The Route Details

The Route Details

Six days of cycling from 206 miles to 292 total miles and 7100 feet to 17,100 feet total elevation gain depending on route options.

Day 1 – Estacada to Breitenbush

Option 1: 35 miles and 2500 feet elevation gain
Option 2: 60 miles, 4000 feet elevation gain
🚐 On the first day of the trip we will meet at 7:30 AM in Southeast Portland to load our gear and bikes in the van and leave for Estacada at 8:00 AM where we will start our cycling adventure.
🚴 The Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway follows the winding Clackamas and Breitenbush rivers in a 60-mile route between Estacada and Breitenbush. All along this route, water and rock interact to create a place of dramatic beauty and inspiration. Cyclists may experience glimpses of elk or a fluttering grouse or rest along the route to a symphony of forest songbirds.

The bikeway parallels the Clackamas and Brietenbush Rivers along rocky riffles, quiet pools and reservoirs. Those who seek a challenge will start in Estacada to experience the full 60-mile route of forested splendor that starts with a cruise past historic Faraday Dam before embarking on a long 3,125-foot climb cresting at 3,583 feet followed by an exhilarating 1,985-foot descent into Breitenbush. Those who want a shorter ride will start at Ripplebrook and ride 35 miles with 2500 feet of elevation gain to Breitenbush.

We will spend the night Breitenbush.
🏤 Breitenbush has natural hot spring pools and hot tubs and provides organic vegetarian food. Lodging will be in single or double occupancy cabins.

Click here for a detailed route description, maps, route profile, a video and pictures


Day 2 – Marion Forks to Sweet Home

Option 1: 41 miles, 1000 feet of elevation gain
Option 2: 52 miles, 2800 feet of elevation gain
🚐 We will drive through Detroit seventeen miles up Highway 22 to the Quartzville Scenic Byway where the ride begins.
🚴 The first 10 miles of this scenic byway climbs from 2600 feet to over 4000 feet before the 41-mile descent starts. Cyclists will enjoy a delightful visual surprise of towering trees, rich vegetation and wildflowers as well as panoramic views of the Cascade Mountain Range; including Mount Jefferson.

Traveling through the Quartzville Back Country Byway provides a great opportunity to ride through forests established to provide habitat to plant and animals which are dependent on old-growth forest characteristics to flourish.  Old-growth stands are undergoing constant change and contain all or most of the species of wildlife, fish and plants that are native to them. Natural events such as fire or windstorms can alter these forests, but they recover quickly.  The wooded areas under and surrounding old grow timber stands are a jungle of vine maple, yew, rhododendrons, huckleberries and young trees. Such diversity is one of the reasons biologists’ value old growth.

The ride descends along the winding flow of alternately calm and rushing waters of Quartzville Creek skirting the emerald green depths of Green Peter Reservoir and ends at the west end of Foster Lake in Sweet Home.

With an abundance of wildflowers; summertime allows visitors to enjoy a variety of summer activities in the shade of towering evergreens and winter is a snow-lovers playground.    The National Wild and Scenic River System is a 9.6 mile portion of Quartzville Creek along a one-lane paved roadway that is recognized for the outstanding scenic riding, white water rafting and recreational mining opportunities.  Named for the quartz rock formations found along with the gold in the mines, Quartzville Recreational Corridor is a popular area for panning for gold. Rock hounding is also a popular pastime for recreational miners along the route.
🚐 Lodging and dining is limited in Sweet Home so we will drive for an hour in the van to Westfir where the ride starts for Day 3. We will have a locally catered dinner at the Westfir lodge with a bountiful breakfast in the morning
🏤 We will stay at the delightful and historic Westfir Lodge which is located at the start of the Aufderheide Scenic Bikeway.

Day 3 – Westfir to Rainbow

Option 1: 25 miles, 800 feet of elevation gain
Option 2: 60 miles, 3500 feet of elevation gain
🚴 After a hearty breakfast, day three will take us on the Aufderheide Memorial National Scenic Byway. This spectacular ride begins at the Westfir Office Bridge, the longest covered Bridge in the state and the only one with a covered walkway. Westfir is home to approximately 300 friendly folks situated on the north fork of the Willamette River, a wild and scenic river. This is a jump off spot for backpackers, hikers, skiers, kayakers, fishermen picnickers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Named after Robert Aufderheide, a dedicated National Forest supervisor, the ride travels along the tributary of the middle Fork of the Willamette River. Nine national Forest Campgrounds dot the drive as well as hiking and horse trails. The forest here is home to a variety of animals and is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Keep an eye out for Constitution Grove. The shady grove of towering fir trees commemorates the 200th anniversary of the signing of our country’s constitution with plaques bearing the names of our founding fathers. Take a moment to dismount and walk the short footpath to the trees that reach over 180 feet high.

Lunch is at Box Canyon.  After lunch it’s a downhill glide past sparkling cascades and colorful wildflowers. Cougar Reservoir, at an elevation of 1690 feet, was completed in 1963 and is the highest rock-filled dam in Oregon. When full, the reservoir stretches for 6 miles, covers 1230 acres and hosts numerous water related recreational activities such waterskiing, sailboating, fishing and swimming. As we pass the reservoir, we’re just a few miles away from Rainbow where will meet the van and then travel to Belknap Hot Springs.
🚐 🚴 From Rainbow, we drive to Belknap Hot Springs Resort along the McKenzie River. Those that want a longer ride can continue from Rainbow 10 miles to Belknap.
🏤 We will have dinner and spend the night at Belknap Hot Springs Resort where we can relax and soak in the warm mineral water.

Click here for a detailed route description, maps, route profile, a video and pictures

Day 4 – Belknap to Sisters – 38 miles, 4000 feet elevation gain

🚴 We start our ride at Belknap and ride to Sisters on the McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway. The route is a steady and sometimes steep and is one of the most scenic roads in Oregon. McKenzie Pass is without a doubt the most spectacular ride in Central Oregon, showcasing forests on both the east and west sides of the Cascades (they’re different) as well as a lava-rock moonscape at the top that’s unlike anything you’ll probably ever see on a bike ride again.

McKenzie Pass is a well-known secret among the riding community. The unique setting and overall beauty make the climb worth it. It’s a long climb with switchbacks through deep forest before you emerge into stark and barren lava fields left by three separate volcanic eruptions. It looks like the moon, but with snow-capped mountains and rocky buttes looming on the horizon. At the top of the pass is a small “observatory” built out of lava rock; it gives spectacular views of 360 degrees of peaks, with special windows built to frame the peaks. It’s worth the stop. Then there is the refreshing descent to Sisters.
🏤 The ride ends in scenic Sisters where we will stay in luxury cabins at the Five Pines Resort and have a fabulous catered dinner at a local ranch.

Click here for a detailed route description, maps, route profile, a video and pictures

Day 5 – Sisters to Smith Rock

Option 1: 37 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain
Option 2: 52 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain
🚴 The Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway provides riders with one of the most scenic and rewarding rides in Central Oregon. Starting in the “Old West” town of Sisters and ending at Smith Rock State Park outside the small town of Terrebonne, this route takes riders past a variety of historical sites, shows the gentle curves of the Deschutes River and frames spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains, ending with the dramatic walls of Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock, with the Crooked River winding at its base, is the result of eroded volcanoes that left multicolored formations that tower above the valley floor. It’s a great place to watch rock-climbers from all over the world tackle the park’s thousands of ascent routes.

This route features varied, rolling terrain, although it’s generally downhill from Sisters. Overall, riders will climb 711 feet and descend 1,074 feet, including a stretch of almost 6 miles that features an uninterrupted downhill slope. At Smith Rock State Park, we will have lunch, where you can also do some hiking or exploring.
🚴 🚐 After Lunch there is the option to bike 15 miles to Eagle Crest Resort or ride in the van.
🏤 We will be having dinner and staying at the Eagle Crest Lodge along the Deschutes River.

Click here for a detailed route description, maps, route profile, a video and pictures

Day 6 – Madras scenic loop – 30 miles, 1300 feet of elevation gain

🚐 From Eagle Crest, we will drive to Madras where we will start the ride.
🚴 The Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway is a peaceful 30-mile loop through Central Oregon. It offers amazing views of Oregon’s volcanoes and agricultural and pastoral scenery.

The Bikeway passes through a sage and juniper ecosystem, showcasing basalt palisades above the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers and the farms and ranches of Jefferson County. It takes riders through an important agricultural area of the state, where grass seed, onion seed, carrot seed, garlic, potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, lavender and mint are grown.

But best of all are the magnificent views for which the Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway is named. Riders enjoy views of all seven major volcanic peaks in Oregon: Mount Jefferson, the county namesake; the Three Sisters mountains, Faith, Hope and Charity; Mount Hood; Broken Top; and Three-Fingered Jack; as well as several buttes. Riders cruise on a smooth, paved road with several gravel overlooks above The Cove Palisades State Park and Lake Billy Chinook. These overlooks are great places to see eagles, raptors, deer and even snakes or lizards.

On this route, riders will pass through Culver, Metolius and Madras in Central Oregon. We will start and finish in downtown Madras, the seat of Jefferson County, with a population of 6,250. Riding 1 mile gets cyclists out of downtown into beautiful agricultural country. If you are looking for an additional challenge, you can add an extra mile up to the top of Round Butte or down to Lake Billy Chinook in The Cove Palisades State Park.
🚐 After the morning ride we will have lunch in Madras and drive the 120 miles back to Portland. In Portland, we hope you will join the group for a celebratory dinner reliving our epic cycling adventure before heading home.

Click here for a detailed route description, maps, route profile, a video and pictures