This fun loop combines two great trails with very different characteristics. South Salmon Creek Trail twists its way over roots, rocks and steep, narrow switchbacks in a dark, lush forest. The section of the Eugene to Crest Trail included in this loop smoothly traverses the south facing slope of an alpine ridge, offering expansive views east up the Salt Creek drainage toward Willamette Pass.
The link that allows these different worlds to be experienced in one ride is a gravel road climb (aptly referred to by locals as 'The Wall') that unrelentingly climbs over 1000 feet in just under a mile and a half. In addition to this concentrated dose of climbing, there is plenty of steep, technical climbing on South Salmon Creek Trail. Don't let the relatively small net elevation gain fool you, this ride is physically and technically demanding.
Once on the ridge, the trail undulates up and down as it slowly starts to lose elevation. There are a couple of miles of great downhill before you hit Dunning Road for the last few miles down on pavement to the car. The old bridge site on the Salmon Creek Trail is a great spot to stop for a snack (or a swim if the weather is hot enough) before tackling the seven-switchback climb up and over to the bottom of The Wall.