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Overview of Off-road Cycling Facilities

Five factors are important to consider when planning for a system of off-road cycling trails and facilities: the primary cycling discipline desired; the type of facility; the age, skill level, and type of rider; the size of the area the facility will serve; and the physical setting. Not all types of facilities will be needed or appropriate in Portland. By using these factors, the Off-road Cycling Master Plan can comprehensively explore the kinds of riding experiences Portlanders desire.

Primary Cycling Discipline

Mountain Bike (MTB), Cyclocross (CX), BMX and kids.


Rider characteristics

  • Age – Kids (1–5), youth (6–16), young adult (18–24), adult (25+).
  • Skill level – Beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert.
  • Type – Commuter, recreational, competitive.
  • Frequency – 1-3 rides per year, 1 ride per month, 2 rides per month, 1 ride per week, 2 rides per week, 5 rides per week, ride almost every day.

Facility Type


Trails can be designed to offer many different types of riding experiences for riders of all ages, skill levels and abilities. Trails range in length from small neighborhood scale trails that are less than a mile to large scale trail networks that are national destinations featuring many miles of trail
and offer a variety of trail experiences as well as race course and event venues.


Trail characteristics

  • Trail width
  • Trail grade
  • Trail surface
  • Natural obstacles
  • Enhanced terrain features
  • Technical trail features
  • Skills features

Bike parks

Bike parks can be designed to incorporate many different types of riding facilities to provide a full spectrum of riding experiences for riders of all ages, skill levels and abilities. Bike parks range in size from small neighborhood scale pocket parks that are less than an acre and feature a single pump track or dirt jump facility, to large scale multi-acre national destinations featuring multiple riding facilities, trails, competition and event venues.

  • Kids facilities – Includes kids pump track, skill trail, race course and cross country trails with level to moderately sloped terrain for younger riders.
  • Pump parks – Pump track with start area, rollers, berm turns, wall rides, etc.
  • Skills facilities – A skills park facility typically includes a series of features, obstacles, terrain, etc. Skills trails and skills parks are generally ridden at slower speeds with emphasis on balancing and controlled bike handling.
  • Jump parks – A jump park typically includes a start area with multiple jump lines: small, medium, large and x-large jumps for beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert level riders.
  • Jump trails – Gravity fed trail that is short duration and typically includes a start area with a linear sequence of jumps.
  • BMX track – Specifically designed with start hill, start gate, rollers, jumps, berm turns, rhythm sections, finishing gate, etc.
  • Dual slalom track – A dual track trail specifically designed with two nearly identical side by side tracks where riders compete for time. 
  • Terrain park – Built features such as wall rides, kicker ramps, whale tails, dirt jumps, berms, etc.
  • Trials – A set course of challenging obstacles or features that riders complete for a time.
  • Recreation-only venue – A system designed to provide recreational opportunities only; not intended for racing, special events or competitions. 
  • Competition event venue – A system designed to provide a training area and location to host racing and special events. Includes core infrastructure such as parking and restrooms.

Sanctioned users

  • Shared-use – Hiking, biking and equestrian-only trails.
  • Special-use – Such as: kids, skills and interpretive trails.
  • Single-use – One-way downhill directional trails including; downhill, freeride and flow trails.

Service area

  • Neighborhood – Pocket scale designed primarily for a local neighborhood. 
  • Community – Small scale designed primarily for a local community experience.
  • County – Medium scale designed to provide county-wide recreation for several communities.
  • State – Large scale designed to become a statewide destination.
  • National – Largest scale designed to become a national destination. 


  • Natural areas and open space
  • Developed park and recreation area
  • Right-of-ways and greenways