5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Gravel Girl & Captain ‘O

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Motown Records was founded in 1959 in Detroit. Not quite the same as Detroit, Oregon but this ride takes on such a split personality that the first and last part will have you singing Motown’s mellow pop hit, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross and the middle loop will have you embarrassingly gasping to “Brickhouse” by the Commodores.

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
No wind, (no wind)
No rain, (no rain)
Nor winter’s cold
Can stop me, babe
(Oh, babe) baby (baby)
If you’re my goal.

For seven miles you roll along on glorious paved roads, playing peakaboo with the aqua colored Detroit Lake. You’ll pass by several campground signs that you will “buzz by” because you are lulled into thinking this is so “easy smeasy”, that why bother to stop for a break. But patience . . . your time will come.

Paved roads evolve into gravel and then back into paved. You continue to roll along … admiring fields of ferns and huge pines. Wild rhododendrons start to appear.

Make an old man wish for younger days, yeah, yeah
She knows she’s built and knows how to please
Sure enough to knock a strong man to his knees

At the start of the loop, at mile 13, the party just begins: The hill is one tough climb, because of the steepness and because of the squishy gravel spots that mop up the power in your legs. It’s 2,600 feet of climbing … at least five different lung-sucking spots will convince your that you are at the top …. you are close to the top when you see the Basalt Cliffs, which are jagged rocks that loom over the road.

After the Basalt Cliffs, you climb just a smidge more to enjoy a scenic ridge showcasing snowcapped Jefferson and Mt. Hood.

Take a breath and get ready for the downhill. There’s nothing relaxing about it: squishy gravel spots on 10% grades will test out your grip strength. Twisting and winding down ….

Then you hit a glorious paved road that sends you blasting back to the start of the loop.

Now, you can change that radio dial right back to Diana Ross …the gravel evolves back to paved as you roll along the shores of Detroit Lake.

If you have any energy left just pop down to one of the campgrounds to see the lake.

This route is tremendous during the summer because most of the ride you are well protected from the sun. But that also means we don’t recommend it during bad weather.

Adventure / Gravel Route

– Lollipop : 41 miles / 3900 ft gain
– Style: Mixed (2 gravel sectors, total 17.5 miles)
– Location: Detroit, OR
– Best ridden: Early Summer through Fall
– Course by: Captain “O”
– Date Posted: July 2018


Intermediate. Due to climbing 2600 feet in 9 miles with numerous pitches in excess of 8% with some on loose gravel. And descending the same.

The Start

Just outside Santiam Flats campground. At campground pit toilets and water.

Food / Water



Cue Sheet / TCX File


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with Ride, GPS files, etc see the “Help with …” page.

  • Riding well. The climb is long but not technical. Similar to road riding to Mt B. The summit had nice views. The descent is long, technical, and lots of fun. The lollipop stick by the lake is paved, cool, and downright beautiful. Great summer ride

  • DeWayne Weaver says:

    Rode this two weekends in a row last fall. The basalt cliffs were a great reward after the long climb. I used them as incentive to keep my buddy climbing instead of turning around! The 6 miles of sketch descent was a blast after the long climb. We parked at the beginning of the gravel when I took my buddy the second weekend and he was spent, so glad we didn’t start at 22.

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