On the Road with Cycle Oregon

September 14, 2015

I’ve ridden my bike on many rugged adventures through the state but never joined Cycle Oregon for one of their week-long rides — until now. Follow along with my adventures over the next seven days as we cruise through the Northeastern corner of the state exploring Hells Canyon, the Wallowas, and meeting all the people in between.


Just arrived in the historic gold mining community of Baker City, Oregon with 2,200 other folks geared up to ride our bikes through Hells Canyon and around the Wallowa Mountains.


The live music stage and beer garden are the most popular destination this first night in camp—and it’s also well stocked with some of Cycle Oregon’s private label wine from Eola Hills Winery.


Once a bustling gold mining town located right on the Oregon Trail, Baker City has settled down into its valley between the Elkhorns and Wallowas and grown up into a hard-working mountain community.

Day 1

Kicking off the day’s ride toward the Idaho border with quiet winding roads in Eastern Oregon.

Somehow the Cycle Oregon masterminds found a 40-mile downhill with a strong tailwind between Baker City and Huntington. They say every day isn’t this easy, but it was a blast while it lasted!

Great Horned Flying_

We camped right on the Snake River tonight and saw this majestic Great Horned Owl leaving his perch.

A local rancher takes a break with his pup to watch the parade of riders cruising past.

The route today expertly avoided traffic and routed down many a bucolic country road.

I met lots of great folks out here today. Many are Cycle Oregon veterans who’ve bonded and ride together each year.

Day 2


Leaving campSaying farewell to Farewell Bend State Park and headed towards Idaho in the morning light with Cristina, an old friend also riding her first Cycle Oregon.

Farewell BendFarewell Bend was the last good watering hole on the Oregon Trail before travelers headed north up the rugged Burnt River drainage.

Sunrise on the SnakeGreat sunrise over the meandering Snake River this morning.

Through grassTraveling from Weiser to Cambridge, Idaho, paralleling the scenic Weiser River Rail Trail.

Day 3

Brownlee ReservoirThe Snake River as it descends into the rugged Hells Canyon makes for a scenic winding road.


SummitWe all take a quick break at the summit and admire the view.

Fallow FarmsRode past many relics of ranches past today, admiring the undulating fallow fields.

ViewpointOne of countless scenic vistas opening up around us as we descend into Hells Canyon. Well worth a pause to take it all in.

Fall ColorsLots of autumn hues starting to pop out of the foliage to accompany the strong sagey petrichor in the air from the rain last night.

Day 4

Cattle_Friendly family of cows along the Weiser River curious what I was doing in their front yard.


We awoke this morning to hear the pitter-patter of rain on our tents, then saw it had dusted the surrounding hillsides with the region’s first snow of the season.

Trailhead_We were treated to an exquisite pour over coffee from Trailhead Coffee Roasters and their Metrofiets cargo bike coffee station.
As we rolled through desert canyons and agricultural valleys, we saw many large birds of prey.

Day 5

sagebrush_Lots of brooding skies, beautiful green sagebrush and multi-colored dusty limestone cliffs on the route today.


alphorn_One of the highlights of my day was running into this gentleman and his dog playing the somber sounds of the alphorn on the basalt cliffs of the historic Oregon Trail. In spots, you can still see the ruts from the 400,000 settlers looking for a better life in Oregon’s lush valleys.

buddies_Friends were made and legs tested on the long, gradual climb after lunch today.

farm_Remnants of an original Pleasant Valley homestead.

uphillWhat goes down must go up: What was once a downhill with a tailwind turned into an uphill with a headwind.
Luckily, camp was just a few short miles from the summit.

Day 6

Barley Browns_Lots of climbing yesterday with a brisk wind more suited for November than September put a lot of us in the mood for a pint at the award-winning Barley Brown’s in Baker City. The stout was delicious!


Clown_Bike Rodeo contenders wait their turn to tackle the mayhem.

Farm (1)_The countryside that the Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway passes through is second to none: rolling farmland as far as the eye can see!

Cattails_Rolling into Cove, a small town nestled up against the Blue Mountains.

Wallowas_It dropped darn near freezing last night in camp and left a fresh coat of snow on the Wallowas, too.


Day 7


Fast rolling pavement through wind farms and past curious livestock.


A constant stream of grins as we all cruise past the finish line in Baker City.

About The

Gabriel Amadeus Tiller
Gabriel Amadeus is exploring the world one serendipitous misadventure at a time. He was born in a canoe in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; learned what good beer was in Duluth, Minnesota; and fell in love with the grandeur of Oregon ten years ago. Follow along with his adventures at limberlost.co.