Summer Road Biking in the Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge has the perfect ingredients for summertime road biking: lots of sunshine, little traffic and miles of scenic byways. If you’ve enjoyed classic rides like the Mosier Twin Tunnels and Hood River County Fruit Loop, take a spin on these rides in Hood River, Dee and The Dalles for views of orchards, forests and rolling farmland.
Eastside Road, Hood River (13 miles, moderate)
Eastside Road offers tremendous views of Mt. Hood and the Hood River Valley orchard lands (with less traffic than the adjacent Hood River County Fruit Loop). Take State Street east from downtown Hood River, cross Highway 35 by the China Gorge restaurant and head up the hill toward the Mark O. Hatfield trailhead. When the road splits, take Highline Road on the right. This very steep section lasts less than half a mile, so breath deep and stand up in those pedals! Highline merges with Eastside Road and brings you to an enjoyable section of rolling, two-lane backroad. This southbound ride offers lots of short diversions like Panorama Point, The Pinegrove School House and Rasmussen Farms (just past Eastside Road on Thomsen Road). Return the way you came.
Lost Lake, Dee (29 miles, difficult)
For a challenging climb up into the wooded hills just south of Hood River, head to Lost Lake in the foothills of Mt. Hood. From downtown Hood River, drive 12.3 miles to the site of the former town of Dee (or ride your bike if you want to add on 25 miles, you hero.) Head south on Lost Lake Road and follow its twists and turns up into the woods. Along the way you’ll see the West Fork of the Hood River and lots of altitude gain. Stop at the lake to soak your feet and enjoy a well-earned snack. Return the way you came.
Petersburg School Loop, The Dalles (28 miles, moderate)
The rolling wheatfields, basalt mesas and towering cottonwood trees of the eastern Gorge offer a completely different view of the land. Stop in The Dalles, just 20 miles from Hood River, for lunch at Petite Provence. (The Historic Sunshine Mill is a great option for a post-ride glass of wine and a snack.) Drive south out of The Dalles on U.S. 197 south for about 0.6 miles. Go left on Columbia View Drive, which turns into Fifteen Mile Road. Park at the old schoolhouse on Fifteen Mile Road, and ride west to Eight Mile Road. Go left and ride Eight Mile Road past the first turn to Emerson Loop Road. Take a left on the second turnoff to Emerson Loop Road (at about 7.2 miles). Take another left on Emerson Loop Road at 10.5 miles. Go right on Kelly Cutoff at 14.5 miles. Go left on Kelly Cutoff again at 16.1 miles. Stay left on Fifteen Mile Road at mile 17.1 and ride back to the schoolhouse.
About the Author: Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.
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