One of the most iconic cycling routes in the region will close for entire year. Multnomah County announced today that Larch Mountain Road will close sometime in May and won’t reopen again until next spring.
Larch is one of the most beautiful and challenging climbs in Oregon. With most of its length shrouded in dark, quiet forests, the road rises from the Columbia River to about 4,000 feet in 14 miles of winding pavement. The parking lot at the top is a connection point to several great trails and a walk up to Sherrard Point with its expansive views of several Cascade peaks is usually enough of a awe-inspiring moment to make the pain of the climb a bit more palatable.
Unfortunately, this year we’ll lose about seven months of access to the road. That’s the bad news. The good news is that when it opens up, we’ll have a safer road with smoother pavement.
Multnomah County plans to spend $5.1 million to repair and repave the road between milepost 7 to the top. The closure will begin east of SE Red Elder Drive, which is about two miles past the intersection with SE Brower Road (good news for folks who like to do the Brower-Haines-Alex Barr loop!).
It’s a bummer to not have this section of Larch open once the peak riding seasons starts in a few months. But it will be very nice to have a smoother descent. I recall a few times where my hands were so cold coming down it was hard to avoid some of the dangerous potholes and cracks.
I’ve asked for a more exact date we can expect the closure to start and will update this post when I hear back. Check out the County’s website for more details on the project and pass this along to your riding buddies.
Larch Mountain is great for biking and hiking if you are able to ignore all the yahoos who go up there to shoot their guns.
I’ve been up there many times and these “yahoos” you reference have never materialized.
I live on Haines road, and bicycle “my loop” Haines > Brower > Larch many days in the warm season. Locals do shoot, but usually on their own property, and tend to be careful. I’ve found folks shooting at the quarry on Brower to be reasonable and friendly. Just wave, it doesn’t hurt.
I think I’m a little too under-biked to enjoy a second ride on Alex Barr, but I guess this is my chance to try stringing together some of the other side roads. Too much temptation to do The Big Climb when they dump you halfway up the road otherwise…
Anyone know when the winter snow gate is removed (or is it already?) for possible riding prior to May?
I always thought the gate was just for cars. It’s always fun riding up to the snow lines throughout the spring.
Maybe the closer will inspire more cyclists to explore the other 4000′ ten mile east side climbs like Lolo Pass, Wildcat Mtn, Tumala Mtn, or Memaloose