“We’ve got whiskey in our water and gold in our streets … there could be no better place to live.” 1980 Haines Mayor Dick Camp.
The town of Haines gained notoriety in on March 10, 1980 in a press article where Mayor Dick Camp made this statement. The endorsement referred to the Rock Creek whiskey still that was allegedly hooked to the city’s water supply, causing a clash with the Environmental Protection Agency, and to a small amount of gold that was found during road construction. The water was rumored to have “a slight bourbon taste.”
This route runs across rich, flat farmland on a mix of gravel and paved roads and past two historic cemeteries. Distant snow-capped mountains will frame your photos perfectly. This ride is perfect for those getting into gravel; it is a good mix of gravel and paved roads.
We have documented three versions of this route: the 60, the 40, and the 20. The 60 has a “road ride” feel at only 25% gravel, while the 40 and 20 are much more of a mixed ride with 40% and 50% gravel, respectively.
This route “goes” most of the year, except the deep winter months. It is particularly beautiful in the spring when the creeks are full, and the fields are green. But … we would give this a go almost anytime from early spring to late fall.
Historic park at the intersection of Front and 4th Streets in Haines. Car parking available. Flush toilets.
Lat / Long: 44.911247, -117.938137
The Powder River Valley offers a mix of quiet paved roads and gravel farm roads with stunning views of the Wallowa and Elkhorn mountains. The terrain is mostly flat with light traffic, making it a peaceful and enjoyable experience. Along the route, you will see majestic hay fields, historic buildings, cows, horses and cowboys, which will give you an authentic taste of the rural countryside.
The construction of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Line spurred the town’s growth. By the late nineteenth century, Haines was a major exporter of agricultural goods, shipping as many as 104 railroad carloads of cattle and hogs to Portland every week. Remnants of the thriving days in Haines are scattered throughout the town. The railroad depot is now a museum, and the Chandler Cabin, built in 1861, serves as a roadside historical marker. [Oregon Encyclopedia]
This is an Oregon Historic Cemetery. The cemetery officially originated in 1878 in response to a diphtheria epidemic. Many of the graves are unmarked due to age and range fires. There is a small gate left of the kiosk sign that allows entry to the cemetery. It is well worth a moment of your time and a short walk.
The Kerns Rainbow Ranch and Farm is a regenerative ranch — “naturally raising beef and other farm products while being ecologically stable“. Tim Kerns, one of the owners, provided us with an impromptu 45-minute tour of the potato harvest operations. A highlight of the ride. Give a wave as you go by!
This is an Oregon Historic Cemetery. There is very little left of the once bustling township of Rock Creek. Legend has it that in 1917 the exit of Lake Killimacue was dammed to allow for additional irrigation storage. A huge gust of wind blew, resulting in the dam being breached. A wave of water tore down Killimacue Canyon and demolished at least six businesses as well as homes, barns and livestock. The town was not rebuilt due to the automobile, change of industry and the extent of the destruction. The cemetery at Rock Creek features unique stones and locally mined granite fence posts. You will need to go a few hundred feet west of the route.[Oregon Geneology]
We recommend a red blinky light with rear looking radar detector like a Garmin Varia.
If you’ve got more gas in your legs and looking for longer routes to explore in this area, consider these two options: the Whiskey & Gold 60 and the Whiskey & Gold 40.
Have you ridden this route? Got a question? Join the discussion!