Dufur & Friend
5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Captain O
A moderate+ mixed gravel ride that rolls out from Dufur through orchards and wheat fields. Then past the ghost town of Friend and by a few more wheat fields and into Tygh Valley via a descent of 1500 feet over 6 miles. From the valley floor it is a climb through forest, on good gravel and some remote pavement on a single lane road. Finally, reconnect with the stick of the lollipop in Friend, and ride (mostly) downhill back to Dufur.
This ride, like it’s shorter cousin, Dufur & Friend (Tygh Valley Start) is pure bliss. Don’t rush this ride. Take the time to stop, look and take pictures. We did this ride as Day 1 of Cycle Oregon Gravel in 2019.
The ride leaves Dufur heading south into the orchards and cattle grazing country, slowing gaining elevation. The views are expansive and big. At mile 5 the road turns to gravel and the climbing steepens, but then soon rolls off again to a grade between 1 to 3 % until mile 11. The steady climbing turns into long, undulating rollers with a net gain of 200 feet over the next 10 miles. // Read More
At the end of the stick of the lollipop, mile 14, turn east onto a paved section for 3.5 miles. After a few more miles of rolling gravel, the route intersects Highway 197. This is a really fun section of road, descending 1500 feet over 6 miles back into Tygh Valley. The road has a wide shoulder and the traffic is not too heavy.
If you need to refuel, there is a general store in the town of Tygh Valley. If you don’t, at the bottom of the grade, take Shadybrook road west and then Fairgrounds road south to intersect the original route. This will eliminate about a mile of highway riding.
After Tygh Valley, spin your legs out on the next 2 miles of flats to get ready for the long, but moderate gravel climb ahead: 1600 feet over 9 miles, with an average gradient of 3%, sometimes a bit steeper. About half way through the climb, you enter Mt. Hood National forest. The gravel road tends to be in good condition – hard packed, little traffic, but can be washboarded in spots. At about 6.5 miles into the climb, at the 90 degree right turn, the road becomes paved. Who knew? Why? Hmm??
The paved road is mostly a one lane road with sections of broken pavement. It continues to climb at an average gradient of 3 % for the next 3 miles. Therafter it rolls up and down. Be careful of rockfall and debris on the road, but don’t forget to take in the the big views to the east.
At ~ mile 46, after the rough cattle guard, the road returns to gravel and ranching / farming lands. It is straight and long, but with fun rollers that are slightly downhill. Feel like a hero! Soon you pass by the ghost town of Friend, and the Friend schoolhouse, making a left turn back onto the stick of the lollipop. The gravel returns and it is mostly downhill from here, a loss of 1500 feet versus a gain of 400 feet over the next 14 miles. And … remember the last 5 miles are paved.
If you are looking for a shorter ride, consider Dufur & Friend (Tygh Valley Start).
Adventure / Gravel Route
Moderate+. Due to distance and elevation gain.
When we like to ride this …
We like this route in the spring and fall. The colors are spectacular. The route (usually) rides well late into the fall and sometimes winter. It peaks out an elevation of 2800 feet. If there has been snow at this elevation, it will take some time to clear as the part of the route is in the forest and several of the roads are north facing. Summer can be very hot, but an early morning start would make it “doable”.
Food / Water
Tygh Valley General store at ~ mile 28.
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road