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Oregon, Chehalem Mountains Loop

State: Oregon
Location: Portland
Length, Round Trip: 48.3 miles
Ride Type: Loop
Best Season: Summer
Difficulty: 4
Traffic: Moderate

Trail Information

This peaceful bike ride in the Chehalem Mountains is a testament to “land-use” planning. Low-traffic country roads stay that way because planning has kept developers away. The patchwork of farmland makes good scenery but after 20 miles of rolling roads, you don’t notice the greenery. It just hurts too much and begins to rob your legs of climbing power, which you’ll need continuously for nearly five miles. But there is a reprieve with one mile to go, Gibbs Pioneer Cemetery offers a place to lie down and die. The top of the climb gives you an angel’s eye-view of the valley: grass fields, orchards and vineyards. You can barely see the urban-growth boundary lurking menacingly in the distance. Unless you stop, you can’t look for long because the road soon demands your full attention. A sinewy three-mile descent can speed you up to 40 MPH. The real car world intrudes at the 35-mile mark, when about two miles of the ride are on higher-traffic roads: Bald Peak Road and Oregon 219.

Then the ride returns to low traffic and back to pain. You’ll climb one more steep hill, the one in Blooming-Fern Hill Road. Going down the other side could hurt, too, if you’re not careful. The road falls to Fern Hill Road like a skydiver with a broken parachute. You easily reach 50 MPH faster if your brakes break.

After almost 50 miles of riding, you’ll return to Forest Grove, where land-use planning makes a good burger and fries.

Directions

From Portland:
Take U. S. 26 west to the Oregon 6 exit; go right at Banks/Forest Grove exit (Oregon 47); go right toward Forest Grove; go right on Pacific Avenue; then immediately left on Main Street. Stay on Main until 17th Avenue; go left on 17th until George Rogers Park appears. Park in the lot near the tennis courts.


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