Topsy Grade

Development Route

This is a Development Route – it has not been fully vetted by the Dirty Freehub Team. The turn-by-turn directions have not been validated, the route has not been ridden in its entirety by a Dirty Freehub Team member, and the general documentation is less. Development Routes are an organic, community effort to develop ideas into highly curated, 5 Star Routes. Riding a Development Route requires a sense of adventure, self-sufficiency, and good navigational skills. We also ask that if you do ride a Development Route, contribute some knowledge back. See the right panel for how to get involved.


“Topsy Road, the first good road into the Klamath Basin, was built in the 1870s (by H.C. Tichnor). The most difficult section, known as Topsy Grade, was chiseled from the southeast side of the Klamath River Canyon. Though narrow and steep, the road remained the primary route leading south from Klamath Falls for more than 30 years.” [Waymarking]

We have listed this ride for both its historical significance and for its scenic beauty.

Adventure / Gravel Route

Out & Back: 41 miles / 3500 ft gain
– Surface: 100% gravel road
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: NorCal (~ 1 hour, 20 minutes southeast of Medford, OR)
– Published: May 2021

Terrain & Technical Riding Difficulty[what this means]

Advanced

Our research indicates a sector of the road that is passable by only 4-wheel vehicles, maybe only jeeps. Thus, we suspect the terrain to be rocky, rutted, and in spots, steep.

The area is remote, expect little to no cell phone reception.

When we like to ride this …

Mid-May through October. Spring will have the best color with the wild flowers in bloom and the grasses green.

The Start

A makeshift dirt pull-out along Ager Beswick road. To get to the start from the Interstate, take exit 789 to Copco road. Go right on Ager road. At the town of Ager, go left on Ager Beswick road. (Google may try to route you differently, which would put you on some slow gravel roads.)
Lat / Long: 41.963095, -122.264780

Legend

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.


Ride Details

“This road was a former Native American passageway, then later utilized by soldiers who arrived to protect the incoming settlers and pioneers into Southern Oregon in the mid-1800s that followed the nearby historic Applegate Trail. This road then became a stage road for passengers and freight as well as a telegraph road for the Pony Express. The road was the main source of travel between Yreka and Klamath Falls until the railroad line was built in 1908.”[Waymarking]

“There are a number of historical ‘T’ Markers located along Topsy Grade Road. They include the Topsy Station site, a former post office, stage, and freight stop location; Robber’s Rock, a popular spot along Topsy Grade Road where stagecoaches and freight stages were often held up; and the Kerwin Ranch, a wayside stopping point along Topsy Road for travelers (no traces of this former ranch exist, other than an old wooden and barbed wire fence line).”[Waymarking]

For more on the history of Topsy Road, we recommend this article by Herald and News.

The turnaround point is Topsy Campground … “set on the rugged shoreline of the JC Boyle reservoir, Topsy Campground provides a quiet location for relaxing recreation. The area is set in an open Ponderosa Pine forest with nearby views of Mt McLaughlin, an icon of the southern Oregon Cascade Mountains.”[Bureau of Land Management

Food & Water

At Topsy campground, the turn around pointe, there may be water.

Ride Notes

For first time exploration, we recommend 50+ mm.

We recommend riding this in the direction as mapped for several reasons. (1) Most of the climbing takes place in the first half of the road, and (2) the big and best views will come in the second half of the ride.

Ride Options

At mile 11.6 (Robbers Rock), there is a spur to the left to the “Frain School” site that we recommend exploring. You can find the details on All Trails. “Views from the trail are unbelievable, and when you reach the river, and there are turnouts with rock fire pits that others have left set up. The camping was super cool, especially with the rushing water late at night.” From ChristopherC.

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.

Comments

Revision History

Get Involved!

This route is a work in progress – we need your help to make the route 5 Star. What can you do to help:

  • Tell us, does the route meet our 5 Star criteria?
  • Submit pictures.
  • Submit short videos (drone stuff is really cool!).
  • Submit route a description.
  • Tell us about “points of interest”.
  • Do you know of organizations that we should partner with that are actively involved in preserving lands for recreational uses?

You can leave us feedback in the comment tab or you can submit a detailed report using the Share Your Route form.

The best routes are those that are organic and driven by the riding community. Thus, get involved! And … ride dirty & smile!


The Ride!

TBD


Podcasts!

TBD

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