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Deschutes River Railbed

Average Rating:    (3.83 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 6

Out and back. Convered rail bed alongside the Deschutes River. Flat with one or two minor hills. Some rocks and soft sand. Most folks turn around the the old (abandoned) Harris Ranch but the trail goes on and you can make it as long or as short as you want. also a lower trail (single track) along parts of the river.
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Latitude
45.73014967964109
Longitude
-120.64567565917969
Trail Directions
From Portland, I-84. Go past Hood River toward Celilo. Take exit for Deschutes River Recreation Area. Turn left at end of ramp; follow signs (about 2 miles) to entrance. Park in gravel area to the left of the main entrance to the park. Trailhead is up the bank at back of parking area.
Trail Length
11.2 to Harris Ranch
Trail Level
Beginner
Trail Type
Fire Roads
City/County
Hood River
Web Address
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
April 5, 2006

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 1 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 1 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 4.00 votes

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Reviewed by: GlowBoy ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
I really enjoy camping on this trail, and do it about once a year. Even though it's just doubletrack, the scenery is spectacular and you get a wonderful sense of remoteness just a few miles in, as long as you do it outside the peak summer rafting season. Don't go in summer anyway, it's like 100 degrees every day. Oh, and hope you don't mind trains (on the other side of the canyon) waking you up in the middle of the night, which I think is kind of cool. No blasting horns (because no RR crossings), just a loud rumble and the train's headlights lighting up the canyon walls. Truly awesome.

Recommended Route:
Worth riding in as far as abandoned Harris Ranch, and you can go a total of about 17 miles (1 way) if you want. The trail disappears at this point. Good camping spots at about mile 4 (at the only real descent/climb on the route) and mile 8 (just past the second abandoned railcar). Both spots have nice pit toilets and ample camping. If you go in Feb-April like I do you'll be alone there.

It is possible (but extremely difficult) for adventurous types to continue past mile 17. After a 3 mile gap the trail resumes and continues to the road from Sherars Bridge. Just be warned, for those 3 miles you will mostly be scrambling up and down steep ballast rockpiles, picking through sagebrush and climbing over barbed wire fences. I once did this with my cyclocross bike: rode downsriver from Sherars, bushwacked the 3 mile gap, continued down the riverside trail to Deschutes State Park, rode east to the first paved road climbing back out of the Gorge, up through Grass Valley and plunging back down into the Deschutes Canyon at Sherars. This was an 89 mile ALL DAY adventure ride. The 3 mile gap alone consumed 3+ hours. You've been warned. Not necessarily recommended, but it is possible.



Comments
Medic Zero (09/05/2016)
Badass! Thanks for this trip report!
Medic Zero (09/05/2016)
Badass! Thanks for this trip report!
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Review Date
March 24, 2003

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: todd , from hillsboro, or

Summary:
This park marks a historical crossing of the Deschutes River by those emigrating west along the Oregon Trail. Storyboards have been posted in the park to describe its significance. This trail is quite level, with the exception of a few dips along the way. It's better off ridden with a bike having suspension, though. The trailhead is gravel, but the farther in you go, the rockier it becomes. Between Harris Ranch and 16 Mile Point is very rocky. Also, pack an extra jacket if you plan to ride out there in the off-season. Strong winds regularly buffet the canyon. Plenty of geological interest here, but while you're staring at the rocks, watch out for equestrians. Be courteous, and pull over to let them pass. Bald eagles have been spotted in this area, too.

Recommended Route:
Out and back along a converted railroad grade on the right descending bank of the river. Begin from Deschutes River State Park.



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Review Date
February 3, 2003

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Jaybo , from Vancouver, WA

Summary:
I really enjoy this trail even if it is very easy and almost flat. It is on the dry side of the Gorge. I have left in the rain in Portland and arrived there to find partly cloudy with maybe a light sprinkle. If you push it, you can get a good workout. Riding in the sagebrush by the river is very cool. Give it a shot. It is great for family; however, if you want to ride technical terrain this is not much fun for you. I'm not sure how to rate it because it is what it is: flat and dry with some nice scenery.

Recommended Route:
Very easy to find. I can't remember the name of the park you turn off at...I think it has been covered by the other reviewers. Easy find.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Surveyors Ridge, Whoo De Do, Brown's Camp, and Dog River to name a few. The NW has some fantastic riding.



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Review Date
November 18, 2002

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Geezerguide , from Sandy, Oregon

Summary:
This trail is great for those who want a peaceful and beautiful ride. If you are a hard core Mountain biker looking for narly trails to thrash, this is not the ride for you. Due to time restraints we where only able to ride out about 4 miles before turning back. In the first 4 miles there is one nice hill to go down and back up do to the rail bed being washed out at a small canyon. The rock formation you ride along next to is really interesting. Great area for someone interested in geology.
The rail bed was in real good condition the day we were there. Some loose gravel some hard pack. If you want to ride this trail in the summer take lots of water and cool cloths because it can get VERY hot in the canyon this rail bed follows. We rode this trail November 16th 2002 and the weather was in the mid 50's and sunny while back in the Willamette Valley the weather was rainy, windy & in the 40's. It is a dry area of the state.
One down fall for this trail is parking at the trail head. There is very little parking unless you have a Oregon State Parks pass or you don't mind paying for a day use permit for the State Park which is right there.

Recommended Route:
The nearest city to this trail is 'The Dalles' NOT Hood River. So take I 84 east to exit 97 and follow signs to the Deschutes River Recreation Area.



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Review Date
March 18, 2002

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: kazimar , from corvallis

Summary:
this ride is all about the scenery. for beginners it is an excellent flat fire-road trail that offers a glimpse into the world of mountain biking. for those more advanced, it's a nice leisurely ride along a beautiful river with amazing canyon views.



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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5