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Thread: Route Advice for Baker City to Salem

  1. #1
    Registered User DPeakMD's Avatar
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    Route Advice for Baker City to Salem

    This is my first time in Oregon. Very excited! Need some routing advice from the experts.

    We're planning to ride into Hell's Canyon entering from the Idaho side and then follow OR-86 into Baker City.

    Here's my question: Taking the balance of a) limited Time, b) desire for awesome scenery & C) fun factor--which would be the better to cross Oregon? I'm seeing one possibility being on the US/State highways/roads leading into Salem, or taking I-84 through the Gorge and enjoying some scenic back roads and vistas along the way. I'm hoping to leave Baker City in the am and have most of Wednesday to get to Salem.

    Any advice is appreciated.
    Dallas
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  2. #2
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    From Baker City it is a short hop on state route 7 into the historic gold mining town of Sumpter. Check out the floating dredge and the Shays locomotive. Continue on 7 over the hill into Prarie city on Hwy 26. It is a lovely road of broad sweepers through nice country. From Prineville take 126 into Sisters then you need to make a decision. You can take Hwy 20 which is a nice road right into Salem. The alternative is Hwy 242 which is a state historic route and a designated scenic hwy that has a patch of some of the tightest twisties in the state. That takes you back onto 126 from which you can roll down to Eugene, an hour south of Salem, or turn right on 126 and go back up the hill a way and pick up 20 and into Salem.

    Really it is hard to go wrong.

  3. #3
    Kawa Afterthought weschmann's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice.... I was in Baker City today looking through the forum and came across your post just as I was trying to decide which route to head west on.... I'm now about half way down 7 and will decide which way to go tomorrow, when I see which way the wind is blowing....No plans until Monday to be at Salem for set-up.... BTW, there is a great camping site called the Depot on 7 that has $6.00 tent camping, if you can get past the purist looks from the bicycle riders in the camp...:-)

  4. #4
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weschmann View Post
    Thanks for the advice.... I was in Baker City today looking through the forum and came across your post just as I was trying to decide which route to head west on.... I'm now about half way down 7 and will decide which way to go tomorrow, when I see which way the wind is blowing....No plans until Monday to be at Salem for set-up.... BTW, there is a great camping site called the Depot on 7 that has $6.00 tent camping, if you can get past the purist looks from the bicycle riders in the camp...:-)
    If you are just killing time, Take 242 down to 126 take a left ,down the hill, and go about 10 miles to Rainbow and take the road to Cougar reservour. This is the really the back way through the Cascades. It runs over a low elevation pass between the South fork of the McKenzie river and the North fork of the Willamette River. It goes through some serious old growth Douglas Fir forests and it cuts a textbook cross section through the "old" Cascades. The "old" Cascades are just that, geologically ancient compared to the young Cascades with its active volcanoes. After about 50 miles of this you come out at Westfir on Hwy 58, right next to a covered bridge. The road is narrow, but fully paved. It is another designated scenic route with a German name like Auderfeude or something. It is pretty special.

    If you are staying in Sumpter tonight you could roll over the Mts to Granite, then down 395, then at Long Creek take the road to Monument, to Kimberley. Go south on 19 and stop at the John Day Fossil Beds Nat. Monument interpretive center. Big crazy mammal fossils with dioramas and education and everything. Ancient volcanoes had blanketed the region with ash and the critters got buried. Then Hwy 26 and on to Prineville and points west.

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