5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Gravel Girl & Captain ‘O

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Even Little Joe Cartwright from Bonanza would be impressed with the history lesson along this ride. Meek’s Lost Wagon Train went through this area in 1845. (Meek wasn’t the brightest bulb, trying to use this area as a shortcut to make it to the Dalles.) The wagon train stopped at the now rustic Coffelt Barn and when children went to gather water some distance from the camp, they came back with shiny pebbles of gold! (Maybe you will find the Lost Blue Bucket Mine which nobody has been able to locate since 1845!)

Beyond the history lesson, the route is scattered with tumbleweeds, big cattle ranches, rolling hills and bold vistas. Places you are sure that good ole Little Joe came to retire. This ride is 100% gravel with very little traffic. When we mapped this route, the gravel was in excellent condition … but in the rain, the roads have enough clay to clog up your bike so be careful with the weather.

The roads are wide and easy to navigate. The route rides equally well in both directions.  The route description and pictures detail the route in a clockwise direction.

This route covers part of Meek’s Lost Wagon Train – some history behind it.

…Cooley’s group of wagons went a different route than the others of the Tetherow group after reaching Little Bear Creek.  On reaching the site of the Coffelt Barn, instead of going up Little Bear Creek past Sheep Rock, he turned down Little Bear Creek to Bear Creek and then again hit the Tetherow group trail near the Dunham Ranch.  Cooley mentions returning to the same creek they had been on a few days earlier …

The Coffelt barn site is the picture with the caption “Go right!”.  Keep your eyes peeled for the Lost Blue Bucket Gold Mine:

…single nugget was eventually recognized as gold, another version holds that when the Stephen Meek Wagon train stopped along the trail in present-day Crook County near Bear Creek, children went to gather water at some distance from the camp. They returned with a bucket filled with shiny pebbles…

More information can be found at:

Adventure / Gravel Route

– Lollipop : 51 miles / 3200 ft gain
– Style: Gravel
– Location: Brothers, OR (~ 1hr drive from Bend)
– Best ridden: Spring (when the creeks are flowing)
– Course by: BenG
– Date Posted: May 2018 (updated August 2018)


Intermediate: Due to (a) 50+ miles of gravel and (b) a 1-mile pitch up of 10+ % followed by a 1-mile pitch down of 10+ %.

The Start

At the end of the pavement at the intersection of Camp Creek Road and Merrill Road, approximately 12 miles northeast of Brothers, Oregon.

Food / Water



Cue Sheet  (CW)
– TCX File (CW))
Cue Sheet (CCW)
TCX File (CCW)


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.

  • Leslie & Jenny says:

    Rode this today (clockwise)! You are definitely in the middle of no where! Amazing gravel! Very few cars! One of our favorite rides this summer! Thanks for the awesome ride DFH!

  • Clark Ritchie says:

    This is a really pleasant route. The quality of the gravel on Bear Creek Rd is second to none, and with zero washboards! Saw multiple very large hawks, snakes, pronghorn antelope, quail, rabbits and only one car.

    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Wow! Thanks for the post. It really helps make the site great. Ride dirty and smile!

  • Stan Kiefer says:

    Beautiful ride with epic views and remarkably smooth gravel roads. Preferred counter-clockwise given the prevailing wind direction at our backs on return.


  • bengroeneveld says:

    Great conditions July 4, 2019. The unimproved road section east of Little Bear Creek had very few ruts, and overall there was no washboard. Five us us from CO Wheelers did the route, and we saw three pickup trucks, and then it goy way too busy – we met two other cyclists doing the same. Note – you may also meet bike packers, since this route briefly shares a section of the Oregon Outback. Those guys are usually thirsty for conversation since it’s a remote path.

  • Ric Weaver says:

    New to gravel riding and would have enjoyed this ride but had company.
    When is your next ride?

  • Gravel Girl says:

    Ride was in absolutely perfect condition yesterday … saw 2 cars for the whole ride.

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