Dinner with Brice
Note: This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.
Gravel cycling is always a confusing term, especially on this route, which is mainly paved roads so small they feel like bike lanes, but we did toss in ten miles of proper gravel so you wouldn’t whine. And included is a 3,700-foot climb that has some stair steps, but mainly just keeps coming.
This route stays deep in the woods, with green, green, and more lush green colors. You will hug the Brice Creek for miles, which means spring should be spectacular. We figure fall leaf-peeping would be great as well. But we did this route on a day that was going to be a scorcher, and with an early start, we heard lots of whinging about people being too cold on the downhill.
Now about the name: you climb Dinner Ridge, cut through Holland Meadows, and then contour alongside Brice Creek. So why not Dinner with Brice? And the start? Isn’t it lovely that you start at Wildwood / Row River Falls? You also bike through Disston, a town with a long history of logging. (Although the mills closed in the 1950s.)
Adventure / Gravel Route
Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]
Moderate. Due to: (a) short pitches, up and down, in excess of 8%, and (b) (c) limited cell phone reception.
When we like to ride this …
(1) Early in the year as a training ride. With just a touch of gravel, the route is much more of a spinning route than a typical gravel route where power is key. (2) In the late spring / early summer, when the creeks and waterfalls are running full. (3) In the fall, when the leaves are changing color. (4) And, on a warm, sunny day with an early start. Most of the route is shaded with tree cover, and the real work is in the front half of the ride. The back half of the route is not demanding at all.
Wildwood Falls County Park. There is very limited parking here (about 8 spots). If the parking area is full use LaSells Stewart park on the opposite side of the river. This is a fee use parking area administered by Lane County (buy parking pass). Map of parking areas.
Lat / Long: 43.700126, -122.818927 (Alternate parking: 43.698864, -122.821633)
Food / Water
After the ride, we encourage you to drop some coin at a local coffee shop or brewpub! The closest town for that is Cottage Grove, to the northwest of the start by about 25 minutes. To find exactly what you are looking for visit the Travel Lane County site. Use the left hand menu to find: Things To Do, Hotels, Restaurants, Events, etc.
Ride Details**Click to Read More
Overall, this route is mostly in forested terrain with the riding in the cool shade of the tree canopy. Higher up, near Holland Meadow, there are some distant views to the north. The descent is fast, quick, and fun. Partway down, the route picks up Brice Creek. We stopped several times to take in the scenic beauty of the flowing creeks and waterfalls.
Miles 0 to 7 / The Lead Out / Paved
From the parking area, head east towards the Calapooya Mountains and Oakridge. The first 7 miles are on lightly trafficked roads where a red blinky light is a “nice to have” accessory. You will gently climb about 450 feet over the sector.; use it to spin the legs and get ready for the climb.
The area now known as Oakridge was first explored in 1852 as a possible route for pioneers coming from Central Oregon to the Willamette Valley. A post office was named “Hazeldell” in 1888, and the place’s name later changed to “Big Prairie”, and then “Oak Ridge”. In 1912, a new community was formed and officially named Oakridge. Since its beginnings as a mountain ranch, Oakridge has been a railroad boomtown, a lumberjacks’ haven, and an outdoor enthusiast’s destination. [Wikipedia]
Miles 7 to 23 / Dinner Climb / Paved to Gravel
At ~ mile 7 turn right onto NF 1746 [paved], immediately the road tips up. Over the next 16 miles, you will climb 3700 feet with several short, step breaks ranging in length from a mile to two miles. The respites are at mile 11, 16 and 19.
The first pitch, on pavement, is the most sustained pitch at nearly 7%.(Micro-video) At mile 11.7, do not miss this deceptive right turn (we did!) onto NF 750 [gravel]. The next 2 miles roll gently up and down.(Micro-video) Miles 15 to 20 is an upward, contouring sector along Dinner Ridge that gives views to the south of the Calapooya Divide. At ~ mile 20, continue straight onto NF 1746, leading to Holland Meadows, a high alpine field with flowers and views to the north of the Three Sisters. Holland Junction, the intersection of NF 1746 [gravel] and NF 5850 [paved], marks the high point of the climb and the end of the gravel for the day.
The Calapooya Mountains and the Calapooya Divide are two parts of a spur of the Western Cascade mountains in the state of Oregon that form the divide between the watersheds of the Willamette and Umpqua rivers. The Calapooya Mountains start near Cowhorn Mountain, north of Lake Lemolo, and curve northwest past Bohemia Mountain to Holland Point, south of Oakridge. Near Bohemia Mountain, a block of mountains connected to the Calapooya Mountains runs due west along the border between Lane and Douglas counties. This block is known as the Calapooya Divide. [Wikipedia]
Miles 23 to 29 / Holland Connector / Paved
At Holland Junction turn right onto NF 5850 [paved]. The next 3 miles roll down 400 feet and then up 400 feet. Use some caution as there are dips in the road and short sections of broken pavement.(Micro-video) The second crest marks the beginning of the descent, a loss of 4100 feet over 23 miles. However, the fun really begins at the next turn.
Miles 29 to Finish / Brice Creek Descent / Paved
At mile 29, make a hard right turn onto NF 22, a single lane paved road with twisty turns and far off views to the west.(Micro-video) At mile 33, pick up a paved road leading in from the southwest. From here out, the road is more two-lane than one-lane, and that red blinky light is nice to have again.
At this point, you will also notice that you are following Brice Creek. The riding is incredibly scenic. Big, old trees covered in moss. Ferns. Small waterfalls and creeks. Stop and take the time to enjoy the wonder!
Brice Creek runs through the scenic canyon of the western slope of the Cascade Mountains. It flows into the Row River, which in turn empties into the Willamette River. Due to its proximity to Eugene, Brice Creek is a popular destination on a hot summer day. You’ll find excellent places for sunbathing, wading, and natural dipping along the creek.
One of the best swimming and cliff jumping spots that feature outstanding scenery, cascading waterfalls, and a deep plunge pool is the Brice Creek Falls, which is located 0.3 miles upstream of the Cedar Creek Campground. [Oregon Discovery]
At ~ mile 43 you leave the Umpqua National Forest, the riding has a bit more of an urban feel to it with scattered houses and outbuildings. At Disston make a right and then a quick left back onto NF 17 [the stick of the lollipop] and retrace your path back to the start and enjoy a swim at Wildwood Falls.
Disston was a sawmill and logging town (At one time, there were two sawmills in Disston, the Wheeler-Osgood Lumber Company and the I. E. James Lumber Company. Both mills closed down in the 1950s.) and also a supply point for miners heading into the nearby Bohemia mining district. The terminus of the Oregon, Pacific and Eastern Railway logging railroad was also in Disston. [Wikipedia]
There are several alternative ways to ride from Layng Creek (mile 7) to Holland Junction (mile 23) including:
- Continuing on NF 1746 at mile 11.7 to Holland Junction (45 miles, 4500 feet gain, 15% gravel: Map / Cue Sheet / GPX file),
- Continuing on NF 1746 at mile 11.7 and then taking a right onto NF 777 to connect to the original route at mile 17 (48 miles, 4600 feet gain, 20% gravel: Map / Cue Sheet / GPX file), or
- Just after the bridge crossing Layng Creek taking NF 1745 and then connecting to NF 2232 and following Dinner Ridge for 11 miles (53 miles, 5100 feet gain, 40% gravel: Map / Cue Sheet / GPX file)
There is some traffic on the paved sectors, thus we recommend a red blinky light.
The Umpqua National forest can be an active logging area; thus, we recommend checking with the local ranger district regarding any activity. If you happen to see a logging truck, we recommend stopping, putting a foot down, and letting the truck pass. Logging activity usually does not take place on weekends.
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.