E-bikes NOT allowed on Southfork
The Southfork Trail follows the South Fork of Tumalo Creek. The upper end (south) WAS the Swampy Lakes shelter and loop. The lower end (north) connects to Tumalo Creek Trail.
Southfork is known for being a fast and technical descent and has become a favorite downhill route for many locals (dropping over 1100′ in 3 miles). It is a popular 2-way trail so watch out for climbers and hikers and be ready to yield. The creek along the route is very pretty – but the mosquitoes will make you pay for stopping.
Half way down the trail you will cross a large log bridge, which is rideable, but take caution and don’t push the envelope. More than a few have fallen into the creek at this spot. If you decide to ride it, look ahead and don’t stop pedaling until you’re on the other side. Novice riders should walk it.
The lower half of the trail is a little less steep than the top half, but the trail is just as rowdy with lots of rocks and roots.
Southfork was built originally as a ski trail. This provides the wide switchbacks and long straight aways with nothing overly steep. Southfork (in the USFS inventory anyway) begins at the log crossing half way down the trail and continues all the way to Tumalo Falls. Maps and Strava have acted to change this fact – and now the trail is just called Southfork from the top to intersection with the Swampy Loop down to Tumalo Creek Trail.
This trail is maintained by Central Oregon Trail Alliance.
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Southfork was cleared yesterday. June 8th. There are some pockets of snow still which will be gone soon
We just cleared Southfork. Thanks Alex B for the help.
South Fork, and most of the Swampy complex is clear of trees. Minor amounts of snow.
South Fork has a substantial amount of snow and down trees (as of June 6) and is slow going.
A few spots of rideable snow and soggy areas after the bridge, but overall riding really well.
After getting up farther on Farewell and Tumalo Ridge than I expected, I probed up S Fork a bit. Definitely more disappointing. Solid snow after .6 miles and some larger (not lodgepole) trees down.
Only a few 10-20 foot patches of snow left up at the top of South Fork. Rest of it is Hero dirt but tree removal is needed. I cleared a handful of trees that could be moved but There’s still about 5 sections with clusters of downed trees 5-20” in diameter which will need a chainsaw
Lots of down trees! Some right in blind corners after stretches of none. Be careful out there.
We cut all of the trees, some quite large. Clear now.
16-18″ tree down on the trail. Maybe less than 1 mile in from Swampy. It’s in one of the first fast sections, so watch out!
Trail was very wet yesterday but no mud and puddles were minimal. Should be pretty great today.
Heads up – on Thursday 9/16 and Friday 9/17 COTA along with the NFS will be continuing work on the new wooden boardwalk about 3/4 from the bottom of the trail. Expect to walk bikes through this zone and to ride slow below this area to the intersection of Tumalo Creek Trail.
Just a quick note to say that S Fork is in great shape! Also, don’t let the trail description scare you: this is a GREAT climbing trail! Shady, stepped (so you get recovery between steep stuff), beautiful creek views… If you’ve climbed North Fork you can climb this. Only watch out for impatient downhillers, especially near the top. 9/10 downhill riders will be super polite and nice, but there’s always one who doesn’t know/want to yield to climbers. So downhillers, remember: let the climbers do their thing, take a breath, and enjoy your ride!
Just a heads up. There will be a small COTA crew working on the middle of southfork on Friday, 6/4. Signs will be posted. Please keep speeds under control and look out for workers.
Southfork is clear of trees. Couple of small patches of snow.
Trail is clear of snow and trees below the bridge. Snow still present in quantities on the switch backs close to the top.
Lots of snow starting below the log bridge crossing.
cleared this afternoon. Something like 70 trees including a few leaners.
2 small trees down. One near the top and another about a half mile further in a spot where you’d usually be going fast
Heads up: the boards making a small crossing over the swampy area after the log bridge are pretty loose and we’re popping up on any riders than were close to each other. They could use a few new nails.
yeah – it’s pretty bad. Entire holes there now and the boards are completely loose. The sub structure is goners in spots so there’s nothing to nail to anymore which is what’s causing the issue.
Boards look good, thanks for making the fix! Someone put a ramp on the creek bridge that looks pretty sketch!
Trail clear of deadfall. Some snow patches.
Conditions are the best I’ve ever seen. Pretty much the perfect amount of moisture for tacky dirt without any mud or slick roots!
All clear and running great!
A few small sections of snow but not bad. The bigger issue is dead fall with a couple dozen trees in the upper 1.5 miles. Most could be done with a hand saw but a couple bigger ones, including one precariously leaning across the trail, that will likely need more than that.
Rode up to the bridge today, only a few small snow patches but there is a ~18″ tree that fell parallel to the trail just above the plank “bridge”, creating a narrow corridor for passage that will probably need to be removed depending on trail corridor requirements.
Cleared all trees below the log bridge (4). Still a couple hike a bike snow patches below with lots and lots above.
A few puddles here and there but tacky dirt in between. 2 trees down near the top. I’m guessing the lower one is 6″ and the higher around 10″.
Just a reminder it might be better to climb Tumalo Ridge if your wanting to get to Swampy from Tumalo rather than have a bunch of run in with folks bombing hard down Southfork. I seemed to have annoyed people coming down yesterday even though I pulled to the side, positive vibes people! Flagline-Southfork is awesome right now! Great job COTA peeps!
If you have the time and you also like pain, which I’m assuming you do since you were climbing Southfork try starting at Skyliner TH and warming up on Tumalo Creek, before the big crowded climb on Northfork (uphill only – must have good people skills), followed by some more uphill to rolly on the Met-Win Swampy, followed by some more up on Upper Flagline, and finally down Middle and Lower Flagline, down Southfork, and a cool down cruise back on Tumalo Creek. I call this the Ring of Torture for obvious reasons, plus my riding buddy lost his wedding ring out there somewhere, and he may have also accused me of torture. It’s over 24 miles with over 2500 feet of downhill, but you will have to earn it.
Mmmmmm….doesn’t get much better than that! low dust and super fast! Enjoy!!
Ride it during a rain storm some time ;)
Little bit of snow left on top but I’m going to promote this baby to riding well! I went out to scout for the tree clearing party tomorrow and to my great surprise everything had been cleared! Apparently the trail gnomes have been receiving their tributes so keep leaving food and sparkly objects at the trail heads. Rumor has it they really enjoy Picky Bars.
Riding great up to a few hundred yards past the log bridge now! I might it up to about 1/4 mile from top but lots of hiking due to deadfall and snow. Most of the dead fall is small so if anyone feels like clearing those that would help a lot until we can get a chainsaw up to get the big stuff.
Dead fall report:
Deadfall is now cleared up to the log bridge. Quite a few large snow drifts remain but the dirt sections are a blast!
Hard to decide between Deadfall and Deep Snow since it’s got both. Heading up from Tumalo Creek, you can’t make it more than a couple hundred yards without hitting both.
reports of deadfall catastrophe, no snow
Yup-23 trees across the trail as of today
Thanks for the report. I cleared about 10 trees on the top the other day and my chainsaw broke sadly.
Dusting of snow overnight but trail was still perfect. Hero snow? Also, no cougars.
Got charged by a Cougar at the top of south fork, just after the first traverse. Not sure why it didn’t get me but maybe ride in a group. Cougars don’t normally charge so I am not sure whats up here. I know older cougars get more desperate.
Ok ok we all want to know what happened? When did you see it? How big was it? Did you scare it away?
We changed our riding plans tonight because of this story. Did you get a picture?
Thanks for sharing. Scary!!
It just came out of a tree about 40 yards to my right after the first traverse. So it was up the hill. I looked back and it was charging at me from behind. Not sure where it went after that but I had buddies about a minute behind me giving me a “dust gap”.
the trails has been clear since thursday.
Don’t let the brake go too much up top still some surprise snow patches in fast sections. Also, some vandal sanitized the last little rocky section before the junction with tumalo creek. Probably fine on a cross bike now. Hopefully some good Samaritan will restore it.
North facing slope still has some snow patches in places where you’ll be blasting down the trail. A few warm days and it’ll be clear.
lots of small rideable patches depending on your skills. A couple that require almost coming to a full stop. below the bridge is good.
20+ patches of snow above the bridge. Some still over 2 feet deep. Clear of deadfall.
Above the log bridge the snow is still in deep patches and there is a lot of walking. 6-7 smaller trees and one large group near the top
Did you access from bottom or top?
I went up tumalo ridge (which is in good shape) then swede ridge which I’ll comment on also
Anyone have an update on Southfork out of Swampy sno-park?
Cog posted a couple days ago you could ride from the bottom up to the plank bridge. So beyond that it’s snow and trees I would assume. Don’t believe swampy area has been cleared yet either
Really good dirt today, no snow.
One large tree down at the bottom of SF. Otherwise no snow.
Anyone know why the Swampy shelter is stuffed full of tree limb cuttings???
They plan to burn it since there is a new shelter now. That could be a fun celebration in the snow. :)
New shelter?? Am I blind?! Ha! Are they planning on building one or its already built in another location?
I agree, could be a fun celebration!
apparently a new location… read more…
New shelter is already built on the south side of Swampy Lakes.
Rode South Fork today and it’s riding well despite the numerous braking bumps. Recent rain means no dust, just a bit chilly.
Descended Southfork last night (7/12/16) just before dark and it was riding great. Yes a bit loose and chunky with moon dust in a few corners… but that’s how we roll this time of year. :)
Free of deadfall and snow! Good riding right now with recent moisture.
Southfork, how you can be snowy and dusty at the same time is beyond me. This trail needs some tlc.
Bill and I cleared 20 trees his morning and the trail is now open. Still snow patches and a section of trail missing down low.
Joe/Bill – Rode yesterday, great job on the deadfall! Anyone planning to ride through the washed out trail just be advised that the dirt is extremely loosy goosy. I added a few logs and rocks to shore it up but still needs lots of work. Definitely passable for intermediate riders but take caution.
Cleared most of Southfork with Lev, Dan, Erika yesterday. Left about 30 trees on the top between about .25-.5 miles from shelter. Several large snow field and many more small snow patches once up past the bridge. One section of trail has been uprooted down low and will need shoring up.
South Fork trail is spotty snow for bottom ½ mile or so, then a pile of snow above that. FS cleared the bottom ¼ – ½ mile but suspect there remains heavy downfall lurking beneath the snow, including a 28” tree that’s on the bridge that takes you toward Swampy. Apparently the bridge was not damaged.