Cycling the Oregon Trail, Barlow Road

Otis Rubottom, Guest Author
Daniel Sharp,  Photographer
May 1, 2010 (Updated February 13, 2012)

By the morning of our last day, we were all a little tired (I only had one Scotch, I swear) but also excited about the day’s route, which follows some of Mt. Hood’s most striking roads. We traveled to Sandy by car (you can bike there, but we chose not to make the day quite so long); on the way, we checked out the historic and expansive Jonsrud Viewpoint, where the signage does a great job of giving an overview of the area’s historical significance.

A filling breakfast followed at the Tollgate Inn. Named for the spot it occupied on the historic Barlow Road, the Tollgate Inn is filled with Oregon Trail memorabilia. Once we were on our bikes, the real fun began, with gorgeous valleys and a twisting descent down to the Sandy River valley. A long, moderate climb took us up over the “Devil’s Backbone” and down Marmot Road into one of Mt. Hood’s most beautiful alpine valleys, along the pioneer route of the old Barlow Road, a favorite route for local cyclists. Highlights include amazing old barns on homestead properties and empty roads winding along the river. Leave time for a stop at Barlow Trail County Park for lunch, or just to enjoy the sound of the river.

Although we didn’t really want the ride to end, we eventually reached our destination: the Villages of Mt. Hood and The Resort at The Mountain. Fresh off a recent (and extensive) remodel, The Resort is exactly the type of place you want to arrive at after a long weekend of riding. Sleek, welcoming rooms are framed by gorgeous landscaping that never battles the equally striking natural surroundings. Alex and I did our best not to embarrass ourselves on one of the three immaculate nine-hole golf courses, while Rachael and Mikhael did some in-depth research at The Spa (read: massage).

For our final dinner, we ventured out to the nearby Rendezvous Grill & Tap Room. The restaurant’s claim of “serious food in a not-so-serious” space is a perfect description of the engaging dishes and welcoming vibe. It’s no wonder it’s a longtime local favorite. After a couple of local microbrews, we were all ready to turn in. There’s a special kind of tired you get from mixing time outside playing with the exploration of new (and sometimes not-so-new) places, and we were all feeling it. I don’t remember what I dreamed about, but I’m sure it was lush, rolling and peaceful, and had an incredible meal at the end of it.

If you like to travel at a faster pace, enjoy this itinerary on four wheels while experiencing the same sights, flavors and activities by car.

>> Go to Day One: Tri-Park Trip
>> Go to Day Two: Cycling the Countryside
>> Go to Bike On!