5 Star Route
Pink Lady is not sugar and spice: her numbers will seduce you into thinking she’s easy smeasy. But Pink Lady is remote (we saw nobody) and she offers up rugged roads that will rough you up a bit. We loved her because she’s moody, always mixing it up: you start at a vibrant wetlands, ride through rocky canyons, hug a lush creek which evolves into a lovely pine forest with meadows, then back down through another canyon with cool rock formations.
She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child but she’s always a woman to me
~ Billy Joel
But what’s the reason behind the name Pink Lady? Oh, we just don’t kiss and tell. **Read More
The route starts at the intersection of 3 gravel roads and one paved road (Silver Creek road), the road you most likely drove in on. Take the gravel road that heads west and quickly turns north, following Silver Creek. Just after the bridge, go left onto NF 4510. Soon you will enter a beautiful canyon with Silver Creek to your left. [micro-video clip]
From its headwaters in the southern Blue Mountains, Silver Creek flows south through the Ochoco National Forest … The creek meanders through a broad alluvial plain and turns southeast near Chickahominy Reservoir, traveling through the unincorporated community of Riley … Past Riley, Silver Creek flows through a canyon with 200-to-300-foot (60 to 90 m) tall walls made of volcanic basalt. [Wikipedia]
At mile 3.5 the road makes a sweeping horseshoe bend to the right leaving Silver Creek and picking up Nicoll Creek. For the next 10 miles you will follow Nicoll creek. The route transitions from canyon to desert rangelands to Ponderosa forests. It is gradually up and the road conditions are demanding. Gnar. Rocky shale. Some washboard. Pick your riding line with intent. Be cowboy tough!
At mile 15 you hit a short kicker of a climb, that makes a hard right turn part way up. You have left Nicoll Creek. The riding is now through Ponderosa forests with a quick respite of grasslands at Gravelly Flat. Look for the bright green Wolf moss and the black Wila moss in the Ponderosa trees. We think it is really unique and beautiful. At mile 20.5, you come to Buck Creek campground. Make a right and climb for a bit.
Just after mile 23, the climbing for the day is done. Begin descending, it is all gradual. Look for the views of Dry Mountain in the distance to the east. At ~ mile 25 pick up Dairy Creek and enter a pseudo canyon. Ride this until mile 30, make a 90 degree right onto NF-45. Then, it is just a short distance along the alluvial plain and wetlands back to the start.
An alluvial plain is a largely flat landform created by the deposition of sediment over a long period of time by one or more rivers coming from highland regions, from which alluvial soil forms. A floodplain is part of the process, being the smaller area over which the rivers flood at a particular period of time, whereas the alluvial plain is the larger area representing the region over which the floodplains have shifted over geological time. [Wikipedia]
If you are looking for silky smooth gravel roads, this is not the route! Expect some moderate to severe washboard, a 10 mile section of road that is littered with broken shale stone, and some other sectors of gravel that are shorter in length but still demanding. We rode this route on 50 mm tires, set up tubeless with CushCore inserts, and reduced tire pressures to less than 18 psi. Some riders may prefer a hardtail mountain bike for this route.
If you are looking for a longer route, you can construct several routes of varying lengths by picking elements of this ride along with Egypt Canyon and Giants Throwing Stones. For a composite overview, see the map below.
This area is remote. Little to no cell phone reception and few vehicles, if any. On our ride, we saw nobody (unless you count cows as a somebody).
Adventure / Gravel Route
Moderate+. Due to: (a) 10 miles of of gnar and cobbled road surfaces and (b) the remote “off-grid” nature of the ride. There is no cell phone coverage and we saw no vehicles or people on our 3 hour excursion.
When we like to ride this …
Mid spring through mid summer when the creeks are flowing, the wetlands are full of water and the flowers are in full bloom.
Along the shoulder of Silver Creek road, where the road turns from paved to gravel. This is a 4 way intersection, all the other roads are gravel. No services.
Lat / Long: 43.700992, -119.628226
Food / Water
Brown = gravel / dirt road
For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.