5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Captain O
A “short but sweet” tour of the Hood River county managed forest. A big climb, a cool paved descent (steep) and “killer” views of Mt. Hood and the Hood River. And a real treat … a dip in the river (cool, cool river) near Punchbowl falls.
The ride starts with a 1 mile rolling, slightly uphill paved sector that is perfect to warm up the legs and lungs. Just after crossing the Dead Point creek bridge, the climbing begins. On gravel. 2500 feet in 6.5 miles for an average gradient of 7 %. Along the way, there will be big, wide views of Hood River valley and Mt. Hood.
The climb tops out in a nondescript section of forest with a right hand turn onto Larch road. The road starts out a bit more primitive (more lumpy rocks and not less grading). But, it is really fun riding. Get a few more views and “bang”, you intersect a paved road, Kingsley Guard Station road. // Read More
This is a good paved road with a steep descent, at times grades in excess of x %. Have fun, but use caution, there are some limite sight lines. You are riding in an active logging area with logging trucks.
Just when the grade lessens, there is a sharp right hand turn that is easy to miss. This is Kingsley road, a gravel road. The road service can and will most probably vary from great, to big chunky shale rock, to somewhat primitive. But … the views along the road are outstanding and it is all completey rideable, just exercise a bit of diligence.
Once you start seeing views of the river, Hood River, the ride is nearing it end. Take a left back onto Dead Point road / Punchbowl road. Look left for the “makeshift” parking area. It is really worth stopping and exploring a bit. Go see the falls and / or go swimming at the confluence of the east and west branches of Hood River. The swimming hole at the confluence is at the northerly end of the Punchbowl Falls park. Zoom in on the map (below) to see this.
This is an active logging area. We highly recommend that if a logging truck is approaching, stop, pull to the side, and let the truck pass. The truckers will be very grateful and this is by far the safest option for all.
If you explore the Punchbowl Falls area, bring a bike lock and a towel for swimming.
We believe that the route is very accessible from downtown Hood River using some of the in-town bike paths / trails, Markham road, Portland drive, and Kingsley road. Any locals want to comment on this?
Adventure / Gravel Route
Moderate. Due to a steep initial climb of 2500 feet in 6.5 miles, average gradient of 7%.
When we like to ride this …
On a hot summer day, this is a really fun ride due to the spectacular swimming hole finish. However, this ride will “go” almost year round. The max elevation reached is 3300 feet and the climbing is on gravel and most of the descent is on pavement.
Dirt parking area at intersection of Punchbowl road and Lost Lake road, just after the bridge over the West Fork of Hood River.
Lat / Long: 45.589165, -121.629067
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road