On the map, the Round Mountain Trail in the Ochocos doesn’t look too tough. It’s just under 9 miles and 2400′ of climbing. In reality, the climbing is all done in the first half the ride, so you actually climb the 2200′ in just 4.7 miles — it levels out once in a while, but there’s not much relief from the climbing until you reach the summit, and the last pitch is brutally steep. There’s also the challenge of getting back to the car which can add a lot of extra miles.
From the summit of Round Mountain you drop down a steep forest road for a short distance before rejoining the single track. Keep a sharp eye out for a trail leading off to the right! It’s not uncommon for first time Ochoco riders to fly right past the junction.
Combining the Round Mountain Trail with Lookout Mountain makes for a memorable “all day epic ride” with over 5000′ of climbing.
Late summer and early fall are the best times to ride the Ochoco Mountains. With summits around 7000′, the snow tends to last well past spring. The trails are used by hunters, hikers, and horseback riders, so plan to share the trail with others.