: Oregon State Parks

Summer Road Biking in the Gorge

Pedal your way to waterfalls, lakes and tasty treats.
May 7, 2013 (Updated June 21, 2023)

Traveling is fun no matter how you do it, but watching the landscape scroll by from the seat of a bike can be particularly rewarding. That’s certainly true in the Columbia River Gorge, with miles of little-trafficked byways and looming basalt cliffs that afford views to casual cruisers from Hood River to The Dalles. Dedicated road bikers should take note, too: A challenging mix of hills and flats will keep your heart rate in the zone. 

For maps and more, swing by Mountain View Cycles, Discover Bicycles or Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair, all in Hood River.  An app like Ride With GPS will help keep you on course as well. Here are some rides that you shouldn’t miss.

A cyclist on a pved road along farm land and vegetation.
Stop by the various fruit stands along the Hood River Fruit Loop for sweet blueberries, strawberries and more. (Courtesy of Richard Hallman)

Great Road Rides Around Hood River

The classic rides in the Gorge are classic for a reason. The Mosier Twin Tunnels route runs for 4.5 miles between Hood River and Mosier along the original 1921 Columbia River Highway, which is now part of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Along the way, you’ll pass through — you guessed it — two tunnels that were restored and reopened in 2000 for bikers and hikers only.

Meanwhile, the Hood River Fruit Loop showcases the sweet, juicy bounty of the region by taking cyclists past over two dozen fruit stands, cideries and breweries on a 38-mile loop with about 2,800 feet of climbing. July is pick-your-own-cherries season, so pack the panniers and stop by Draper Girls’ Country Farm

Eastside Road runs south of Hood River and offers stunning views of Mt. Hood and the Hood River Valley, all with fewer cars than on other main arteries. You can make a loop out of it by heading south, then west through Odell and back north on Tucker Road. Expect to cover 20 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing, depending on your exact route. Along the way, you’ll encounter short diversions like Panorama Point, a vista point overlooking the whole valley.

Two cyclists on electric bikes on a paved road along the Columbia River Gorge
Take it easy on electric bikes along the Historic Columbia River Highway. (Courtesy of Bike the Gorge)

Tour the Waterfalls on an Electric Bike

You don’t have to be an avid road biker with superhuman fitness to reap the benefits of two-wheel travel. About 20 miles west of Hood River sits Cascade Locks, a fantastic base for cyclists that’s home to Bike the Gorge, a shop with a fleet of electric bicycles for rent to anyone 16 and up. Staffers can also help point you to the ride that’s right for you, ranging from two hours to a full-day adventure. Beginner e-bikers should try the 10.5-mile ride along little-trafficked portions of the Historic Columbia River Highway out to the Wyeth Trailhead, where a short hike will take you to Emerald Falls. For a half-day ride, cast off on a 22-mile round-trip ride that cruises past three more waterfalls to Viento State Park, where you can cool off at a shallow swimming hole.

Another great option is E-Bike Multnomah Falls, which offers half- and full-day guided tours through the Gorge’s waterfall corridor. Check out seven of these famous, thundering cascades — including 620-foot-high Multnomah Falls — with time to do some short hikes. Grab a snack at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge before rolling onward. Bonus: Cyclists don’t need to secure a timed-use permit to visit Multnomah Falls during peak times in the summer, as vehicle drivers do. Sol Rides in Hood River offers e-bike tours to wineries and more.

Shot of Lost Lake and a mountain range.
Prepare for a challenging but rewarding bike ride to reach Lost Lake. (Courtesy of US Forest Service)

Make a Challenging Climb to a Lakeside Historic Resort

For a challenging 3,150-foot climb along a 32-mile route, spin your way up into the wooded hills just south of Hood River and out to Lost Lake under the gaze of Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest mountain. You can ride from downtown Hood River or load up your bike for the 12-mile drive to the former town of Dee. From there Lost Lake Road twists and turns up through fragrant evergreen forests and past rivers roaring with snowmelt. At the lake, stop and soak your feet and enjoy a well-earned burger at the newly opened LL Grille at the Lost Lake Resort, a historic property now more than 100 years old with cabins and yurts. You can return the way you came or continue on to Lake Branch Road to make it a loop. 

Cycle on Rolling Hills Near The Dalles

The rolling wheat fields, basalt mesas and towering cottonwood trees of the eastern Gorge offer a completely different view of the land — the Petersburg Loop will take you through the best of it. You can start your ride in downtown The Dalles at SPR Bicycle Shop before picking up roads like Old Dufur Highway and Columbia View Drive. At Fifteen Mile Road, you’ll begin a steady climb up through the hamlet of Petersburg. Save some gas for the climb at mile 17 up Kelly Cutoff Road as you begin to loop back toward Petersburg. Do the ride in the morning before the wind and heat kicks in and you’ll make it back in time for a savory bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on a freshly baked croissant at Petite Provence. Find more great food, drink and farm-based adventures along the self-guided East Gorge Food Trail.

About The

Tim Neville
Tim Neville is a writer based in Bend where he writes about the outdoors, travel and the business of both. His work has been included in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and Best Food Writing, and earned various awards from the Society of American Travel Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. Tim has reported from all seven continents and spends his free time skiing, running and spending time with his family.

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