It’s that time. Too chilly or dicey to get caught in 35 degree rain on a 60 or 80mile jaunt. You want to get a workout but also soak up great scenery away from your regular your road bike route in wet, spray and sorta dirty conditions. Essentially you’re looking for that short winterish ride.Enter Winter Creek route. It’s a is a combination of smaller roads with some climbing and mostly on rideable gravel. Taxing sections of up and nature rewards of the Mount Hood area.
Mileage: 30 Miles
Elevation Gain 2,700ft
Elevation profile – Out and back with a return variation.
Terrain: 20% Road 80% Gravel, and a couple of dirt path sections each 50ft
Ride Route: here Ridewithgps
Bicycle: Offroad touring, Cyclocross, Gravel Bike even a Road bike with 28’s
We rode this at the end of November, typically rainy and low clouds, but the advantage of the damp conditions is that the gravel is not dusty and overheating is not a problem, dur!, it’s 32degrees at the top! Temperatures on my ride were 32-45 degrees. If you are riding at this time, take a stout jacket, waterproof. Winter gloves and a change of gloves if you get hit by rain. Standard winter fare otherwise, legwarmers, or bib tights. Booties or winter shoes.
This is also the first part of the longer route Still Creek Loop, which should definitely not be ridden over winter!
- Turn around when you get soaked or the weather gets too rough. It’s a modified out and back so there’s no shame at flipping it when you feel like.
- Stop a lot and take pictures, off to the side of Still Creek are amazing nature!
- Take 2 pairs of gloves
- Expect to get dirty
Starting at ZigZag Ranger station, park up and ride out of the back of the car park, where you will find a small trail, this helps avoid Hwy 26 going to Still Creek Rd. The first part of the route is mainly Still Creek rd to Trillium Lake, mainly unpaved, light gravel with a few sections of deeper but manageable gravel (see pics below) and if the snowline is too low on the day you ride you can turn around wherever you like (highest point near Trillium is 3700ft ). This road is rarely travelled and makes for an enjoyable almost car free ride. Off to the sides of the road are beautiful small creeks flowing into Still creek while immersed in that quiet wintery vibe nature.
Of course, you descend back down Still Creek Rd, so take it easy on the gravel, The second part after crossing the Pedestrian bridge and crossing HWY 26 puts you onto Road 19 Trail 765B – this used to be a road until it was badly washed out. It’s flat and rideable, with a couple of stream crossing, but these are like trickles.