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Old 05-16-12, 04:33 PM   #1
splitpeasoup
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Oregon Route 58 through Willamette and Deschutes National Forests

Hi, I wanted to bike out this June from Eugene into the Willamette/Umpqua/Deschutes NFs (without any particular destination in mind). Google Maps gave me this route to Odell/Crescent lake: http://g.co/maps/a5d3j

The plan is to do a leisurely roundtrip ride on a road bike over 3-4 days, with camping gear, non-car-supported. I will be taking the train to Eugene.

Anyone have any experience with riding on the Willamette Hwy / OR-58? Is it pretty bike friendly? Or any other tips to share about the area at this time of year? Would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-16-12, 05:38 PM   #2
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OR 58 is not very bike friendly, plus the DOT will be rebuilding a tunnel near Willamette Pass starting this month, which will cause major delays. This tunnel work may be a blessing for bike travel due to the many trucks that use it choosing another route. I wouldn't say don't use 58, but I've never found it to be a nice ride.

I'd suggest Eugene to Oakridge, then take Aufderheide scenic highway to McKenzie Bridge, then Old McKenzie Pass (Rt 242) to Sisters. This is one of the best rides in the world, so.
I can make you a best route map from Eugene to Oakridge if you'd like.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:01 PM   #3
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I agree with Shifty. I wouldn't chose to ride through that tunnel if I had another option. Knowing they are planning on doing construction on the tunnel would really motivate me to chose another route. I also agree with Shifty that the Aufderheide Scenic Highway is fantastic, as is the scenery on top of the McKenzie Hwy.

Just the same, if I was riding this route and had 4 days my temptation would be to continue from Sisters to Bend and ride the Century Drive Loop to Crescent Junction. Then I'd tempt the fates by riding back on Hwy 58. The ride back on Hwy 58 wouldn't be that enjoyable, but I'd somehow feel safer riding it in the downhill direction. That'd be close to a 280 mile trip which averages out to 70 miles a day with some pretty tough climbs along the way. If you're wanting a leisurely trip, I'm not sure you'd want to do this - it'd depend on your definition of leisurely and what time you needed to be back to Eugene on that 4th day.

How many miles would like to do each day? Did you want to avoid tough climbs?

PS - Shifty knows Eugene. He gave me excellent route advise on a prior trip in the area. I'd take up Shifty on his offer to give you a best route from Eugene to Oakridge.

PPS - The Lane Transit District has a bus route that goes from Eugene to Oakridge 3 times a day on week days for $2.50 one way.

Last edited by mtnbud; 05-17-12 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:43 PM   #4
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Well, I would like to have Shifty post a best-route from Eugene to Oakridge even if the OP doesn't want it.
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Old 05-17-12, 07:56 AM   #5
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then take Aufderheide scenic highway to McKenzie Bridge, then Old McKenzie Pass (Rt 242) to Sisters.

OP: Listen to him.
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Old 05-17-12, 05:39 PM   #6
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The tunnel on Rt 58 near Willamette Pass will be completely closed June 4 - 8. That is good news if you are riding from Eugene to Oakridge, there will only be local traffic on the highway, and it should be very light no thru 18 wheelers. Getting to Oakridge and the Aufderheide Road will be a rare quiet ride on 58. I may have to do that just because I can!!

There is a very nice hot spring just off the Aufderheide along the Cougar Lake on the Mckenzie River side. The Forest Service has a toll booth and charges a meager sum to soak, but it's worth it during a bike trip. Ask the toll booth how to best handle your bike for safety from thieves, ( I know, it sucks) It's called Terriliger Hot Springs.

That same time in June McKenzie Pass road SR242 will be closed to cars and open only for bike travel. If you come to ride that week it will be like winning the lottery. If you can come then you may just have the ride of a lifetime. Great camping on both Aufderheide and McKenzie Pass roads, it really dosen't get much better than this.

Also, please watch you bike and gear closely in Eugene, we have trouble with thieves.
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Old 05-24-12, 05:41 PM   #7
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Shifty, thanks so much for the advice! Yes, I would love a route from Eugene to Oakridge. The Aufderheide+McKenzie ride sounds wonderful. Would you recommend skipping the ride to Oakridge altogether (instead taking the bus from Eugene)? Unfortunately, my trip is time bound so I can't do it in early June.

mtnbud, I have a pretty heavy bike and gear and am looking for a leisurely vacation, so I wouldn't want to do more than about 40 miles a day. I guess this means I'll probably have to choose between the Eugene-Oakridge ride and the McKenzie ride, because I won't be able to do both.
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Old 05-24-12, 07:41 PM   #8
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I really think that the bike ride up to Oakridge from Eugene will be OK, the tunnel construction should keep most of the trucks on I-5 and car traffic light. If you do decide to bus it to Oakridge here is the website for Diamond Express bus service. The site has schedules and info. If you take the bus it's best to ride in the morning with bikes.
http://www.ltd.org/diamondex/

I'll post the map soon.
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Old 05-24-12, 08:53 PM   #9
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Both the Aufderheide and McKenzie Pass have fairly substantial climbs. Both are worth the effort.

If I was to have to choose between the two, I'd choose the Aufderheide. Tough call though - the view of the lava fields and snow covered mountains from Dee Wright Observatory on McKenzie Pass is a must see. The town of Sisters East of the pass is very cute also.

Just east of McKenzie Bridge, Belknap hot springs has showers. Their tent sites are way too expensive for me, but you could pay $7 for a soak in the pools and a hot shower. There are other non-developed hot springs in the area - Shifty mentioned Terwilliger on FR 19. Deer Creek HS is off of Hwy 126 and McCredie HS is off of Hwy 58.

If you're really short on time, there's also bus that runs to Eugene on the other end of the Aufderheide as far McKenzie Bridge.
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Old 05-25-12, 01:59 PM   #10
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I think what I might do is take the Bus #91 from Eugene to McKenzie Bridge, ride back and forth on Rt 242 (McKenzie Hwy) for a bit, then eventually take the Aufderheide south to Oakridge and ride back from Oakridge to Eugene. Does that seem a good plan? Thanks, both of you, for the awesome advice!
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Old 05-25-12, 02:50 PM   #11
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Yep, sounds like a good plan to me. Have a great time in our area, let us know how the trip was. If you want to have coffee or do other fine rides in the Eugene area, just let me know.
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Old 05-25-12, 03:29 PM   #12
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Thanks! If you do have time to make out a Eugene-Oakridge route, I'd appreciate it very much!
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Old 05-26-12, 03:10 PM   #13
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Thanks! If you do have time to make out a Eugene-Oakridge route, I'd appreciate it very much!
Actually, the map that you posted originally is pretty much what I would map with a few changes, but overall with the lower traffic on 58 your map is just fine.

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Old 06-01-12, 09:18 PM   #14
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I rode McKenzie Pass (rt 242) on Wednesday and Aufderheide Road today, both are in great condition. The mountain views as you approach the McKenzie Pass are gorgeous right now, pure white peaks, glaciers, volcanoes, lava flows and about 4 to five feet of snow on the road sides in the upper portions of the road. Aufderheide is just as nice, some Dogwood trees are still in bloom, wild flowers every where, and quite a few wild Rhododendrons blooming with huge pink clusters of flowers. In the 65 miles I rode on Aufderheide today I probably saw a dozen cars, kind of ridiculous.

Here is the link to the route from Oakridge to Eugene that I suggest. I started the route on Aufderheide so you can see the best route from Westfir into Oakridge. It's similar to the route you posted, but gets you off 58 sooner and off on to roads with less traffic. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5491831

When you are in Springfield you'll follow "E" street, then jog onto "D" street. When you get onto D street look on the left for a green "Bike Route" sign and get onto this bike path. On the path there is a left fork, go left here then follow the signs pointing to Eugene.
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Old 06-26-12, 05:01 PM   #15
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Greetings all, I am hoping to ride a similar loop out of Bend next week and looking for advice.

Route proposal: Bend to Sisters, McKenzie Pass, Aufderheide, Oakridge, road that parallels the middle fork of Willamette, Cascade Lakes highway, Bend.

I was looking at heading south from Oakridge on the road that parallels the Middle Fork of the Willamette, over Emigrant Pass to Summit Lake/Crescent lake and out to Highway 58. Has anyone ridden this road? I know it has dirt/gravel sections (9 miles?). Can I ride it on 35 mm Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires?

I will then hit the Cascade Lakes Highway back to Bend.

Any issues with this loop for next week beside holiday traffic? I would like to avoid riding hwy 58 and ride the loop south if possible.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 06-29-12, 01:07 PM   #16
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Route proposal: Bend to Sisters, McKenzie Pass, Aufderheide, Oakridge, road that parallels the middle fork of Willamette, Cascade Lakes highway, Bend.

[B]I was looking at heading south from Oakridge on the road that parallels the Middle Fork of the Willamette, over Emigrant Pass to Summit Lake/Crescent lake and out to Highway 58. Has anyone ridden this road? I know it has dirt/gravel sections (9 miles?). Can I ride it on 35 mm Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires?

Any issues with this loop for next week beside holiday traffic? I would like to avoid riding hwy 58 and ride the loop south if possible.

Thanks for any advice.
I can't help you there Tom. I think you're proposing something that not many people have tried. I have ridden Windigo Pass off Crescent Lake to Lemolo Lake. I rode it on my Miyata Alumicross with Avocet Cross 700x38 tires. The year I rode it, the beginning of the road was very sandy and there was a lot of washboard along the route. My bike held up fine, but the route wasn't that enjoyable. To top it off there were loads of mosquitoes and my buddy toasted his rim riding on 28 width tires.

My personal opinion would be your bike would hold up just fine. I had ridden many other gravel roads on my old Miyata and it did fine with 38 - 42 width tires. I would typically have to true the rims by the end of the trip. 9 miles of gravel isn't that much - it could be an epic route!

I've always wanted to see Summit Lake. Please post a trip report - I'd love to hear about the trip and see some pics of the route!


(I have ridden from Hills Creek Reservoir to Dorena Lake, but that route is all paved - it's a fantastic route by the way.)
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