“Now shine on me sunshine,
Walk with me world, It’s a skip-a-dee-doo-dah day
I’m the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A.”
~ Donna Fargo
That’s the song you’ll be singing on this beautiful ride which includes Happy Valley, a turnout to the Kiger mustang viewing area, Diamond Craters, and a number of hay farms that have survived this isolated area since the 1850s.
This ride starts with a lovely paved road that slices through big vista views of the area. Then you head through Diamond Craters … with an an optional out and back to see the craters. (We don’t recommend riding out to the end… the washboard should clue you in when you’ve had enough …the first couple of miles provide enough of a flavor for the craters. At mile xx, there’s a cool lookout area that we recommend for the turn around.). When you get back on Lava Beds Road (just the name has us singing the B52s), you buzz on out to Happy Valley Road.
The first part of Happy Valley is a straight super highway of gravel (minus the traffic!). The second half winds through big hay farms with the Steens Mountains off in the distance.
Eventually you across the Kiger Mustang viewing road … which you can take as another out and back … but we warn you that it’s a rough road and you will be wishing you had a full suspension mountain bike. But if you are committed to seeing mustangs … that seems to be a logical place to find them.
Happy Valley continues …. with a downhill that blasts you to the town of Diamond (established in 1843 and now has a population of 83!). You will then see a school, THE school for the whole area. And soon enough, after more hay fields, and interesting rock formations, you are back at your car.
Note: if you like museums, you can check out the Round Barn Museum which includes a tour of the Round Barn (built 1870). It’s about a two mile add on and is located near mile 19.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop : 44 miles / 1500 ft gain
– Style: Mixed (2 gravel sectors, 14.5 miles total)
– Location: ~ 45 min south of Burns, OR
– Best ridden: Spring through Fall, possibly winter
– Route Author: Captain “O”
– Date Posted: August 2018
Easier. The gravel section is relatively short, the gravel is in good / excellent condition, and none of the hills are too steep. The route can be shortened by ~ 13 miles by removing the “stick of the lollipop”.
Intersection of Oregon Highway 205 and Diamond Lane road. Park on the shoulder of the road.
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road