Having ridden around the beautiful area of Mosier and the Dalles, this somewhat familiar stomping ground never fails to amaze me. And this G Con 1 route exemplifies the beauty and adventure held in this area.
Mileage: 63 Miles
Elevation 6,100ft mainly in the first half of ride
Elevation profile – A peak, all up then mostly down
Terrain: 35% Road 65% Gravel, hard pack dirt and rocky roads
Ride Route: here Ridewithgps
Bicycle: Offroad touring, Cyclocross, Gravel Bike with 34c or larger.
We rode this in 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. Temperatures on my ride were 57 -65 degree. If you are riding at this time, take a rain jacket (see tips at the end).
Starting in Moiser with a mellow rolling road up to Rowena loops which in themselves are an amazing view even just on a basic out and back, but this is just the start of the ride, a warm up to the gravel and offroad as you would say.
After descending the Rowena loops you enter The Dalles to skirt around the edges, not the most pretty place in the city but a means to an end. Turning onto Old Mill road you start a gradual climb out of town on pavement, slowly leaving the city the road gets windy and layered rock and thin vegetation surrounds you to your right-hand side. The change in scenery is refreshing and the landscape is littered with mini waterfalls, brooks, streams running from the hills.
After a while the Pavement Ends (mile 25)and the West Begins, from here it’s either gravel rock or dirt. The journey has just begun, numerous amazing views to be had along with several thousand feet of climbing.It’s nice to see someone crafted this sign visually matching the pavement ends signs to designate the start of the Wild west.
The houses die out quickly, even the ones wanting to bury themselves away from civilization are getting thin. The meandering road climbs and off to the left are amazing valley views of untouched forest.
The typical light gravel found earlier on the route before the National Forest begins.
Clouds and route scouting around 2,500ft at mile 31You can see how rambunctious the route can be here, a mixture of hard packet dirt and rocks. Sections of burnt out forest can appear spooky yet so visually interesting. This is from the Mosier / Rowena fires in 2014 (http://www.oregonlive.com/wildfires/index.ssf/2014/08/the_rowena_fire_is_threatening.html)
Hitting the Peak of Mill Creek Lookout Rd, mile around mile 35
Spectacular views of mount Hood from Mill Creek Lookout Rd (mile 35)
The stark aesthetic of the the Rowena / Mosier 2014 wildfires
A quick drop through a sublime setting of a pine / fir forest on the skirt of the Dalles Watershed perimeter.A four way intersection at Mile 37, one road is gated (on approach to the left,shown here) be careful here to turn the correct direction to stay on Mill Creek Ridge Rd, the correct path almost doesn’t look like a path. Check your GPS or map, Not a good place to get lost.
The climb up Mill Creek Ridge Rd (at mile 38 for about a mile) is no joke hitting high grades of 19% but averaging out much less. It’s ok though , plenty of amazing views to stop for around this section.
Turning Left (mile 40) puts you on Johns Mill Rd / NF 1711, just a little gravelly climb ahead and at the top of the climb (mile 41) you will encounter a gate of NF1710, through the gate and this signifies the start of some good forest / logging road descending.
Mile 45 turn onto Husky takes us out of the National Forest down some flowy, sometimes rocky roads on the loop back. The ride ends by taking Mosier Creek Rd, (not pictured here), but it offers a mellow nice ending with 3 miles of smooth rolling back to your car. A welcome quiet to the body after all the gravel and rocky sections.
At this time of year, this ride is an all day ride and on your way home you get to see the sun setting to the West over the Columbia river.
How to Dress
- In late Sept / Oct / Nov you will want to have Leg Warmers or full-length tights. This will keep dirt / mud off your skin keeping you more comfortable.
- A good base layer and a heavier Jersey with pockets (I recommend Rapha’s Brevet Long Sleeve Jersey as it’s a nice heavier weight mixture with plenty of pockets.
- I found carrying a lightweight rain jacket was fine, most of the time I was fortunate to not need it. But make sure you take a rain jacket or ride in a softshell that breathes well.
What to Eat / Drink
- I drank two large bottles with Scratch Hydration Drink but in hindsight, you may also wish to filter water from a stream. North Fork Mill Creek runs through at mile 38 and also Mosier Creek just before mile 40.
- I found myself fine with Two Meal Pro Bars, a packet of energy chews and a bannana. The meal ProBars are quite filling and give 400 Calories.
- During the fall / winter months of the year, start early or take lights. It’s not a long distance but the terrain is complex and it takes time to cover this ground.
- The elevation gets up to 4000ft, so during winter months there will be snow up there, be warned it might be impassable.
- Cell service can be non-existent, be prepared.Take several forms of route mapping, Garmin, Gaia,
- Take several forms of route mapping, Garmin, Gaia GPS, Ridewith GPS App, keep your eye on turns, it’s easy to get lost.
- I highly recommend Gaia GPS on your mobile phone, it’s a slightly expensive app, but very useful and will save your bacon.