Have you ever been to a ghost town on your bike? The history of this one makes Wild Bill roll in his grave with envy.
The abandoned Post Office in Ashwood was built after the Sahaptin Native American tribe was forced to evacuate the area to Warm Springs in 1850s. Then Ashwood became famous for the great gold and silver rush at the Oregon King Mine during the 1910s. And now, it has a few sparse ranches that still carry on the wool production.
But while the tiny town of Ashwood is a fun stop over, you will be far more impressed with this awesome ride. This ranching area is demanding, with the constant up/down terrain and big views of the mountains.
The Details: The ride has 3 unique parts. The first third of the ride is the warmup – 5 miles of flat, then four “punchy”, short 100 to 300 foot climbs with gradients up to 10 % over the next 6 miles. The second third of the ride has longer climbs, 500 to 1000 feet, with gradients varying between 5 to 8 percent. The longest climb occurs as you leave Ashwood, 850 feet in 2.5 miles. The last third of the ride is mostly descending (through a really cool canyon!) but with a few “punchy” uphills that will keep you honest.
The first time the Dirty Freehub gang did this ride, on a Saturday, we did not see a car until mile 26. Total number of cars, maybe 5 to 10. We really like this ride in late Spring when the flowers are in bloom, the grass is green, and the young calves are wandering the fields. Also if you are rock hounder … you just might find thundereggs!
Be careful with trying to ride this route in heavy rain. Some of this is clay based roads which can be a nightmare on gravel bikes if they are muddy.
**Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop: 44 miles / 4300 ft gain
– Mixed route: 1 gravel sector, 26 miles long @ mile 3.2 **
– Location: ~ 15 min northeast of Madras, Oregon
– Best ridden: late Spring through Fall
– Route author: Captain “O”
– Date Posted: May 2017 (updated May 2018)
Intermediate – due to distance, elevation gain, and two somewhat gravel technical descents. As Gravel Girl said after the ride, this “is a demanding intermediate ride, there are no easy parts.”
At the intersection of US Highway 97 and NW Pony Butte Road. Look for the road maker to “Ashwood” and the red barn on the west side of the road. There is a dirt parking lot on the east side of the highway. About 15 miles northeast of Madras.
**Food / Water
None. Be aware that the outdoor hydrants in Ashwood area are not safe to drink from. There’s even a small school in Ashwood and we have tried to bum water off them … but no such luck.
**GPX Track File
Click to download.
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road / double-track
Blue = single-track
Purple = paved bike path and/or Roubaix