Bare Naked Gravel
Bear Naked Granola. Barenaked Ladies. And now … Bare Naked GRAVEL. Why? Because this route includes one hell of a good climb up to Bare Mountain. And you’ll be going plenty slow to see the awesome wildflowers and the views and everything the woods wants to offer up…..
But before the climb comes a nice warm up … five miles of fern-whacking single track with a few steam crossings. And after the climb is one wide-smile, twisting downhill … long enough to sing all the Barenaked Lady songs you can remember. Let’s get you started ….
“If I had a million dollars
Well I’d buy you a house
And if I had a million dollars
I’d buy you furniture for your house (maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
And if I had a million dollars (if I had a million dollars)
I’d buy you a ripping fast gravel bike”
The start is on easy rolling terrain, first paved and then gravel, until you reach the single track. Pay attention to your GPS so that you find the right trail. The Dry Creek trail. The single track dives deeply into the forest, with loads of ferns and hopefully not poison oak (Reference: Wikipedia, WebMD, Art of Manliness), at times following an old railroad grade. Dry Creek will be to your right.
Near the end of the single track, there are two stream crossings: Bourbon creek and Big Hollow creek. No bridges. A bit of route finding, a bit of bush backing and yep … wet feet.
After the stream crossings you pop onto NF-64, a paved road which peters out to gravel in about 2 miles. It climbs … 2,100 feet with very few reprieves.
Then, when traversing just below the ridge-line, near mile 18.5 you will see Mt Adams to the left in the distance and at the 7 o’clock position Mt. St. Helens.
The last climb of the the day, near Bare Mountain, is short, but noticeable (2 miles, 550 feet of gain). When you reach the top at mile 20+, you come down a bit on gravel …. but soon enough you are one ripping fast downhill paved road. One of the best in the Gifford Pinchot National forest. We did see a few cars coming up the road and there’s a few career-ending cracks that you should think about as you open up your brakes.
We were all in awe at how long we came down. But soon enough you are back at the cars … with a shit eating grin and a big craving for a whole lot of junk food.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop: 32 miles / 3400 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 35% gravel, 12.5% single track, 52.5% tarmac
– eBike Approved: No
– Location: ~ 45 min northeast of Hood River, Oregon
– Rideable: Spring to Fall
– Course by: Captain “O”
– Published: August 2019
Moderate. Due to a climb of 2100 ft over 5 miles (7% average grade) and 4 miles of single track.
Paved pull out on Little Soda Springs road. To the right.
Lat / Long: 45.837439, -121.946498
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
Blue = single-track