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Hell's Canyon

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 957 miles / 1540.1 km
  • Ride Time: 3 days
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $72.73
  • States Visited: Washington, Idaho, Oregon
Submitted by:

I'm back from my whirlwind trip, and what a trip it was. We logged almost 1,000 miles and saw quite a few sights. If you've never had an opportunity to travel to the great NorthWest, you should put it on your bucket list. Even the 'tourist traps', I've found, are so unlike those in the widely populated United States. Standing in line at the bottom of the tram to get to the top of Mt. Howard in Oregon, took 2 minutes. If we were in Disney World, we might have stood in line for 15 minutes or more. There were no lines to see the Hell's Canyon Dam, and no fees either. There really weren't any lines for anything. 'Why', I wondered. The NorthWest United States has a short summer season, and is one of the best kept secrets. I suppose, the fact that it is not well populated keeps the tourists away, and that's fine with me. When traveling this part of the world on a motorcycle, if you see a gas station, stop and get gas; they are few and far between. There are some of the best roads in the country. The Devil's Tail, leading to the Hell's Canyon Dam, is a winding road that follows the Snake River on the Idaho side of the Idaho/Oregon State line. You might remember that Evil Knieval, in 1974, attempted to jump the Snake River in Twin Falls, ID.Highway 39 cutting across near Halfway, OR and ending near Enterprise and Joseph, OR is a long, winding road, that narrows and offers several switchbacks. The road is maintained, but the weather here is harsh and the State can't keep up with the potholes. There are glacier size pot holes in the road, and the rider has to pay attention lest he/she hits one, loses control, and plummets over the edge of the mountain, where the drop offs are in the 100's of feet, and you would be like a pinball bouncing off of the trees. There's also plenty of rocks that have rolled off the mountain into the road to be avoided. My husband, Ric, says 'this is definitely a passenger's ride; the rider has to pay attention full time to operation of the bike, and will be exhausted when the ride is done. There are no guard rails, and this is not a road for the novice rider. The average speed is 35mph and even that seems fast at times. Deer are abundant, and the weather changes drastically from the valley, up to the summit. There is, however, a beautiful view at the top, and it is worth the trip if you are a skilled rider. Leave yourself at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cross, and make sure the weather forecast is good. Even in July, we started out with 80 degree temps, but at the top it was in the 50's, and before we made it back down, we ran into rain.We also did about a 280 mile loop from Baker City, OR to La Grande, OR with lots of small towns in between and some great places to visit. One of my favorites was the Terminal Gravity micro brewery in Enterprise, OR, where you can sample the brews and settle for the one you like best. Most of them are about 5% alcohol, and one is over 9%. There's also the Hell's Canyon grocery, where 'if we don't have it, you don't need it', the sign says. And, there's the store, restaurant, and bar in Imnaha, a valley town worth visiting just for this establishment. There you can order a pint and it will be served in a pint sized canning jar. You'll want to take the tram up to the top of Mt. Howard where you can view the countryside. From here you can see three states, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and the views are indeed, breathtaking.We rode Hwy 3, what the locals call 'the North Highway' to the RimRock Inn, 30 miles from Enterprise. Here we met the chef, Otto, who we allowed to select our menu and the wine to go with it. He chose a wonderful duck complimented with Red Zinfendel from a local winery. The sconces covered in blueberry sauce and whipped cream were a perfect ending to the meal. If you like, you could stay in the inn, or maybe do as we did, and sleep in the tipi.The trip was wonderful, the countryside beautiful, but we did have one mishap. When leaving the RimRock Inn at 6:30 am, we struck a 100 pound deer on the way down. Fortunately, Ric's riding skills kept us upright, and we only suffered a bruised foot each, where the deer slammed into us before being thrown off into the road. The bike had minimal damage, and we were able to ride it back. Of note, though, is how remote this road really is. We were probably on the side of the road 15 minutes, gathering our composure and looking over the bike and our minor injuries. In that time, not a single car passed us. Imagine, if we had gone down -- help would have been a long time coming. There truly were angels looking over us that morning. This area is aptly named, the Eagle Cap Wilderness. My advice is to plan before going and be aware of the inherent dangers.

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Washington, Idaho, Oregon. This motorcycle route has 10 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by maric12 in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by maric12

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Hell's Canyon

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverDesertFarm Land

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Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadSweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadHillyLight TrafficAverageRare Gas StationsAdequate

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