Post Gravel — so much, so good!

2 Sep
Crooked River

One of the unknown gems in adventure riding is a rectangular section of the Ochoco National Forest just southeast of Post, OR. The town of Post is the geographic center of Oregon. This section of the Ochoco National Forest (that I will refer to as the Ochoco Rectangle ) is detached from the main and larger section of the Ochoco National forest that is east of Prineville and bisected by Highway 26, the highway to Mitchell.

The Ochoco Rectangle provides for many great adventure ride options. Each ride starts and finishes at the Post General Store. Be sure to stop in before the ride and say “hi” to Steffanie. She will gladly let you park at the store, but ask her where to park. After the ride,  get one their milkshakes. Simply awesome!  And … make sure you pick up one of these free maps from her.  It makes navigating so much easier.

Map
Click on map for full view.

I have documented two rides in the Ochoco Rectangle, but one can map out many other options. Basically, each ride leads out on Highway 380 to Paulina, makes a right hand turn into the rectangle, climbs 2000 feet to the ridge on a reasonable grade of no more than 6 percent, turns right again to follow the ridge, followed by a final right exiting the Ochoco Rectangle and descending to meet up with the Post to Paulina Highway (380)..

The entry and exit points into the Ochoco Rectangle are:
– NF 16
– NF 17

The shortest loop that I have mapped is 35 miles with 2900 feet of gain. The longest is 51 miles and 3700 feet of gain. And as said above, with map and GPS in hand, you can map out many more options.

The gravel is good. Later in the year some washboard will begin to develop, but with a little skill you can pick lines to avoid most of it. This ride is best in spring or fall when the colors are vibrant. I love Ochoco rides because the forests are more open than those in the Cascades, grasses grow tall, the meandering streams and … the solitude. Enjoy!


 

Click “View Full Route” in the upper left of the graphic to fully explore the ride — pictures, cue card with turn by turn directions, and downloadable GPS files.

Ochoco Rectangle 35

Ochoco Rectangle 50

5 thoughts on “Post Gravel — so much, so good!

  1. JerryW – thanks for the comments. Updated the route to take out the portion that did not exist. The route goes 16 to 17 now. Thanks!!

  2. Rode the 50 mile loop 6/1, upper 70s, minimal washboard and loose gravel, wildflower explosion (for now), sage lands, Ponderosa, mixed conifer, lots of grass, some creeks, too.
    Followed 16 to 17, turned left on 17 followed it to Antelope Reservoir, back tracked to the road signed 500, no other roads. It turned into a cattle track to a gate across a small marsh, deteriorating road, ended at a closed wire gate with a private property sign. Probably across the marsh then straight up the hill to maybe 200. Very sketchy old double/cattle track! The slight double track may tie into road 200 (which we hit further down 16, did not follow 200 left – next time). Checked Google Maps, it shows roads, didn’t want to get shot at!
    Backtracked to the intersection 16/17, turned left on 16 and followed to Hwy 380.
    Without our Antelope Res. jaunt, it would have been about 45 miles, 3200+ ft climbing. Still, a fabulous ride.

    • Oh, rode a Salsa Deadwood 29+, drop bars. 3″ Surly Knaards. It is not too fast (more likely me), but it masters all conditions…

  3. Great Posts!!!

    I’m heading up to Prineville for The Ochoco Gravel Roubaix end of August.

    What sort of gravel conditions can I expect up there? Trying to decide on tire choice – Kenda Happy Medium or Clement MSO.

    Thanks.

    • The more I ride gravel, the more I like a wider tire. What I have found in the Ochocos and elsewhere is that gravel roads always change. Early in the season they can be smooth and hard packed … as the summer goes on they dry out and get looser and more washboard.

      In general, the Ochocos tend to have a good clay base in the soil making the roads very rideable. If I were to do this race / ride I would choose a 38 mm tire or 40 mm tire. Since a large portion of the ride is on pavement, I would use a less aggressive tread, similar to that on the Clement.

      Enjoy!

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