This route takes you to the infamous Boeing Field. Not the one in Seattle, but the one in the middle of the Ochoco National Forest, somewhere north of the town, not the lake, of Paulina. It’s a grassy meadow that fills with flowers in the spring that you won’t soon forget … and it’s called Boeing Field due to a plane that crashed not too far away.
Then, after a good few hours of roaming around in the woods, enjoying everything the Ochocos has to offer … including Little Summit Prairie … you’ll find yourself another Boeing reference. The Dreamline descent. A single lane paved road that is downhill for 6 miles dropping 1600 feet. The way all rides should finish up.
Boeing Field is named for the ill-fated February 1942 flight of a B-18A Bolo bomber on a flight from Sacramento to Spokane. The plane cleared Wolf Mountain but hit the tall trees on its summit ridge and shattered on the slopes below. The crew of four had last radioed from northern California, so that is where the unsuccessful search was concentrated. It wasn’t until seven months later that an Ochoco shepherd, Rhys Humphrys, saw the wreckage glinting below and alerted the fire lookout on Wolf Mountain. The Boeing Field label is a misnomer: the B-18 bomber was a product of the Douglas Aircraft Company! [OregonHikers.org]
The route starts at Salter’s cabin, a horse camp / parking area. Head back south on the paved road you drove in on, to the intersection of NF-42 and Beaver Creek road. Go left towards Ragar ranger station. **Read More
The salter was a man employed each year to maintain fences, salt cattle, and change pasteurs on the Beaver Creek allotment of horses and pack animals. [Plaque at Salters Cabin in Ochoco National Forest]
At Sugar Creek campground go left onto the gravel road, NF-5810. A well maintained gravel road, with a slight upward trend. At ~ mile 4 cross over Sugar Creek and begin to climb for the next 8 miles gaining 1900 feet, with an average grade of 4%. There will be some short pitches that are steeper, but overall the climb is very moderate. The terrain is ponderosa forest intermixed with areas of grasses / desert scrub. Near the summit of the climb you will come to a recent burn area. Just after that is Boeing field to your left.
At ~ mile 14.5 drop back into the Ponderosa forests. It is slightly downhill and a bunch of fun … until mile 19.6 where you come upon a short, but powerful climb. 7 to 9% for 300 feet of gain.
Just before mile 23, cross NF-12 onto the most primitive road of the day. A bit more narrow and a bit more rugged. But … we really enjoyed this sector.[7 sec video]
When you come to the intersection that requires you to make a sharp left turn, Little Summit Prairie will be in front of you. The ride continues along the north edge of the prairie heading east. Cross over Little Summit creek and begin the last climb of the day. 2 miles, gaining 500 feet. Top out, and then in a couple of hundred yards the Dreamliner descent begins.
A single lane paved road that is in good condition. Be attentive as there are a few pot holes and the remote possibility of a car. Brakes are (almost) optional. Make sure to take in the distant mountain views when the slyly offer themselves up. When you cross over Wolf Creek, the fun is up. Make a right turn and in a few tenths of a mile will be Salter’s cabin.
Adventure / Gravel Route
Moderate. Due to distance, gain, and road surfaces.
When we like to ride this …
Mid spring through mid summer when creeks are flowing and the flowers are in bloom.
Salters cabin. About 1.4 miles north of the intersection of NF-42 and Beaver Creek road. No services.
Lat / Long: 44.248531, -119.823659
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
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