Rollercoaster. That’s what the Tygh Ridge route is all about. Make it through the first and only climb, 1,500 feet up to the ridge, and the rest of the day is rollers. Up! Down! Gently rolling along with panoramic views of the mountains. Mt Hood, Jefferson and Adams, you enjoy them all day.
The seasonal colors are an artist dream: greens, yellows and reds, contrasting sharply with bright blue skies. It’s rural ranching and farming country. It’s open, it’s exposed. The wind can really work you.
The first homesteader arrived in the Dufur area in 1852. The earliest community records are of church meetings beginning in 1862. The town was named for the Dufur family, successful ranchers who settled in the Dufur Valley in 1872. The Dufur post office was established in 1878. The town of Dufur was incorporated 1893. [Wikipedia]
The ride starts in downtown Dufur (population 650). Head out east of town gently rolling for 3.5 miles then begin the moderate climb up to Summit / Tygh Ridge. 6 miles, 1600 feet, with an average gradient of 4.5%. The climb starts paved but becomes gravel after 1.5 miles. The gravel is hard packed with little washboard and almost no traffic. **Click to Read More
As the climb tops out (mile 10) make a right hand turn back onto pavement. This is part of Summit ridge. In front of you, due south, is Tygh Ridge. The next 26 miles roll up and down. Gaining 1500 feet, losing 1900 feet. With no roller gaining more than 250 feet. You’ll transition back and forth between pavement and gravel several times. The views are big! South to North: Mt Jefferson, Mt Hood, and Mt Adams.
In the early twentieth century, farmers planted many acres of apples, and the population of Dufur boomed. As many as 400 workers were employed during the harvest. But by 1921, it became obvious that there was inadequate moisture to support the orchards, and the trees were pulled and burned. Ironically, cherry orchards are flourishing near Dufur today, irrigated by wells and micro-sprinklers. [The Oregon Encyclopedia]
Part way through the last gravel sector of the day, the long, gradual descent into Dufur begins. 9 miles with a loss in elevation of 1200 feet. The final pavement section brings you past orchards, ranches, and fields of alfalfa. Spin easy into the finish and find your way to Kramer’s Market for a bit of refuel.
The Dufur / Tygh Valley / Dalles area is one of the best spring time riding areas in the state. Moderate temps and little rain. The roads are quiet, the views are big!
There is 1.8 mile section on Highway 197. There is a wide shoulder and little traffic.
The course mapped here is a modification of the Gorge Gravel Grinder by Breakaway Productions. They also put on the Cascade Gravel Grinder, a weekend event, and Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder, a 5 day stage race.
Another, longer option, is to combine this route with Summit Ridge.
The town of Dufur is a great spot to basecamp for several days of riding. The Friends of Dufur city park has camping and RV hookups. There is the Balch hotel in town and Kramer’s Market for groceries.
Adventure / Gravel Route
Moderate. Due to distance / elevation gain.
When we like to ride this …
We really like this area in the springtime, when the fields are green and the flowers are in bloom. This area also rides well in the fall. Summer can be hot and … windy days can be brutal.
Friends of Dufur park. Flush toilets. Water.
Lat / Long: 45.450636, -121.127538
Red = paved road
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.