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Vista Ridge Loop

  • Length:
    48.3 miles
  • Difficulty:
    Extreme
  • Nearby Cities:
    Hood River, Odell, Parkdale
  • Region:
    Mt. Hood / The Gorge
  • Attributes:
    Extended Climbs, Forest, Wildlife Views

Elevation Chart

Stay Safe

In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.

Start east on Riverside Dr 0.2 miles (272 meters)
Turn right on OR-281 S/Dee Hwy 0.7 miles (1072 meters)
Head west on OR-281 S/Dee Hwy 2.3 miles (3679 meters)
Continue southwest on OR-281 S/Dee Hwy 3 miles (4777 meters)
Continue south on Lost Lake Rd 1.5 miles (2403 meters)
Continue onto Imai Rd 0.2 miles (399 meters)
Continue south on Imai Rd 0.5 miles (810 meters)
Turn left onto Lost Lake Rd/Natl Forest Develop Road 13 Rd 5.9 miles (9491 meters)
Continue south on Natl Forest Develop Road 18 Rd 3.2 miles (5089 meters)
Continue onto Natl Forest Develop Road 16 Rd 0.8 miles (1213 meters)
Head east on Natl Forest Develop Road 16 Rd 14.9 miles (23952 meters)
Turn right onto Natl Forest Develop Road 1610 Rd 2.7 miles (4361 meters)
Continue onto Natl Forest Develop Road 16 Rd/Red Hill Dr 0.4 miles (581 meters)
Turn right on Old Parkdale Rd 1.2 miles (1872 meters)
Head north on Old Parkdale Rd 1.7 miles (2794 meters)
Head northeast on OR-281 N/Dee Hwy 9.1 miles (14565 meters)

I just rode this route for the first time, and it immediately became one of my top 10 rides in Oregon. (OK, there may actually be 25 rides in my top 10… but this is definitely one of them.)

My friend found this route in a book called Road Riding in the Columbia River Gorge (www.gorgecycling.com), which bills it as the steepest ride in the Gorge, and one of the most scenic. Hard to argue either point. The ride as we did it, starting from Tucker Park, goes 48 miles, with over 4,000 feet of climbing, including a couple pitches with gradients well into the teens. But the roads and the views…

As you ride up, each road gets less travelled, until Vista Ridge and Red Hill, which have no traffic. The roads get narrower, and as you climb you’re hearing streams and wind and your own gasping, and nothing else. It’s really hard climbing, but the rewards are worth it. When you reach the top you skirt a ridge with expansive views thousands of feet down over forest, and you get a 6.5-mile downhill, including views of the Hood River Valley, that will put a grin on your face. This route makes you glad you get to ride in Oregon.

You can ride this from Hood River to make it about 56 miles, or start at the turnoff from Dee Highway at Dee Mills and it’s 36.

Directions: From Tucker Road (Tucker County Park), follow Dee Highway (281) until a turnoff for Lost Lake, at the site of a large old mill operation. Start climbing Lost Lake Road, then take a left onto Lolo Pass Road and climb. About 2 miles later, take the left onto Vista Ridge Trail (Road 16). Climb more. At the top bear left (it’s pretty obvious) onto Red Hill Road (not marked). Follow it along the ridge and all the way down across the bridge. After crossing turn left on Old Parkdale Road, merge into Dee Highway and loop back to the start.

Motorized Vehicle Traffic: Light to nonexistent

Seasons: Spring to fall

Comments

  1. Save yourself some frustration and follow the written directions, and IGNORE the turn-by-turn directions, which are very inaccurate. Otherwise, get ready for a good climb rewarded with a swift descent. The bridge is in at the bottom of the descent, but there is a lot of debris on the roadway due to brush cutting as of 9/16/12.

  2. The US Forest Service is considering converting portions of this route to gravel.

    Go here for more info and a link to make comments to the USFS.

    By the way, due to this weak winter, we’ve been riding this route since mid-February!

  3. Sorry…forgot the link in the message above:
    http://thegorgeismygym.com/savevistaridge/

Submitted by

WordJones

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