Murderers Creek (The Ranch)

5 Star Route

Note: This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.

We will be the first to admit that driving out to Eastern Oregon to start a route in Dayville and that ended at Murderers Creek Ranch sounded more than a bit sketchy. Would we run into the ghosts of the 8 prospectors who were murdered along the creek beds during the 1860s?

But we discovered just an amazing place to ride a gravel bike. Dayville is “cute as a button” in terms of towns, with super super welcoming locals and wonderfully preserved old buildings, a coffee shop, nice RV parks, and a cute downtown park. The route itself is an out and back that heads out through lovely farm lands that then slides through an amazing rocky canyon. (This borders the Black Canyon Wilderness.) When you turn towards the ranch, you hug Murderers Creek until you reach the the ranch, which includes picturesque old barns and cattle.

It’s all on relatively easy pitches …. There is washboard in the first few miles that quiets down quickly when you reach the national forest just a few miles out of Dayville. Overall, this is gold mine of a route, one that left us grinning for days. (We saw TWO cars on our four hour adventure!)

Adventure / Gravel Route

Out & Back: 39 miles / 1700 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 95% gravel , 5% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ 35 minutes west of John Day, Oregon
– Published: October 2020

Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]

Moderate. Due to (a) the rocky / chunky terrain leading to the Ranch [~ miles 17 to 22], (b) limited cell phone reception, (c) open cattle grazing, and (c) the remote locale. On our ride [mid-week in September], we saw two vehicles the entire day, and those were within 5 miles of Dayville.

When we like to ride this …

This is a ride that “goes” mid-spring through late fall. In the spring you get the creeks running full, flowers blooming and green fields. But … with the creeks running full you will need to take the high road options along Murderers Creek. In the fall you get the trees changing color and beautiful light.

The Murderers Creek sector of this route [miles 14 to 25] is closed February 1st through April 14th for wildlife migration within the Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife refuge.

The Start

Dayville City park. Flush toilets and water. A donation is suggested, we offered up $10. Well worth it!
Lat / Long: 44.466747, -119.534019

Food / Water


Go Local!

Dayville makes for a great place to basecamp for a few days. It has:

Ride Details

**Click to Read More


Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX FileTCX File


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with Ride, GPS files, etc see the “Help with …” page. To learn how to download the routes for free, see “Using Our Routes …” page.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

Gravel Girl / Team Dirty Freehub

She loves a good day of gravel like most people like a good book. She’s always amused by the outdoors and the wild adventures. Gravel Girl is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Captain O / Team Dirty Freehub

He should have “Never Stop Exploring” tattooed on his chest! He loves adventures on bikes and is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

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