Someone sure had a tantrum. A few giants we think. They picked up huge boulders and tossed them all along this route. Well, that’s our theory; we are sure you will come up with your own.
Besides the boulders, this route is classic Ochocos. We loved the evolving forest which dished our everything from aspen, ponderosa, and junipers. We saw bright green wolf moss and black Wila moss. The beginning and end hug lush wetlands with large green pastures used to feed cattle. And let’s not forget the lake, a nice reward after you polished off most of your climbing.
Mid spring through early summer when the wetlands are full of water and the flowers are in bloom.
Along the shoulder of Silver Creek road, where the road turns from paved to gravel. This is a 4 way intersection, all the other roads are gravel. No services.
Lat / Long: 43.700992, -119.628226
The route starts at the intersection of 3 gravel roads and one paved road, the road you most likely drove in on, Silver Creek road. Take the gravel road that heads west and quickly turns north, following Silver creek. In the spring the area is lush green and yellow and birds abound.
At mile 3 the route picks up and follows Sawmill creek northwest for the next 10 miles. At mile 7.5 make sure to stay left along the creek. This is NF 4540. (Some maps have this mislabeled as NF 45. )Silver creek continues north and you will recross it again at mile 19.
The upper regions of the Silver Creek watershed are forested; the most common plant species are coniferous, including Ponderosa Pine, White Fir, Douglas-fir, and Western Juniper. The lower regions are primarily desert rangelands. [Wikipedia]
At mile 14.8, NF 4540 and NF 45 meet again. You will have climbed ~ 1000 feet and sit atop Corral Ridge. The route gently rolls for the next 3 mile until dropping abruptly down to cross Silver Creek (again!). As you begin to climb out, there will be boulders strewn about. This is the beginning of the “Giants Tossing Stones” section. We have never seen anything like this in Oregon before!
Just before mile 23, make a right turn onto a single lane paved road, this is NF 41. This is your road for the next 21 miles, rolling up and down with a net gain / loss of 0 feet, but you will have climbed in total 1400 feet. You will pass by Delintment lake and through Ponderosa and Western Juniper forests.
The lake originated as a series of beaver ponds along Delintment Creek, a tributary of Silver Creek. In 1940, the United States Forest Service combined and enlarged the ponds, and in 1953 local interest groups made further changes to improve conditions for fishing and other recreation. The dam that impounds the lake is 270 feet (82 m) long and 20 feet (6.1 m) high. [Wikipedia]
At mile 44 the route turns right and back onto gravel. It is forested with a scattering of boulders and follows along Egypt creek. In about 4 miles, you enter a short, but spectacular canyon. Egypt Canyon. This will quickly give way to rolling open plains where you will most likely find cattle grazing. This section of road can be rough and gnarly. But soon, there will be wetlands to your right and then your car / truck.
When we rode this (May 2020), both gravel sectors had moderate to severe washboard in areas. We reduced our tire pressures to less than 20 psi and at the paved sector we re-inflated out tires (greater than 35 psi). Note, we run a tubeless set up with CushCore inserts.
If you are looking for a longer route, you can construct several routes of varying lengths by picking elements of this ride along with Pink Lady and Egypt Canyon. For a composite overview, see this map.