5 Star Route

Waterdog is one tough puppy. The bike math should be a good indication: 32 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. But the route has a few extra challenges tossed in: a few landslide areas and a few pitchy roads (we got a quick glimpse of 22%.)

Now, if that doesn’t scare you off, the route is a wonderful mix of deep forest riding and ridge climbing with big open views. Add in meadows, Water Dog Lake, and a small waterfall, and you have a full-on fun adventure.

Now let’s repeat the word adventure! Don’t get sucked into thinking 32 miles is hardly worth the effort. You earn every mile. But wow, this whole area is just a gobsmacker! And we saw nobody, not even a car parked, all day. Not a one.

We also would vote this route as our most likely to spot a bear. We recommend belting out your favorite songs when you start seeing the bear poop.

Adventure / Gravel Route

Lollipop: 34 miles / 5000 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 85% gravel, 15% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ 1 hour, 10 minutes southeast of Eugene, Oregon
– Published: August 2020

Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]

Advanced. Due to: (a) short pitches, up and down, in excess of 10%, (b) the landslide traverse, (c) very limited cell phone reception, (d) and the remote locale of the ride [we saw no one on a Saturday in August].

When we like to ride this …

On a sunny day, from mid-summer to mid-fall. This is not a ride to do on a cloudy or foggy day; you give away all the big, spectacular views.

The Start

A paved pull out on the right hand side of Hills Creek road just before the intersection with NF 2308.
Lat / Long: 43.640566, -122.306894

Food / Water


Go Local

If your looking to make more than a day of it in the Oakridge area consider the Westfir Lodge and Mountain Market, Caseys Riverside RV park or Oakridge Escapes.

Note that the “downtown” of Oakridge is not along the highway. It is just north of the highway by several blocks. There is pub and a bistro in town.

And if you’re looking for a bike shop, consider Oregon Bike Shop and Willamette Mountain Mercantile.

Ride Details

**Click to Read More


Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX file / TCX file


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

Gravel Girl / Team Dirty Freehub

She loves a good day of gravel, like most people like a good book. She’s always amused by the outdoors and the wild adventures. Gravel Girl is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Captain O / Team Dirty Freehub

He should have “Never Stop Exploring” tattooed on his chest! He loves adventures on bikes and is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

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