5 Star Route

Note: This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.

The Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a spectacular place to ride gravel, but now listen closely; it requires a little planning, a little luck, and a love for rocky, steep climbs. Roads are seasonal, and given the park hovers between 6,000 to 7,000 feet in elevation, you’ll need to keep an eye on the weather.  

But, we loved the wildlife, especially the antelope, and the big, big expansive views. We happened to hit this place during the peak of fall colors (mid-October), and it just made it all the more special. We don’t use the word bucket list often, but this makes the list. We are sure there are times …. mud season, windy days, or teeth-chattering temps… that the route could be miserable. This route specifically has a few good climbs with pitches that had us sucking for air. Good luck!

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge features a rugged diversity of terrain, creating a rich mix of habitat types, home to more than 300 species of wildlife. Featured species include pronghorn antelope, California bighorn sheep, mule deer, greater sage-grouse, and redband trout. The 278,000-acre refuge is one of the most expansive wildlife habitats in the arid West free of domestic livestock. [US Fish & Wildlife]

Adventure / Gravel Route

Lollipop: 27 miles / 3200 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 100% gravel / dirt roads
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ 2 hours northeast of Lakeview, Oregon
– Published: October 2020

Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]

Moderate+. This route has a significant amount of primitive dirt road / jeep track. There are numerous pitches over 10%, some over 15%. There are short sections, more than a dozen, with jagged rocky terrain (i.e., rock gardens). And … most of the ride takes place above 6000 feet with exposure to the elements: wind, rain, or sun. There is limited and sporadic cell phone reception.

When we like to ride this …

Late September through mid-October, when the leaves are changing color.

If you pick another time to do the ride, the Barnhardy road segment (from the start at the hot springs to just past the campgrounds at Guano Creek) is only open to travel from August 1 to December 1.

The Start

Hot Springs campground at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Note, the drive to the start, from Plush, involves 14 miles of gravel road (a true gravel road) that can be severely washboarded.
Lat / Long: 42.501856, -119.689726

Food / Water


Ride Details

Before starting we recommend taking a look the official map of the area.

Miles 0 to 4 / Up the Barnhardy Stick / Primitive Dirt Road

This is one of the most demanding and rugged starts that we have documented. **Click to Read More


Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX FileTCX File


Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with Ride, GPS files, etc see the “Help with …” page. To learn how to download the routes for free, see “Using Our Routes …” page.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

Gravel Girl / Team Dirty Freehub

She loves a good day of gravel like most people like a good book. She’s always amused by the outdoors and the wild adventures. Gravel Girl is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Captain O / Team Dirty Freehub

He should have “Never Stop Exploring” tattooed on his chest! He loves adventures on bikes and is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

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