Roll up and over the Baldwin hills, through some of Oregon’s wild country and past several historic farms. Then a long, gradual descent back with outstanding views of the Cascade mountains.
Too many times, we have buzzed through Madras without realizing that this place is awesome for gravel riding! This route is just one awesome example of what Madras has to offer. BIG, BIG views of Mt Jefferson and the Three Sisters floating in the sky, rolling hills, gurgling creeks, and sprawling ranches. All while you buzz along hard packed, fast gravel roads. And a surprising finish that includes a 27 foot sculpture of a bear. Lovely!
In the spring when the creeks flow full and the flowers are in bloom. (Truly our favorite time.) Or on a cool, sunny fall day when the trees are changing colors. Or, on a winter day, when the ground is frozen (yes, frozen, not just cold). It is best to avoid this route when wet or muddy because the mud can really stick to your bike. Trust us, we have pushed, walked and carried our bikes through ankle-sucking mud for at least a mile … which felt like an eternity.
Juniper Hills park. Flush toilets.
Lat / Long: 44.636905, -121.098330
Aside from being able to “poke” the bear statue, this ride has impressive scenic views with 7 peaks in total. There are some punchy hills and a gradual climb that starts after mile 10.
The road becomes a bit more primitive and can be muddy. We recommended not pursuing forward if it is muddy!
The route starts on the northeastern edge of Madras, climbing for the first 1.25 miles on pavement, then dipping down just as far. Pick up the gravel and roll up and down through the Baldwin Hills for the next 5 miles, gaining a net of 650 feet.
Catch the sweeping left banking descent that leads down to Hay Creek Ranch. Pass by the pastures that lead with the Great Pyrenees dogs carefully guarding the herds of sheep. (Hay Creek Ranch was established in 1873 and was a stopping point for the the Dalles Prineville freight and stage coach lines until 1912.)
After the ranch you begin a long gradual climb for the next 8.5 miles. You will pass by the Brewer Reservoir on your left which is known spot for birders and fly fisherman. Just after this, the road becomes a bit more primitive. If it is muddy, turn around! It will not get better, only worse. Trust us!
At ~ mile 31 is back to pavement. Stop to “poke” the impressive bear sculpture and begin the last mile back to the start / finish. It has a short, pitched climb. No whining, you just had a great day!
When the road becomes more primitive around mile 10.1 and is muddy – turn around! It will get much worse. We can’t emphasize this enough!
We recommend a red blinky light with rear looking radar detector (i.e. Garmin Varia)