Author Topic: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question  (Read 2189 times)

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Offline oppeljs

Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« on: August 18, 2013, 05:45:13 pm »
I'll be doing part of the Oregon section of the Sierra Cascades route next week.  The Adventure Cycling map shows Windigo Pass Alternate from Crescent Lake to Diamond Lake (instead of Hwy 97).  Can anyone comment on the condition of the forest roads on the Windigo Pass Alternate?  As I interpret the Windigo map section, 23 miles of the alternate are "gravel".  But is it hard pack? Loose? Sandy?  Mountain bike only?
Thanks for any help.
Joan

Offline JMilyko

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 10:30:12 am »
From the Riding Conditions on this map section:

"...the unpaved roads can be dirt, sand, and/or hard packed gravel."

I believe I've read reports that indicate the dirt sections are pretty awful to near unrideable when wet.

.Jennifer.
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Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
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Offline Patco

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 01:57:16 pm »
For what it's worth, U.S. 97 through Oregon is a good road, and with a few exceptions, has very good, wide shoulders. Traffic isn't unbearable.

Offline Khetharu

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 02:29:03 pm »
I faced your question in July, on the day I was scheduled for the Windigo Pass alternative and decided to not take it because:
1) I met a local resident who does bicycle touring (like us) who said that he had gone over Windigo Pass several years ago on his motorcycle but could not recommend it because the road was rough then and the views were not particularly spectacular.
2) I talked to a receptionist on the phone  at some sort of highway maintenance depot who said the road was relatively heavily used and thus might be subject to a fair amount of wear and tear including, possibly, washboarding and deep gravel.   The person I talked to was very helpful but said I needed to call around 4:30 when the road crews would be back in the office with more dependable information.

I ended up taking highways 97 and 138 which, as a previous post indicates, are easy riding though boring.

I would recommend that you contact whatever body is responsible for maintenance on the Windigo Pass and ask them.  (Sorry I don’t have the phone number.  A ranger at Crater Lake gave me the number and I did not keep it.)  I would personally have preferred a reasonable unpaved road, even with the pass,  to the 97/138 route I took.

Offline oppeljs

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 03:36:27 pm »
Thanks to all of you for your comments.  I'll do some research and see if I can find out who does maintenance for the Pass.  It's also helpful to know both the positive and negative aspects of the 97/138 roads.
Joan

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 07:14:53 pm »
I believe I've read reports that indicate the dirt sections are pretty awful to near unrideable when wet.

And pretty awful to near unrideable when dry as well.

I attempted Windigo Pass last month (July). I was coming from the north. The first four miles of gravel are ok, but when I turned the corner onto the true Windigo Pass Road, I was confronted with pumice. I attempted to ride it for a couple minutes, but I didn't get far, between front wheel digging in and rear wheel spinning out. I decided to turn around. I ran into some fellow tourists a couple days later in Diamond Lake and they said they actually did ride it a few years back and considered it a nightmare.

As for traffic, there wasn't anything for the most part on the section I did. (If there was, I may have hitched a ride!)

My advice: skip Windigo Pass.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 07:17:37 pm »
I'll do some research and see if I can find out who does maintenance for the Pass. 

It's a Forest Service Road, so the local National Forest is in charge. (I forget which one it was. Winema? Deschutes?)

Offline oppeljs

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 03:12:50 pm »
I'm the original poster of the question.  Here's my report:  we didn't even try Windigo Pass, based on the comments, especially from adventurepdx, and a post I found online - plus the day we would have used it, it poured! For a few hours.  No discussion needed as to whether to try it on the spot.  We rode Hwy 58 east to Hwy 97 south to Hwy 138 west to the Crater Lake North Entrance road.  Yes, 97 is busy, but shoulders were mostly wide and it wasn't at all unpleasant.  Hwy 138 is a little boring, open forest and a few mountain views.  But it was very very worth it for these 2 East Coasters to get to Crater Lake.  That was stunning.  We stopped at every overlook and took it all in.  We were really glad we made the effort to get there.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2013, 10:59:12 am »
Did you circumnavigate the lake? I have done it twice but sans gear. Amazing ride. I cannot imagine do it loaded.

Offline oppeljs

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2013, 12:27:52 pm »
Yes, we did circumnavigate the lake.  It was, as I said, a stunning ride.  I'm sure we were slower with loaded bikes than we would have been otherwise, but we were on tour!  Neither of us had been there and we wanted to take it in as fully as possible.  I wouldn't describe the Rim Road as an easy ride but it was quite doable (I should also note that we both have good touring gearing on our Bike Fridays).

Offline newfydog

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2013, 04:05:11 pm »
We went up there one spring to scout it out for a friend.  First, we were nearly chopped up and carried away by the mosquitoes, then we were stopped by snowpack.  There are many good dirt roads for a touring bike in this area, that is not one of them.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2013, 11:40:29 pm »
Quote
Yes, we did circumnavigate the lake.
Lucky you I did the SC a couple of years ago and the road round the lake was still snowed in. It was a late snow year, I was unable to cross Elk Pass south of Mt Rainier either. Moral of story: check with the relevant authority for pass snow conditions if it's before August.

Someone in Ashland who had done it told me you needed a mountain bike to do the Windigo Pass Alternate. From the above comments it looks like she was correct. Actually the reason I didn't try it myself was hunger: adding another pass sounded attractive but I thought i stood a better chance of getting food in Chemult than anywhere on the Alternate route. A cafe shown on the ACA map on 97 that I was counting on for breakfast turned out to be closed.