoulder Season – Gabe Tiller

Silver Siouxon: Fall Bikepacking in Portland’s Shoulder Season
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller

One of the most frequent questions I hear is: “What can I bikepack on a long weekend that’s close to town?” The Silver Siouxon route is the answer to that question. You get incredible backcountry singletrack and a remoteness that seems much, much farther than an hour’s drive from Portland.

We rode it in October with vibrant fall colors, but late spring and early summer sport an equally beautiful wildflower bloom. The variety of terrain you pass through is unique. Countless waterfalls, working timber forests, the faux-alpine terrain of Silver Star (a byproduct of the Yacolt Burn), the giant scree fields of Bluff Mountain, the imposing Cougar Rock, and the verdant green tunnel of Siouxon Creek’s old growth forest make this a route that’s challenging physically and technically, but inspiring and soul regenerative at the same time.

It packs 10,000′ of climbing in 75 miles, but most intermediate-level mountain bikers should be able to knock it out in a three day weekend. Or take four days and ride there under your own power from Portland’s city limits. Bluff Mountain trail (especially in the mist) was one of the most giddily fun trails I’ve ridden in recent memory. It’s exposed, chunky, overgrown, and visually stunning. Siouxon Creek trail is almost the polar opposite—sunk deep in the forest, the trail winds past trees that have stood for hundreds of years coated in a thick layer of green mosses and intricate lichens that is measured in feet, not inches.

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