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Classic Community Spotlight: Dayville

Dayville, Oregon, (pop. 146), is located at the mid-point of the eastern edge of Grant County and sits at 2,369 feet above sea level. The city was incorporated in 1913 and traces its history to the mid 19th-century as a stop along a hastily built wagon road that would be renamed The Dalles Military Road between 1868 and 1870. This rugged road connected The Dalles and Canyon City with parts of the route eventually becoming U. S. Route 26 that now runs east-west through Dayville. 

Large cottonwood trees line Route 26 through Dayville which also serves as the city’s Main Street. At the east end of town you’ll find the Dayville Mercantile and Dayville Cafe, Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and to the west, the Dayville Community Church has been welcoming touring cyclists as a hostel since 1973 as part of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. 

Tourism plays a major role in the Dayville economy as the region is home to Wild and Scenic rivers, namely the John Day River, a 284-mile tributary to the Columbia River. This wild, undammed river passes through many of the region’s renowned paleontological sites. The Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and  the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center are just 9 miles east of Dayville, the highway paralleling the river. En route you’ll pass Picture Gorge, named for pictographs on canyon walls, at the intersection of 26 and Oregon Route 19. Oh, and did we mention this is all part of the Old West Scenic Bikeway route?

We didn’t get to ride into Dayville last week in what would have been Night 6 on the road with the 2020 Classic ride so we reached out to Ruth Moore, City Recorder for Dayville, to check in on this year and next in the bike friendly city.

What were you most excited for Cycle Oregon riders to learn about Dayville?

 We Dayvillites are very proud of our little town and I was most excited to share our charm and beauty with others. We are an area rich in history made up of terrific people with some unique places to enjoy, all setting in a beautiful area often referred to as a “little oasis”.

We have 2021 to look forward to, what’s new next year?

While there have not been any new changes this year, we are looking forward to our beloved old Community Hall receiving a total new “redo” in the coming year. This 100-year-old building has great character and it is exciting to think that we can show it off to so many. We will have brand new restrooms and a commercial grade kitchen, but the hall will remain much the same as it did 100 years ago when it was built. It is important for us to preserve the charisma of this building that has served as a dance hall, movie theater, a box factory during WWII, the High School gymnasium, community meeting room, used for memorial services, potlucks, and weddings, and so much more.

Who is visiting Dayville this summer? 

We have not had near as many bicyclists traveling through Dayville this summer as we usually do, however our two RV parks have been full of tourists this summer and quite a few of these visitors bring along their bikes to enjoy some great rides around town or along the South Fork of the John Day River.

We have great areas to ride bikes!

 Is Dayville open for business?

Tourists are always welcome in our little community; our businesses depend on tourism. We love for people to enjoy our city park; where else do you find fresh flowers in a public restroom? 

The Dayville Cafe is known far and wide for their delicious homemade pie. [ed.- The Cycle Oregon staff tested and reviewed this claim on numerous occasions and approves all flavors. We also recommend taking a pie to go.] 

Our Mercantile, complete with essential and non-essential items, is housed in a building that was built in 1896. We have a fun consignment, coffee, ice cream, soup and sandwich shop—something for everyone! Our mini market is the stop for snacks and fuel  and the Dayville Community Church continues to have it’s hostel open for riders.

TransAmerica Bicycle Trail – (Dayville is located on Map 2)

 Are you ready for Cycle Oregon 2021?

We are very excited to share the beauty of our town with Cycle Oregon’s riders next year. From the fossil beds to the green pastures to the beautiful sunsets, we hope our visitors cherish the small town atmosphere and friendly smiles.


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