. Cycle Oregon XII | Cycle Oregon

The Best Bike Ride in America

Cycle Oregon XII

Sept. 11-18, 1999—La Grande to La Grande

Cycle Oregon XII Tourbook

Cycle Oregon XII Tour Book

Day One: La Grande to Ukiah, 56.4 miles

Elevation start: 2,776
Relax. We start slowly. Setting off from La Grande, we follow in the footsteps of the pioneers who passed this way, blazing the Oregon Trail. As the road meanders along Camas Creek, we pass so many spectacular swimming holes you may not want to bother with the showers tonight. Go straight to the warm welcome waiting in Ukiah, the former stage stop in the heart of the beautiful Camas Valley.

Day Two: Ukiah to Haines, 80.4 miles

Elevation start: 3,347
Today we ride through the spectacle of the Umatilla National Forest and the grandeur of the John Day Wilderness. Our destination is Haines, with its lovingly restored Main Street and splendid Eastern Oregon Museum. You might want to think about counting the cars on today’s ride. We doubt you’ll see 10 all day.

Day Three: Haines to Halfway, 63.6 miles

Elevation start: 3,333

This morning we ride close to Baker City, known for its magnificent collection of turn-of-the-century architecture. On the outskirts of town, we’ll pass by the magnificently situated Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on the summit of Flagstaff Hill. After riding some red rimrock country, and getting our first glimpse of the Wallowa Mountains, we’ll sail down the hill into Halfway, the place so pretty its founders thought they were halfway to heaven.

Day Four: Hells Canyon Options, 34, 80, or 104 miles

Elevation start: 2,654

No need to break camp this morning: today’s offerings include a series of spectacular rides. From Halfway, we drop down to the banks of the Snake River for our first glimpse of the raw majesty of Hells Canyon. Riders taking it easy can picnic at the park near Oxbow Dam then return to camp. Others will follow the remarkable riverfront road that runs deep into the canyon at Hells Canyon Dam. Those who visit the third dam, Brownlee, will complete a dam good century ride before reaching home.

Day Four: Hells Canyon Options, 34, 80, or 104 miles

Elevation start: 2,654

No need to break camp this morning: today’s offerings include a series of spectacular rides. From Halfway, we drop down to the banks of the Snake River for our first glimpse of the raw majesty of Hells Canyon. Riders taking it easy can picnic at the park near Oxbow Dam then return to camp. Others will follow the remarkable riverfront road that runs deep into the canyon at Hells Canyon Dam. Those who visit the third dam, Brownlee, will complete a dam good century ride before reaching home.

Day Five: Halfway to Joseph, 70.5 miles

Elevation start: 2,652

Somewhere in America there may be a more awe-inspiring ride than this climb to the Wallowa Valley. If so, we have not found it. Our route rises first through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, summits at the spectacular Hells Canyon Overlook, one of the most scenic viewpoints in the entire United States, then tumbles into the pristine Wallowa Valley, the place the Nez Perce call The Land of Winding Waters.

Day Six: Flora Option, 86.8 miles

Elevation start: 4,182

The Wallowa Valley is so beautiful, who would want to leave? The campsite stays undisturbed as we ride to Wallowa Lake, visit the lakefront gravesite of Chief Joseph, then take a tour out along Starvation Ridge for spectacular views down into Joseph Canyon. The ride back into town, slap into the face of the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains, is one of the prettiest in the West. Or just linger all day in Joseph, browse the art galleries, soak up the cappuccino, hike around the lake.

Day Seven: Joseph to La Grande, 71 miles

Elevation start: 4,182

One more postcard-perfect day. Rivers like going downhill. So do bicyclists. We follow the flow of the Wallowa to its junction with the Grande Ronde. From the spectacular summit of Minam Hill, it’s downhill all the way to a finish line celebration that will remind you why they still call the West Wild.

Day 5 Ride Map

Day 5 Ride

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