I had an amazing day riding some of the great trails on the east side of Mt. Hood. My route started at 8 Mile Campground and took me upcreek to Knebal Springs Loop. I rode both Loops clockwise, but I suspect most people ride Knebal Spring Loop counter-clockwise. Knebal is a great loop either way, but I highly recommend riding riding 8 Mile Camp Loop in the clockwise direction.
My route was an 18 mile double loop with about 3,100′ of climbing, there are long sections with fairly challenging climbing with 2+ mile sections at 8% grade which really wears on you, but the payoff is well worth it. Views are amazing, the trails are primarily fast buffed single track with a few short sections of choppy rocks mixed in to keep you alert. If you’ve ridden the trails at Phil’s trailhead in Bend or Boggs Mountain, you have a good idea of what to terrain-wise. The big exception being the steeper climbing and elevation which take a disproportionate toll on a rider so expect to cover a bit less ground. The views and the ripping downhills make it all worthwhile though, I highly recommend both 8 mile camp and Knebal Springs Loop.
The trails are well signed and fairly easy to navigate, I used the directions on MBPost plus a bit of help from some folks I ran into at the trailhead to get me onto Knebal Springs Trail. Once you get to the intersection of Knebal Springs and 8 mile camp loop, it’s signed well enough that most anyone can follow it. If you are taking Knebal Springs counterclockwise, you will ignore the first sign for it and stay on 8 Mile Trail until you get to the second sign.
What you can expect if you ride these trails.
Some riders coming down from the top of Knebal Springs loop, the downhill is freshly cut and amazing.
If long stretches of fast/ flowy single track are appealing, Knebal Springs loop delivers in spades.
Knebal Spings Loop and 8 Mile Camp Loop are both squarely “Intermediate” trails in terms of terrain. If you are looking for gnarly drops you’ll have to get creative. There are plenty of fast/ flowy sections to make up for it though.
Near the top of 8 Mile Camp Loop the views are spectacular, on a clear day it seems like you can see Idaho to the east…
My day was done, I slammed a bunch of food and pulled out the mattress in the back of the car and took a good long nap before heading up to Seattle.