Cycle Oregon Day 6: Madras to Tygh Valley

Posted by on September 12th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 6-31

Riding outside of Maupin alongside the roaring Deschutes River.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Day 6 route map.
(Click to enlarge)

The penultimate day of Cycle Oregon 2014 was a 90-mile route took us through verdant valleys, one of the best cycling roads in the state, a wild-west town, and a winding river gorge where we watched members of the Warm Springs tribe fish from wooden platforms.

From Madras we headed northeast toward Antelope through some large-scale agricultural operations. I would never have expected that such a dry and rocky place could support so many crops. Then again, if you never venture off the main highway, you’d never see them (next time you’re in the area, check out Quaale Road near Hay Creek).

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 6-2

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 6-3

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This couple serenaded us up a climb with folksy fiddle music.
Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 6-10

As we left farm country and began the climb up to Shaniko, we had the very good fortune to pedal what I think is one of the coolest roads in Oregon: Shaniko-Fossil Highway (218). It’s not a terribly steep climb, gradual enough to get (and keep) a rhythm, and the curves! I’m a sucker for a winding roads.

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 6-11

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During lunch in Shaniko, a charming old west town that has kept much of its character thanks to the preservation of many of its original building facades, we were serenaded by two guitar-playing cowboy singers. Continuing north from Shaniko we rode Bakeoven Road into Maupin. Bakeoven was a desolate strip of pavement in the middle of wide-open brush dotted with juniper trees.

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 6-19

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Bakeoven Road. I’m glad it wasn’t too hot.
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Descending into Maupin.

Bakeoven Road eventually delivered to the rafting-crazy river town of Maupin (via a fast and fun corkscrew of a descent). At a rest stop in Maupin, some riders traded helmets for paddles and opted to take a rafting trip down the Deschutes River. For those of us that didn’t jump in a raft, our route on Highway 218 — which goes right alongside the river — was the next best thing to being on the water. It was a spectacular bit of riding; with the roaring river off one shoulder and steep rocky canyons off the other.

Toward the end of this stretch, right before we began the final climb up into camp at Tygh Valley, we got a special treat: members of the Warm Springs tribe fishing from platforms. I didn’t see any fish, but a group of tribesmen were working hard with a long spear and net right above the misty and mighty rapids.

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Platform fishing.
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Crossing Shearers Bridge.
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Beginning the ascent up to Tygh Valley.

This is the last night of Cycle Oregon and camp is even more celebratory and raucous than usual. Tomorrow will wrap up the event with a mere 40-mile jaunt back to The Dalles. I have a notebook full of other stories I haven’t been able to share. I’ll try to get them together during my bus ride back to Portland tomorrow. It’s been a fantastic week. Thanks for following along.

— If you are looking to catch up on past recaps, check out all our Cycle Oregon 2014 coverage here.

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Alison GravesJeffRob ChapmanMiddle of the Road guyGlowBoy Recent comment authors
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Anne Hawley
Anne Hawley

Thanks for this excellent coverage! The pictures and reporting really bring to life an event I personally wouldn’t be able to join, and parts of Oregon I’ve never seen. Fantastic.


Awesome coverage. By the way, those curves on the highway between Shaniko and Antelope are absolutely incredible in the downhill direction. The grade of the hill and the radius of the curves make for a perfect no-pedaling, no braking 30-40mph downhill run. Possibly the best road descent I’ve ever experienced.

Bakeoven Road is also one of my all-time favorite rides, especially in spring and fall when it’s cold and rainy elsewhere (though you still want to bring warm clothes to wear as you near Bakeoven’s 3500′ high point). I’ve typically seen fewer than 10 cars per hour when I’ve ridden it. And it too has a pretty spectacular 30-40mph descent, as you drop down into the Deschutes canyon – which I’m glad you did get to do yesterday.

One of the greatest metric century rides you can do in Oregon is to start in Maupin, ride up Bakeoven road to Shaniko, take in the awesome descent to Antelope, then reverse the trip.

Middle of the Road guy
Middle of the Road guy

Just got back and I even see myself on a picture!

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman

The people who run the ice cream shop in Shaniko are the best. They treated us like gold when we rolled through on the Oregon Outback.


you didn’t even stop by White River State Park? one of the best waterfalls in the state and a great place to cool off for a bit down by the old power house.

Alison Graves
Alison Graves

Hey Jonathan,

Thanks again for being a part of Cycle Oregon 2014! We love your coverage — you perfectly captured so many moments.

One of my favorite stories was overhearing a woman thanking you for inspiring her to get on a bike. From what I could hear, she went from not riding to riding Cycle Oregon — no small feat!

You are a man on a mission (to inform and inspire) and you certainly accomplished that with her!

Keep up the good work.

Cycle Oregon