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Deschutes River Trail (Lower)

Easy/Intermediate
 3.8 (12) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Miles of scenic converted rail trail take you through the beautiful Deschutes River Valley.


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Map Key

23.9

Miles

38.5

KM

0%

Singletrack

331' 101 m

High

195' 59 m

Low

365' 111 m

Up

368' 112 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (0°)

7%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Family Friendly Very flat, wide doubletrack can be a good starting trail for kids. Be mindful of choppy rocks in some places though.

Overview

The mellow multiuse rail trail is a nice change of pace from more aggressive rides in and around Hood River and perfect for early spring when the majority trails are wet, muddy, or snowed in. However, during the summer months the dry wide open terrain has little shade and can be very hot.

Need to Know

The route is a simple out and back along the nearly flat former railroad grade. The hard-packed gravel tread allows you to cover more ground, just keep your comfortable cumulative mileage in mind with respect to the required return trip.

Description

The ride starts from Deschutes River State Park located just east of The Dalles where the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers meet. From the small parking lot just to the left of the entrance road, head uphill, past a gate, and continue on the wide gravel road. During spring the vivid, green sage-covered hills line the river valley. Near the three-mile mark there is a short, steep descent followed by a moderate climb back up with sections of concrete slabs. Here the trail deviates slightly from its straight-line course as a former trestle crossing no longer exists. As you continue further on, the trail rises higher above the flowing river giving way to more great valley views.

It's worth taking a minute to check out the old abandoned rail cars lining the side of the trail providing a glimpse into the distant past. As the trail continues to wind along the river you'll pass by massive rock cliffs that were cut to make room for the rail line. Just after reaching the 11-mile mark you'll approach the remnant structures of Harris Ranch. This is a good spot for a peaceful, scenic snack, after which you can decide to continue on or head back.

Although not mapped here, the trail does actually continue winding south for several more miles but finally ends near the 20-mile mark only continuing as a faint, rugged hiking route. Making the extended journey to this far end and is a long trek for a single day's riding. If bike camping, a side excursion from your base camp may be a better way to explore the entire route.

Contacts

Land Manager: Oregon State Parks

Shared By:

Anthony Harasimowicz with improvements by Nate Brophy

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 12 votes

#2061

Overall
  3.8 from 12 votes
5 Star
8%
4 Star
58%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#71

in Oregon

#2,061

Overall
361 Views Last Month
9,310 Since Aug 14, 2013
Easy/Intermediate

58%
17%
25%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Harris Ranch
Nov 26, 2014 near Moro, OR
Arriving at the 'rustic' Harris Ranch.
Aug 14, 2013 near Moro, OR
A decrepit old railcar sits along side the rail trail near mile six.
Aug 14, 2013 near Moro, OR
A long freight train snakes its way along the west bank of the river.
Aug 16, 2013 near The Dalles, OR
Taking in views of the Deschutes River Valley from the trail.
Aug 14, 2013 near The Dalles, OR
An old wagon next to the parking area reminds you of travelers from long ago.
Aug 14, 2013 near The Dalles, OR

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Jul 3, 2020
Paige McKinney
Great trail for a beginner bikepacker! Past mile 10 thorns are a huge problem. Luckily we had tons of extra tubes or we would've had to walk out. 24.6mi
May 17, 2020
Tiana Bear
I went through 10 patches and 3 spare tubes d/t thorn seeds before I ran out of supplies on my 8th flat. 10 miles of hike a bike. TUBLESS IS A MUST. 30mi — 8h 00m
Sep 22, 2019
Mo Hille
The Ranch, water tower and the train car are all burned down. Super bummer.. 24mi — 2h 30m
Aug 17, 2019
Dave Burdick
Apr 30, 2018
Peroum Simok
Oct 22, 2017
Richard Fitzgerald
Goatheads! Walked out from about mile 13. 38.4mi
Mar 24, 2017
Tom O'Hara
Apr 26, 2016
Brock Warner
Great weather, great green hills, great ride 30mi