Big Mack

Training Route / by Captain ‘O’

A scenic loop highlighting the diversity of Oregon’s outback lands :

  • First, experience classic Central Oregon high desert with rolling hills, few trees, and views for miles. The riding is fast and relatively easy.
  • Then, follow a dirt road / trail along an old railroad grade just above the Lower Deschutes river. Much of the river is classified as Wild & Scenic. The riding is rugged, demanding and at times very slow.

This is a loop that Gravel Girl and I happened upon while riding and documenting Macks Canyon. The guys at Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) have ridden and written about miles 49 to 71. The unknown is miles 13 to 46. I know that this section “goes”, just not sure of the quality this section (5 Star vs. Training Route quality.)

At approximately mile 48, there is water and camping at the Deschutes River State Recreation area.

I have mapped the route in the counterclockwise (CCW) direction. In this direction, the river views and more demanding trail come later in the route. We know that the single track section from mile 67 to 71 involves some hike a bike.

For a longer option, consider starting in Maupin, and riding to the start via the Lower Deschutes / BLM Access road on the east side of the Deschutes River. The road is paved, very scenic, and with little traffic. This will add about 20 miles and very little elevation gain.

Based on the guidance of OMTM above, and my riding experience in the area, I would highly recommend a tubeless tire set up with CushCore inserts. This setup is nearly bomb proof, especially when goat head stickers are involved.

Adventure / Gravel Route

– Loop: 88 miles / 6400 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 70% gravel, 5 % Single Track, 25% paved
eBike Friendly: No
– Location: ~ 10 min north of Maupin, Oregon
– Published: April 2019

Difficulty

Advanced. Due to distance and elevation gain and the unknown nature of parts of the route.

The Start

At the intersection of Sherar’s Bridge highway and the BLM access road, north of Maupin by ~ 10 miles. Park on the shoulder of the road.
Lat / Long:  45.263609, -121.023912


Downloads

Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX file / TCX file

Legend

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.

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