Rototiller making new trail for dirtbikes, the Snag Trail

by Brian Sather — Updated 9 months 3 days ago · Posted Fri, Jun 16, 2017

The trails are making a turn for the better in some areas. A couple weeks ago I was helping the dirtbike riders (a.k.a. fellow motorheads) build new singletrack at MERA. This is a continuation of Dead Bull Trail which will likely become the Snag Trail after it crosses the road. I had a chance to ride it a couple days ago and it is a great finish to a great stretch of trail. The prototype rototiller was on it doing amazing work on the tough grass that makes trail building hard at MERA. The section is well designed and includes 2 new miles that need raking and some use to get it fully functional. The trail will eventually continue back up the mountain.

Then, Sheeks and I headed up top for the longest and best downhill of MERA, the 317 Trail. I've been raving about this trail and it is getting better by the week and it didn't disappoint for my first full ride of it in 2017. We don't quite have all of the upper section on our map yet and there will be a short connector that will eventually connect the lower 317 with the upper to create a continuous and glorious ride down the entire ridge from the far north to far south boundary of MERA, all SINGLETRACK! (After watching several hard enduro dirtbike races on Red Bull I'm hearing the term "single trail" which is far better a term so henceforth I may just use that term.)

In other news, the snow seems to be well above the 6,000' mark as reports are coming from Breshears that much of it is open. I was at Rock Springs at 5,600' and couldn't find much of any snow within sight. Meanwhile, down lower at MERA the cattle are charging onto the trails with a vengeance. I'm hearing they are slaughtering the new singletrack below the quarry and shitting their way up the mountain. Much like the seasonal indicators such as ticks and mushrooms, cow shit at MERA is my cue to shut down riding there for the season and move to higher ground and better trails.

The gravel roads are fantastic, especially with the periodic rain settling the dust down. For paved roads, the Palmer Jct. Road is undergoing some work and a huge pile of rock in Elgin indicates a big chipseal is coming so write off the best road bike road in the area for a while. Our paved roads are getting so rough around the county that I recommend not even owning a road bike. Just run big tires on a gravel bike and enjoy everything much more.

317 Singletrack Trail at MERA
Dead Bull Trail - Singletrack at MERA

Category: Mountain Bike    Gravel Bike    Hike   
Keywords: MERA    Wallowas    Palmer Junction    Elgin    La Grande   
Rock Springs Trail is open, with the top at 5600'
Gravel is riding awesome.
Chipseal pile looming at Palmer Jct.