Cool & Shady

5 Star Route

Man, it’s a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun
Well, I hear you whisper and the words melt everyone
But you stay so cool  

“Smooth” by Santana 

Yes, you stay so cool, that’s why we call this route Cool and Shady. This route is perfect for that roasting hot day when you are sure you are going to get baked from the sun. You stay deep in the forest for a big chunk of the ride, hugging a lake for the first ten miles, and hugging a stream for the final ten. You start and end at a lake …. And while this has one, big long climb (a Category 1), most of it has enough shade to keep you sane.  When we reached the exposed parts at the top of the climb, we were greeted with a nice breeze that felt just lovely.  

Now before you pure gravel cyclists chide us for too much of the paved roads, we will be the first to admit that we almost called this route Oakridge Roadie. But it actually works out rather nice … there are two major paved sections. One is flat and let’s you fly along at superhero speeds. (Yes, I said flat which is hard to find near Oakridge!) And the second is a bombing downhill that drops 2,500 feet without hammering yourself on a gravel road. 

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 52 miles / 4200 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 40% gravel, 60% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ 55 min southeast of Eugene, Oregon
– Published: August 2020

Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]

Moderate-. Due to: (a) short pitches, up and down, in excess of 8%, (b) the remote local of the ride, and (c) limited, but sporadic, cell phone reception.

When we like to ride this …

This is a go to ride for us during the heat of summer. With an early 8 am start, this is a very enjoyable ride on a 90+ degree day. But, you still want an ample supply of water. For us, it was 70 to 100 ounces.

The Start

At the makeshift dirt pull out on the south side of the Hills Creek Crossing bridge. At the intersection of NF 2118.
Lat / Long: 43.696490, -122.381266

Food / Water


Go Local

If your looking to make more than a day of it in the Oakridge area consider the Westfir Lodge and Mountain Market, Caseys Riverside RV park or Oakridge Escapes.

Note that the “downtown” of Oakridge is not along the highway. It is just north of the highway by several blocks. There is pub and a bistro in town.

And if you’re looking for a bike shop, consider Oregon Bike Shop and Willamette Mountain Mercantile.

Ride Details

**Click to Read More


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


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.

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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