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8-Day Oregon Tour

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8-Day Oregon Tour

Old 04-10-12, 12:51 PM
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8-Day Oregon Tour

Hi All! I live in Portland and my boyfriend and I are going to be able to escape for eight days at the end of August to play on our bikes! Last year I toured down the coast to San Francisco and he rode through Wisconsin. This year we want to ride together.

We haven't explored much of central Oregon, and we were thinking of doing a loop: PDX to Hood River to HWY 97 to Bend to HWY 20 and 22 to Detroit to Brietenbush to Estacada and back home! However, since I'm unfamiliar with this territory, I wanted to get some suggestions on routes - I know this is going to be a ton of climbing, and I've heard HWY 97 can be busy...is this too crazy? Is there a better way?

Thanks!
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Old 04-10-12, 01:42 PM
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When traveling in the central and east parts of Oregon and Washington, water is a important concern. Some stretches are quite long between any services.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:27 PM
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That could be a great ride. I did a variation of the route you outlined. I made a partial loop starting in Trout Lake, WA (just north of Hood River), and ending in Portland. However, I have ridden the section between PDX and Hood River many times, both on the Oregon and Washington sides of rhe river.

You did not say whether you were going to camp, utilize motels, or a combination.

I'd also think about how you are going to get from PDX to Hood River. Part of the route could be on the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway, but that may require riding on Interstate 84 for a ways. I would still cross over to the Washington side at Cascade Locks. I've ridden on 84 a lot when I lived in WA and would ride into Portland to see family. It is noisy, but safe. The other alternative is to take Highway 14 on the WA side of the river.

If you are actually going from Hood River to Government Camp, then to Madras; camping should not be a problem. There is the Mt. Hood National Forest, and I think there is camping on the Warm Springs Reservation. There is also Highway 197 that goes from The Dalles to Maupin. That is the route I used and while not especially scenic, it is beautiful in its own way. It drops you down into the Deschutes River. I'm not sure about camping. I stayed at the old Maupin Hotel which I think is no longer there.

If you are planning to go west of Hood River to Biggs Junction (Hwy 97) then head south toward Madras, amenities are a little further apart.

Once you reach Madras, going from there to Bend is straight forward.

Riding on Highway 97 is no worse than what you experienced on your coast trip. Probably a lot less traffic.


Heading west toward Detroit from Bend on Highway 20/22 there are camping and motels at Sisters. You will also be traveling through the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests with campgrounds and dispersed camping almost anywhere.

The part of your proposed route that I don't have any firsthand knowledge is the section from Detroit to Estacada.

You are right, there is a lot of climbing, and winds can be fierce in the Gorge. I could ride the 103 miles from my house to Portland in a little over 5 hours when there was an east wind! It made me feel like a real biker. That is what makes Hood River a mecca for wind surfers.



Enjoy your ride. It is hard to go wrong in Oregon!

Last edited by Doug64; 04-10-12 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 04-10-12, 11:57 PM
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My husband used to drive a truck between Sisters and Salem on hwy20/22. He is also a very experienced cyclist with many hundreds of thousands of miles in the saddle. When he saw that you were going to ride those roads, he frowned. The scenery is beautiful, but the motorists are some of the least civilized that OR has on offer. Choose your times of day with care; there are commuters along that stretch. If there is oncoming traffic at the same time as you are being overtaken, the overtaking motorist is going to be very reluctant to use their brake and will likely try to squeeze by. Much of the road from Santiam junction to the Detroit Ranger Station has little to no shoulder.

Oh well, the bad stuff isn't that many miles. Have a blast. With a bit of luck gasoline prices will rise and the traffic will be so light you'll be in cycling heaven.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TheHen
My husband used to drive a truck between Sisters and Salem on hwy20/22. He is also a very experienced cyclist with many hundreds of thousands of miles in the saddle. When he saw that you were going to ride those roads, he frowned.
+1. During "07 Cycle Oregon, we took a charter bus from Portland to Sisters for the start of the ride the morning of the first Saturday in September. U.S. 20 was gorgeous, but I remember thinking that I would not like to ride it with as much traffic as there was because there did not look like much room in most places.

If you don't mind driving to the start, the '07 CO route was pretty damn amazing. Sisters to La Pine via Bend. La Pine to Diamond Lake. A "rest day" to climb up to and ride around Crater Lake. Diamond Lake to Dorena Lake near Cottage Grove, where the homecoming parade sequence of "Animal House" was filmed. Dorena Lake to Oakridge via a U.S.F.S. road that had just been paved. Oakridge to Rainbow via the Aufderheide Scenic Byway. Rainbow back to Sisters via McKenzie Pass. Lots of climbing after the first two days and lots of great descents, including a nearly 40 mile drop from Diamond Lake.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TheHen
My husband used to drive a truck between Sisters and Salem on hwy20/22. He is also a very experienced cyclist with many hundreds of thousands of miles in the saddle. When he saw that you were going to ride those roads, he frowned.
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+1. During "07 Cycle Oregon, we took a charter bus from Portland to Sisters for the start of the ride the morning of the first Saturday in September. U.S. 20 was gorgeous, but I remember thinking that I would not like to ride it with as much traffic as there was because there did not look like much room in most places.
I'm not sure why a bus from Portland would take the section of Highway 20 from Albany to Sisters. It would be 25 miles out of the way, and a lot slower. I suspect they turned off the Interstates on highway 22 at Salem. and tied into the junction mentioned below.

The road from The Junction (Santiam Junction) of highway 126/20 and 22 to Sisters looks like this. We were heading east toward Sisters. That is Hoodoo Ski area in the distance, the top of Santiam Pass. Also, after riding on Intestate 84 or Highway 14 in the Gorge, this will seem relatively peaceful. I have ridden this road several times. I've also driven over this section of road from Sisters to the Willamette Valley almost every weekend for 12 years (commuting to work). There are much worse sections of road on the Pacific Coast Route and hundreds, if not thousands of cyclists ride it safely every year.



Highway 20 heading west from the Junction mentioned above. This is about as narrow as it gets, except in a few spots. Not a lot of big truck traffic on this section because of length restrictions. It always looks worse when you are driving it! This section is not on your proposed route.



indyfabz's post about the 2007 Cycle Oregon route being a great route is right on. It also eliminates riding in the Columbia Gorge, which may not be much fun.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-11-12 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 04-11-12, 10:13 PM
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Did you want to start from Portland? There's lots of options. If you're set on starting from Portland, that'll narrow the choices down some. Also, how many miles do you prefer to ride a day and do you plan on camping or staying in hotels?

I've ridden from Salem to Sisters on Hwy 20/22 numerous times. Hwy 22 from about Mill City to around Marion Forks is a bit narrow and can have lots of traffic. I've never had a problem. It's better from just past Marion Forks East. It shouldn't be too much of an issue if you don't hit it on a weekend.

Hwy 97 between I84 and Redmond is hot and dull (IMO) with semi-truck traffic. If I were you, I'd investigate ways to avoid 97. One way would be to head over Mt. Hood at Parkdale and then head over to Warm Springs. Another way would be to go east of 97 and then head south. You can also ride from Hood River to Britenbush to Detroit on pavement by heading towards Timothy Lake and then cutting down to the Clackamas Hwy.

Neat scenery near Bend includes Smith Rocks outside of Madras, Century Drive, and the McKenzie Hwy out of Sisters. If I was planning a trip through Central Oregon, I'd especially try to include Century Drive and the McKenzie Hwy.

This route would include a loop by the Smith Rocks and a remote route to the base of Prineville Reservoir then back to Bend along with including the McKenzie Hwy at an average of 60 miles a day. Adding a loop of Century Drive would add 120 miles or so to the total mileage. (About 75 miles a day)

Last edited by mtnbud; 04-11-12 at 11:36 PM.
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