This route is a complete accident! We’ve driven by this area for years, glancing from a speeding car, in a hurry, not thinking much about it. But we needed to give it a ride as we were working a different route in the area, looking for some intel on the western flank of Gray Butte. But … “oh my” … were we surprised. This route has some of the best, if not the best, views of the Cascades in Central Oregon.
The start is from the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic viewpoint where the Crooked river railroad bridge and the Crooked River (High) bridge cross the deep gorge of the Crooked river. Take the time to wander, look, and read up on the history of the area at the kiosks.
The Crooked River (High) bridge is 464 feet long, and at 295 feet above the river it was the nations single highest arch span when constructed. Oregon’s famous bridge engineer, Conde B. MCCullough, designed the bridge to blend gracefully with the regions rugged landscape — harmonizing with the Oregon Trunk Line Railway bridge (1910) downstream. [from on-site kiosks]
On a sunny day when the Cascade mountains are snow capped. The route is rideable almost anytime of the year. Avoid when wet.
Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint. Pit toilets.
Lat / Long: 44.3902950, -121.192104
The trickiest part about this route, is the start. From the parking lot, make your way towards the Crooked River (High) bridge. Cross it and then follow the paved path to Highway 97. Cross the highway, and then proceed north along the highway for 20 to 40 yards. To your right you will see the old highway, or as it is called today the Culver highway. This is the road you want. Look for the concrete barriers and barb wire fence. Just to the right of the barriers is an opening in the fence that you want to take.
The route is a fun mixture of gravel roads, dirt BLM roads, pavement, juniper trees and farmlands, rolling hills, flats and a few popper hills. And some of the best views of the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. The dirt BLM roads will be the most challenging, some chunk and a bit rutted.
Have you ridden this route? Got a question? Join the discussion!