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COOL ROUTE: Sisters to Smith Rock

(from Travel Oregon’s subsidiary website Ride Oregon)

The Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway provides riders with one of the most scenic and rewarding rides in Central Oregon. Starting in the “Old West” town of Sisters and ending at Smith Rock State Park outside the small town of Terrebonne, this route takes riders past a variety of historical sites, shows the gentle curves of the Deschutes River and frames spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains, ending with the dramatic walls of Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock, with the Crooked River winding at its base, is the result of eroded volcanoes that left multicolored formations that tower above the valley floor. It’s a great place to watch rock-climbers from all over the world tackle the park’s thousands of ascent routes.

The Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway provides riders with one of the most scenic and rewarding rides in Central Oregon. Starting in the “Old West” town of Sisters and ending at Smith Rock State Park outside the small town of Terrebonne, this route takes riders past a variety of historical sites, shows the gentle curves of the Deschutes River and frames spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains, ending with the dramatic walls of Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock, with the Crooked River winding at its base, is the result of eroded volcanoes that left multicolored formations that tower above the valley floor. It’s a great place to watch rock-climbers from all over the world tackle the park’s thousands of ascent routes.

This route features varied, rolling terrain, although it’s generally downhill from Sisters. It’s a ride that a broad range of cyclists will find enjoyable. Both the start and finish points are public parks, each with parking, enclosed restroom facilities and drinking water (throughout the summer and early fall).

Given the public parking facilities, the Sisters to Smith Rock ride is a perfect route for single-day point-to-point ride if a group can leave a support vehicle at each end. At less than 35 miles, some riders will choose to round-trip the ride, or perhaps to turn around at the Lower Bridge crossing the Deschutes River, about 24 miles into the ride.

The ride itself features varied, rolling terrain with both uphill and downhill sections, breaking up the monotony of a flat ride. Overall, riders will climb 711 feet and descend 1,074 feet, including a stretch of almost 6 miles that features an uninterrupted downhill slope. At no points are there sustained or treacherous sections that will overly challenge the novice rider.

Starting and end points are at public parks, each with public parking and enclosed restroom facilities with flowing water and electrical lighting.

Motorized Vehicle Traffic: Low on back roads; high on short stretch of Hwy 126 and crossing Hwy 97

Seasons: Spring to fall

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