Wagons & Raptors

5 Star Route

This route may have been impacted by the unprecedented and historic wildfires in Oregon during the summer of 2020. Thus, we are uncertain of the route condition and are uncertain if the route description is accurate. If you attempt the route, we would really appreciate your feedback in the comment section at the bottom of the page. 

This route will let you suffer like a pioneer: when you are on Barlow Road, which was built in 1846 for wagon trains to avoid using the Columbia River for transportation, you’ll gain a great appreciation for Oregon history.  The whole route is like that … with rough rugged roads, a sketchy river crossing (do your homework on the river flows before you go) and a 3,000 foot climb on the back half of the ride that just gets rougher and rougher until you reach the top … then a technical downhill for a few miles.

But you’ll love the deep, dense forest which even on a sunny day, we could hardly see a thing because of the canopy of trees.  And there is enough pavement to let you have a break from playing pioneer, just enough to keep your sanity. 

And ohhhhh. That view of Mt Hood from the “Terrible Traverse” on Bennett Road is one you won’t soon forget. (Which of course, you could just do the Bennett Pass Route and only suffer like a pioneer for a much shorter time. But what’s the fun in that?) The route does include two sections on the highway … which were both quite zippy, given they are mainly downhill.  

So you’ve had the full disclosure … There’s a reason it’s labeled as advanced. And you either have the pioneer spirit (some call it stupidity), or you don’t. Just make sure everyone you drag along with you has the same sense of adventure. And you’ve thought through the consequences … along with giving yourself plenty of fudge factor time.

This route was first published and reviewed by RonL and Our Mother the Mountain. Thanks for letting us share in the fun!!

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 44 miles / 4500 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 55% gravel, 45% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ 45 minutes south of Hood River, Oregon
– Published: August 2020

Technical Difficulty & Risk[what this means]

Advanced. Due to: (a) 14+ miles of rugged and rocky jeep track, (b) a significant stream crossing, and (c) very limited cell phone reception.

When we like to ride this …

Early September through mid October on a warm day (70+ degree day). This is prime time for raptor viewing at Bonney Butte and the White River flows are some of the lowest of the year.

The Start

White River sno-park. Pit toilets.
Lat / Long: 45.303504, -121.674048

Food / Water


Ride Details

**Click to Read More


Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX file / TCX file


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.

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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