Pictures are worth a thousand words and if you are thinking of doing this ride just take a peak at our photos. This entire ride is on a winding, dirt road that CLINGS to the river. It’s a simple out and back … with the end of the road, at Macks Canyon, offering up some of the most spectacular views. Macks Canyon is an archaeological site which was home to the Sahaptin speaking people of the Columbia Plateau who occupied the area as early as 5,000 BC.
The route is rideable most of the year. However, we really, really like this route in the spring time (as early as April 1). And, if you can, ride it in the late afternoon / early evening such that on the return portion of the trip, the sun is just beginning to set. The lighting over the river at this time makes for a very special ride. If you decide to try this during the summer, you could end up sharing the road with the crowd that comes to Maupin to worship the water.
At the end intersection of Sherar’s Bridge highway and the BLM access road, north of Maupin by ~ 10 miles. Park on the shoulder of the road.
Lat / Long: 45.264235, -121.022311
A big thanks to the Imperial River Co for sharing this route with us!
There’s constant entertainment with the river as well: rafters floating down the river, fishermen competing against water birds to catch fish, and campers dispersed among random campsites. Oh yes, and fat wild turkeys that get rather confused on take off (we are still thankful they didn’t take out a bike!)
At the end of the road, there’s a small hiking trail that will allow you to continue your journey along the river and make your way to the Columbia River. If you continue past our route, be forewarned, there is an ~ 4 mile section of single track with some hike-a-bike. Our Mother of the Mountain guys have investigated this section of trail and written a bit about it. A proposed route using this connector is detailed here.
The route is relatively flat with a few 100 foot climbs that are just long enough to make you winded. What slows you down is pausing or stopping to take photos because there are a million “Kodak” moments.
For a longer option, start at Maupin City park and ride to the published start via the Deschutes River road on the east side of the river. This will add 20 miles and 300 feet of gain total. So, the whole route out and back will be 54 miles and 1250 feet. This section is a paved, narrow winding road, with little traffic, that is very scenic. It is included in the White River loop. An alternative spot to park is at Imperial River Company (a great place to grab a burger and brew afterwards), a few hundred yards to the west. Please go inside and touch base before doing so.
Have you ridden this route? Got a question? Join the discussion!