If you can’t remember that college class on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, let us speed you through cliff notes. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet came from families that hated each other and this love story didn’t end with a white dress, church bells, and confetti.
But, hopefully you’ll have a better story when you do this route. The start and finish is in the quaint town of Montague (O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?). The route loops through beautiful farmlands with constant mountain views north and south and an abundance of wildlife: we saw herds of antelope (video, watch in full screen) and deer, along with enough birds of prey to have us wondering if they were employed by local farmers, stationed every half mile, as mice and gopher patrol. **Read More
The one caution: the roads often slice by farms, so close that once we thought we could smell bacon frying. While nothing would be better than bacon half way through a ride, the problem is the farms had a few dogs. We only saw tail waggers, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to bring some type of dog repellent. Or be ready to sprint by any pup that decides he’s not willing to share that bacon.
Leave City Hall, make your way through town on several of the side streets, pass by the Cowboy statue and Kathy’s Deli and Bakery (stop here on the return), then turn left onto Airport road. It’s fast and flat, on good pavement for the next 6 miles.
Just past the airport the first gravel sector begins at a sharp right turn. Boom! Mt. Shasta right in front of you. This sector is flat and fast on hard packed gravel. We had little to no washboard. But … we did see two herds of antelope run across the road in front of us.
The sector ends with a short bit of pavement leading back towards Airport road. Make a 90 degree right, back onto gravel. Head north on a rolling downward descent that gives a distant view of the Siskiyou Mountains including Siskiyou Peak, Mount Ashland, and Pilot Rock (left to right).
At mile 16, you cross a small wooden bridge, which is the low point of the day. The next 12 miles are a series of three smaller climbs, each with more climbing than descent, until you reach the peak elevation for the day at mile 28 (3600 feet above sea level). The total climbing is 1900 feet with 700 feet of loss. Some of the pitches are in excess of 10%, but only for a short time.
This sector is marked by big, open views of hay farms and cattle ranches with well marked roads, often lined with telephone poles.
The next 20 miles is mostly downhill with an elevation loss of 1400 feet and a gain of only 400 feet. In front of you will be majestic mountain views to the south including Mt Shasta and the Trinity mountains. From ~ mile 32 to 37 you get a nice break on pavement and then finish out the last gravel sector through scattered Juniper trees. One more left onto pavement and it is an easy spin back to Montague.
Now, go get yourself that cookie at Kathy’s Deli and Bakery.
The gravel is fast and hard packed. 40 mm tires are more than adequate. We believe the route rides equally well in either direction.
This route is an abbreviation of the Shasta Gravel Half Hug event. We worked with them cooperatively in that we publicized their event in exchange for the opportunity to post the route to Dirty Freehub.
If you are a history buff, check out the the Montague Depot Museum which has loads of information about the town’s rich history in the railroad industry.
Adventure / Gravel Route
When we like to ride this …
In the spring when the colors are bright. But … this route is a go most of the year.
Montague City Hall and Library. Flush toilets. Water.
Lat / Long: 41.727626, -122.531661
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.