Author Topic: Interstate 84 sections of Columbia River Gorge  (Read 1383 times)

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Offline Jagen

Interstate 84 sections of Columbia River Gorge
« on: July 01, 2013, 12:49:40 am »
I'm planning to ride around Mt Hood in a couple of weeks and have hear conflicting opinions on the I84 sections and specifcally the Tooth Rock Tunnel. Anyone have thoughts? Anyone ridden it lately? 

I was thinking of riding over Lolo Pass rather than route 35 to Government Camp. Anyone have thoughts on Lolo Pass and the possible dirt sections (also conflicting reports).

Thanks in advance for your comments

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Interstate 84 sections of Columbia River Gorge
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 02:12:30 pm »
I'm planning to ride around Mt Hood in a couple of weeks and have hear conflicting opinions on the I-84 sections and specifically the Tooth Rock Tunnel. Anyone have thoughts?

First off, which direction are you heading on 84, westbound or eastbound? Only the eastbound section goes through the tunnel, and I would definitely NOT ride it as there is no shoulder there. But the old Historic Columbia River Hwy is closed to cars and bypasses the tunnel. That's the preferred bike routing through there. (You'll have to navigate a large flight of stairs, though.)

I would use the Historic Columbia River Hwy as much as possible between Troutdale and Hood River. With it, you get to stay off 84 except for the last 10-15 miles east of Cascade Locks, and a section around Bonneville Dam. (As for the latter, they are finishing up a section of the old highway from Yeon State Park and Bonneville. It should be done very soon.) And all sections of HCRH east of Bonneville are closed to cars!

If you haven't already checked it out, you should look at the Columbia Gorge Bike Map put out by ODOT: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/ColumbiaGorgeBikeMap.pdf

If your heart is set on riding 84, it's not too bad (besides Toothrock Tunnel.) The shoulder is pretty wide except for right around Shellrock Mtn (which is unavoidable as the old road is not open around there.) Expect a fair amount of debris in the shoulder, though.

I was thinking of riding over Lolo Pass rather than route 35 to Government Camp. Anyone have thoughts on Lolo Pass and the possible dirt sections (also conflicting reports).

Lolo Pass is a great route! Quiet and scenic. It can be steep in sections, and the west side will have high tension powerlines overhead. The "dirt" section is about 5 miles of gravel road. I found it rideable with only a few parts where the gravel felt loose. And it wasn't bad for descending, either. Of course, people's tolerance of gravel roads vary widely. I have 700X35C tires on my touring bike, so if you had 28mm wide tires you might not enjoy it as much.

Here's a few photos from Lolo Pass Road.


Offline Jagen

Re: Interstate 84 sections of Columbia River Gorge
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 03:03:56 pm »
Thanks everyone for the response. I'm excited that the tunnel is avoidable. I must have read the gorge map flyer incorrectly. My thought all along was to stick to the historic highway--it's nice to have confirmed that is the preferred route.

Tha is also for the pics of Lolo pass. I can't wait.

Offline Elbrento

Re: Interstate 84 sections of Columbia River Gorge
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 09:45:47 am »
I rode this section the first week of June and the tunnel is avoidable.  You might want to invest in the ACA map (Section 7) as it will detail the route nicely.  Although you will use only a small portion of the map it might be worth it. 

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Interstate 84 sections of Columbia River Gorge
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 12:34:04 pm »
You might want to invest in the ACA map (Section 7) as it will detail the route nicely.  Although you will use only a small portion of the map it might be worth it.

Not that I don't think ACA maps aren't "worth it", but all you really need for this section of the Gorge is the bike map put out by ODOT:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/ColumbiaGorgeBikeMap.pdf

Also, I'm guessing that by now Jagen (the OP) has done his/her ride.