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.