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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know the Deschutes grade from the Columbia River is a pretty tame rail to trail. However today I just wanted several hours of pedal time. It was about 40 degrees, no wind, no rain and you can move at a good pace.
It's about a 23 mile round trip to the Old Homestead and I never tire of the Cathedral cliffs. It's my church. I really enjoyed the ride today, at least for January.
 

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Despite all lack of technical or aerobic challenge, I sure enjoy that trail myself.
 

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Thank you for sharing those photos. It's been maybe 10 years since I rode up there, but I remember that place fondly. It's eerie in a way, but striking, beautiful. Hope to go back one of these days.

--Sparty
 

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You can actually make this ride a bit more challenging by ridding the trail below the gravel road (its singletrack with quite a few ups and downs and its *not the fishing trail down by the river*), this trail lasts for 4 miles or so. You can also take the singletrack trail that climbs to the top of the canyon. Do a few laps on both of these and you've got a great little ride when syncline is too muddy or fogged in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ttrd:

I have looked at this lower trail on the river side of the road but always been in too big of a hurry to make it to the old homestead. Never taken the hiking trail on the mountain side of road up the canyon as it was marked as hikers only. In the off season , like now, it would have been the prefect time to ride it.
In the last couple years I have taken a couple spur roads that seem to peter out.

Sparty,
Eerie is right. Most fisherman and hikers go no more than 6 miles up the canyon. (the first wooden train car.)
When I am far back in the canyon by myself I think I hope nothing breaks as this would be a long cold walk out of here.
I am amazed every time I go back there that the old homestead is still standing. It is just on the edge of total collapse. (1890's vintage with Chicago Time newpaper on the walls.) What amazes me more is how it has escape all the fires in the canyon all these years.
One summer day I rode back about 17 miles but the road gets pretty ruff.
Below is a picture of a Big Horn sheep taken on the bluff just behind the home stead.
Amazing to watch those sheep climb that rock. Also a great rock formation formed when they blasted for the rail grade.

I wish the state park would develop more bike trails. The east side of the canyon has great potential.
 

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I've ridden this trail on many occasions. It's flat and non-technical, but oh so nice. In the spring/summer, I always see at least one rattlesnake sunning on the trail; and camping at the trailhead campground, I always see curious porcupines. The sound of solitary trains, cutting through the rock canyon walls with their horns, helps me sleep soundly in my tent. A special place.

I like it there. Lots.
 

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sideup said:
ttrd:

I have looked at this lower trail on the river side of the road but always been in too big of a hurry to make it to the old homestead. Never taken the hiking trail on the mountain side of road up the canyon as it was marked as hikers only. In the off season , like now, it would have been the prefect time to ride it.
In the last couple years I have taken a couple spur roads that seem to peter out.

Sparty,
Eerie is right. Most fisherman and hikers go no more than 6 miles up the canyon. (the first wooden train car.)
When I am far back in the canyon by myself I think I hope nothing breaks as this would be a long cold walk out of here.
I am amazed every time I go back there that the old homestead is still standing. It is just on the edge of total collapse. (1890's vintage with Chicago Time newpaper on the walls.) What amazes me more is how it has escape all the fires in the canyon all these years.
One summer day I rode back about 17 miles but the road gets pretty ruff.
Below is a picture of a Big Horn sheep taken on the bluff just behind the home stead.
Amazing to watch those sheep climb that rock. Also a great rock formation formed when they blasted for the rail grade.

I wish the state park would develop more bike trails. The east side of the canyon has great potential.
The hiking trail or the trail on the east side of the road was not marked as hiking only on both sides of the trail (I did double check that) and I followed two sets of tire tracks. If it is no biking, my bad not intended, but you are totally right about this time of the year for it because it was tacky and in really good shape.
 

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It's a great place for BOBing, that's for sure. I hope to finally take my preschooler camping there when it warms up a little bit this spring. There are "developed" campsites about 4 miles and 7 miles in, and you can go a total of about 17 miles before you hit the total washouts.

Past the 17 mile point, there's only about a 2-3 mile gap from there until you reach the end of the riverside road that comes down from Maupin and Sherars, but it's EXTREMELY slow going. As Sparty will no doubt recall, back in 2002 I did a 90 mile loop of the Deschutes trail: Started at the end of the road above the "gap", then through the "gap" and all the way down to the Columbia, then looping back up onto the plateau on pavement, through Grass Valley and back down into the canyon. It was one of the coolest trips I've ever done -- except for the 2-3 mile gap, which took me something like TWO HOURS, much of it scrambling precariously around washouts with the bike slung over my bike, sometimes on my hands and knees. If you've ever craved a challenging and unusual epic gravel/pavement/scrambling cyclocross adventure, this is your ride. You will probably be the second person in the world ever to do it on a bicycle.

More fun, though, is camping in the canyon. Like dirt farmer, I love listening the trains snaking along the opposite side of the river in the middle of the night. Eerie, but awesome.
 

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Indeed I do remember your epic journey years ago, Glowboy. Since hearing of your big adventure, I've always thought of the Deschutes River canyon as your turf.

Hey, all us Oregon MTBR forum adherents ought to have a gathering there one of these years. Could do it in a weekend. Make new friends. 'Twould be fun.

--Sparty
 

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Drsp

We've enjoyed riding and camping there many times over the years. Last year we went our in mid-April on a Friday night and ended up leaving on Saturday morning. It was SO windy it was downright unpleasant, and it's usually kinda windy so we were expecting that. Plus after a hike along the river and back on the doubletrack we started finding ticks on us, wo we bailed. Eventually we found 5 ticks including one from each of my kids' head. We spent Saturday night at Bear Springs campground, which happened to be the weekend of the XC race near there so we had fun watching the race and got a little riding in.

Have folks been finding many ticks there lately? Maybe staying up on the trail and away from the river would help. I agree its a very scenic area and a good spot to head to when the weather is wet in other places.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ticks

We run the dogs on the old rail grade and do not get down to the hiking trail. I am pretty sure the sage brush along the trail is where the ticks came from. Ticks - From my experience spring time is the worst time for them.
A couple years ago we did the Klickatat Rail Grade near Lyle Wa. early in the Spring time. Its a great family trail and actually quite scenic. Be warned: we took are two furry dogs along. We never left the trail as it follows the river most of the way, however ,no exaggeration after we got home we picked at least 50 ticks off each dog. Creepy! I hate em. However we did not have any ticks on us. Still can't figure out how so many got on the dogs without us seeing them along the trail. They were not running through the brush, unless the ticks were just laying in the dirt on the trail.
My dog picked a couple up a Syncline also. If the deer use the trail the ticks will be there.
 
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