5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Gravel Girl
Big Red sounds like the name of a dog . . . or an old pickup truck . . . or that kid in high school who played center on the basketball team. But in La Pine State Park, Big Red is the name of Oregon’s largest ponderosa pine tree. He’s an old guy . . . . Over 500 years old, which means he was alive when Christopher Columbus was born . . . . And he earns his name by topping off at 162 feet tall and 28.9 feet around.
Big Red isn’t the only reason to do this ride: There’s also a visit to the lovely Fall River Falls (yes, the name is really Fall River Falls.) And there are miles and miles of gently rolling single track trails along the Deschutes and Fall Rivers in La Pine State Park. Most of the ride is wonderfully shaded and the trails are mainly smooth and packed down.
There’s almost nobody on these trails; just mainly fly fishers who pride themselves on their secret fishing spots and hikers who are camping at the park. But you will see birds of prey: hawks, osprey, and even owls.
This route starts off on a paved road which is 2 miles along a road with a wide shoulder. Then you turn off into some of the local neighborhoods to go find Big Red who is located at mile 6.4. The rest of the route is about meandering along the rivers in La Pine State Park…. A few times, you feel as if you are done with the river … only to find more beautiful river views. Overall, the route is shockingly flat and even in the summer seems to only get dusty or sandy in a few spots.
This ride is easy like Sunday Morning. But it’s well worth the drive to La Pine just for all the river views … and the visit to Big Red.
A longer version of this ride is Big Big Red. It is a Training Route versus a 5 Star route, meaning that it lacks exceptional quality throughout the entire ride. But … it is still a very fun ride!
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop : 17 miles / 500 ft gain
– Mixed route: ~ 65% gravel road / double-track / single-track, 1 sector
– Location: LaPine, OR
– Rideable: Spring thru Fall
– Course by: Captain “O”
– Date Posted: July 2018
Easier+. This is a ride suitable for an advanced beginner. It has little elevation gain, but has about 6 miles of single-track that is mostly smooth and rolling with a few roots and some sand.
Big River boat launch. Just east of the intersection of the Deschutes River and South Century Drive.
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road / double-track / single-track