Categories
Uncategorized

Where to Experience a River Rafting Adventure in Oregon and Washington

By the Ablis CBD Team

Here at Ablis, we’re big fans of outdoor adventures. Hiking, trail running, rock climbing, skiing—You name it. One of our favorite ways to blow off steam (when the weather is right) is river rafting in Oregon and Washington.

Are you looking to find excitement in the class five rapids? How about a scenic float through the glaciers? 

Whether it’s your first time on the river or your hundredth, you won’t want to miss a rafting adventure in the Pacific Northwest along these four rivers: the White Salmon, the Skykomish, the Rogue River, and the Skagit.

1.White Salmon River

Class III – IV

This gorgeous area of the Pacific Northwest is protected under the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and includes a winding river that spans almost 30 miles, with rapids ranging from class III difficulty (rapids with irregular waves) to class IV (where you’ll have to perform complex maneuvers over difficult rapids). 

Some sections of this narrow river are suitable for all levels, but some, you’ll want to be able to swim! Fortunately, there are plenty of guided rafting experiences available. Wet Planet WhiteWater boasts an exciting trip that culminates with a plummet down Husum Falls (a waterfall drop that’s sure to make your heart race). 

White Salmon River is just north of the Oregon/Washington border, near the little towns of Hood River and White Salmon. The cities are across the river from one another, even though one is in OR and one is in WA. Both towns have an amazing little local scene, making this a great option for a weekend trip: rafting one day, exploring the next.

2. Skykomish River

Class IV – V 

One look at this river, and you’ll see why it was the first to be included in the Washington State Scenic River System. The Skykomish is giant compared to the White Salmon, and it contains house-sized boulders that create massive waves between its banks.

If you want an advanced whitewater rafting experience in the Pacific Northwest, this one is a must—especially the Boulder Drop rapid. Your heart is bound to start racing as you approach this stretch of river in your raft! 

After navigating the class V rapids that may or may not knock you out of your boat, take a moment to look up and soak in the views: River banks that are lined with lush trees like firs, cedars, and maples; Mount Index and Mount Persis’ snowy mountaintops towering above the treeline. 

For those who want to experience the views without the heart-pounding rapids, check out Alpine Adventures’ Family Floats, an 8-mile trip that flows downstream from Big Eddy State Park. You can even check both off your bucket list by making it a weekend trip with a cabin stay at Harmony Lodge or Skykomish River Lodge.

3. Rogue River 

Class II – IV 

Choose between a multi-day or one day trip down one of the first rivers to be protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act: the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon. It’s an exciting whitewater rafting experience, whether you camp alongside the river, stay in lodges along the way, or only stay on the water for a day. 

In its past, this river was a go-to vacation destination for Hollywood stars like Clark Gable. Although he may not have gone rafting, it’s understandable why the remote wilderness was appealing to those of fame and fortune: Peace, quiet, and excitement of the rapids. 

The Rogue River is lined with old forests, canyons, interesting rock formations and several exciting twists and turns. You can join in a group adventure on the Rogue River, or (if you’re experienced) tackle the remote and challenging whitewater as a private, self-guided group.

4. Skagit River

Class II – III

If it’s your first time whitewater river rafting, or if you’re planning a trip with someone who’s nervous about taking a tumble in the rapids, take a scenic float along the Skagit River (another Wild and Scenic River). You’ll be able to test your skills navigating the class III S-curves along your 9 to 10 mile journey, but these waves are playful, unlike others that you might encounter on rafting trips in the Pacific Northwest. 

You’ll find the Skagit in North Cascades National Park, one of the least visited national parks in the country. It’s remote, and it’s gorgeous…especially Diablo Lake, the lake that feeds the Skagit River. The water is an unrealistic tint of blue, and it’s surrounded by 3,000 foot mountains covered with fir trees. 

Needless to say, it’s a sight to see, and it’s worth making your way through the rapids to get there. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest rafting adventures on this list, and there are plenty of groups that offer guided tours. Whether you’re introducing your kiddo to whitewater river rafting or you’re gathering a group of friends for a weekend adventure, the Skagit is a great river to explore. 

After exploring the rivers of Oregon and Washington, check out a few tips from our friend Renee about how to relieve sore muscles. It’s always important to unwind after a day of working out, whether it’s out on the slopes, or on the river. Enjoy your Pacific Northwest adventure navigating the rapids! 

Categories
Uncategorized

The Best Mountain Biking Trails Near Bend, Oregon

We are all about outdoor activities at Ablis, and mountain biking is a passion we can all seem to agree on. 

Bend offers tons of trails, of varying difficulties, for anyone looking to cover some ground and get your heart pumping. 

I am happy to share some of my favorite spots to tear up some dirt around Bend.

Why Bend for Mountain Biking

Bend is a killer destination for mountain biking. Oregon itself has some of the most epic mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest. 

Plus, we are really lucky to have some of the best spots right here in Bend. 

You can do over 30-mile rides inside Bend, so you could easily make a whole day of it.

I’ve been riding pretty much my whole life, except a few years after high school because of multiple injuries. 

I’ve gotten even more into riding in recent years, but I had to build it back up, and I don’t know if I’ll ever again have the confidence that I used to.

However, I feel really good about riding again this year!

That being said, there are some things to consider beforehand when you’re planning a ride. 

Choose the Right Course

First things first, you need to know what level of difficulty you’re going to be comfortable with.

A lot of the trails aren’t marked very well, but Mount Bachelor, for example, uses the same kind of markings as a ski terrain. 

So, you have the green circle — which is the easiest way down. The blue square is a little more medium and then there’s a black diamond and a double black diamond. 

They’ll also have signs that say mandatory drops and mandatory jumps on certain trails. 

For the most part, the trail system in town isn’t marked super well. However, there isn’t anything too crazy out there!

Then, determine how long of a ride you want to do. 

As I said, Bend has some longer rides available. You can do up to 100 miles near Bend. We even hold 100-mile races each year. 

Currently, my rides are 5 to 30 miles. Rarely more. The longest ride I’ve done myself was probably 35 or 40 miles. 

I did a couple of long road rides with my dad back in the day. I think we did 60 miles once.

We rode from town up to the top of the old McKenzie pass, which is a scenic byway just outside of Sisters, Oregon. It’s a super windy road up to the top, it’s only open in the summer, and they don’t plow it during the winter. 

There’s not a lot of traffic on it because it’s not the main highway. So, it’s great for scenic rides because it’s absolutely beautiful and super calm. 

Personally, I am more fond of gravity and downhill trails. 

We’ve got some of those around here, including Mount Bachelor

Mount Bachelor, a ski resort during the winter, is open for downhill mountain biking in the summer. They have a trail up there called Red Line that is pretty next level. 

It’s probably one of the coolest things in Bend, in my opinion. 

Red Line is a flowy, jump trail and it was built by some next level trail designers. 

Our friend Kyle Jameson was actually a big part of building it! 

Black Sage Dirt Works is his and another buddy’s company and they build incredible trails. They even built a pump track for us over at our property in Tumalo.

Related: CBD and Me: Kyle Jameson – Ablis CBD

Flagline trail is another favorite of mine. It’s a climb through a forest with incredible views.

There are so many to check out in Bend. There is truly something for everyone. 

Be Prepared

There’s nothing worse than getting all the way out to a trail and realizing your bike needs servicing. I always make sure my bike is dialed, check the tire pressure and the shock pressure, and just make sure it’s running smoothly overall. 

Then, I make sure I have all my gear, depending on if I’m riding a local trail or if I’m going to, say, Mount Bachelor.

It’s a little bit different because a trail like Bachelor, requires the full-face helmet and you’ll need all the motocross type of gear to ride up there. It’s just pretty gnarly. 

Around town though, just the basics will do (little pads and a helmet). 

Snacks and beverages are crucial. Having a little nutrition and maybe some CBD, caffeine, and water are important as well. 

A ride is always better with friends. Ride with people who know the trail if you can. 

However, I’m trying to make it a goal to explore a little more because sometimes I get stuck in riding the same trails all the time. It’s so easy to stick with what you know. 

Taking bike trips with friends has gotten me out of my comfort zone because they’re always looking for new places to explore. 

We’re in a high desert, so it gets super hot and all the moisture goes away in August. Everything is completely dried out, which makes the trails sandy and loose. 

Trails are open, but they’re not ideal in the high desert until Fall, which is my absolute favorite time of year for rides. 

It cools off a little bit, we get some moisture, some of the trails get some work. So it’s prime time.

The most practical advice I can give would be to look before you leap.

Be mindful of not trying to exceed your skill level too much. 

Play on the line of exceeding it, because that’s how you progress but don’t go too far.

Injuries suck and they can hurt your confidence on the trail.

Ablis and Mountain Biking

This year, we gave away a crazy special bike in our summer raffle. 

Last year, we did a local scavenger hunt and gave away five bikes. They weren’t as decked out as the one from this year, but it was still so fun to put together. 

We made these custom tokens out of tree branches essentially, hid them out in the woods, and made a big scavenger hunt out of it. We had so many people out looking for these tokens.

This year, we kept it pretty mellow because we couldn’t find anything that was super COVID friendly other than an online raffle.

We’d like to do it again next year for sure, but we’ll probably do something a little bit different.

This year, the raffle proceeds went to the Central Oregon Trail Alliance. 

Last year, we didn’t do a benefit. It was more about giving back to the community and having a great time outside!

One of the guys who won last year was a total beginner, but he decided to take up mountain biking and ended up losing about 65 pounds. He said he has ridden about 1,000 miles since he won the bike!

We are so proud to be a part of that story.

Related: Ablis’ Bike Raffle with COTA

The Best Local Resources

Bend Trails

It’s kind of a local organization. They post about some of the more popular trails. On their homepage, they have the latest Bend trail reports.

Mountain Bike Project – Oregon

This site gives you an in-depth look at specific trails all over the country. It includes difficulty, distance, elevation, and other trail info. 

Trail Forks Oregon

Another great link to access info on Oregon’s bike trails and their difficulty ratings.