Baker City to North Powder
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This ride takes in yet another incredible Eastern Oregon road full of climbing, mountains and alpine streams. The spectacular ride traces its way around the Elkhorn Mountains and the historic mining town of Sumpter.
At mile 29 you pass through Sumpter, a town where over $10 million in gold ore was once pulled out of the ground and which once had 15 saloons, three newspapers, and an opera house. Now it’s a little quieter, but you can still visit the historic Sumpter Valley Dredge, which dug up the earth at a rate of 280,000 cubic yards per month.
From there the road begins a series of climbs and descents to the North Fork of the John Day Campground (mile 54). From the campground, you climb up Forest Road 73 to the top of Elkhorn pass, down past Anthony Lakes Ski Area and into North Powder. As the ride climbs higher, be on the lookout for wildlife — a few in our group saw small herds of elk grazing in lush fields, and others saw a small black bear trudging down the road, unperturbed by our presence.
Finally, at mile 67 you’ll top out at 7,200 feet. During my mid-June trip, snow covered the road so we were forced to turn back to the North Fork John Day Campground and our support car.