FR16 Vista Ridge Road s(u)

When I read the sign: "Vista Ridge Road", I didn't really expect very much. I expected that the vistas would continue to be what I had seen so far, power lines and the haphazard patterns, left by the timber industry leaves after it clear cuts the forest, in order to provide raw materials for millions of american card board houses. But I was wrong, there is a variety of vistas of two volcanoes to be seen, Mount Hood mostly to the north, and quite a bit further away - Mount Saint Helens in Washington. For foreground you have a choice of aforementioned clear cut patterns, powerlines, and also a few rare views of a narrow road traversing an unspoiled, rarely visited forest. There are higher summits in this area. But from the ones I have been able to ride, this one is the most interesting - and completely paved with little to no traffic. (I only say "little" instead of "no", because somebody might actually encounter a car)

1.(990ft,mile00.0)START-END WEST-ALT: jct Green Point Rd - Or281
2.(1240ft,mile04.6)jct with Green Point Rd on right
3.(2300ft,mile11.1)START-END WEST: profile turns right climbing onto FR16
4.(3750ft,mile17.2)TOP: point of highest elevation on FR16
5.(1420ft,mile32.7)START-END EAST: jct Old Parkdale Rd - Or281


From West. FR18 connects Lolo Pass with the Columbia Gorge. The road has a well signed turnoff onto FR16, climbing steeply to the south on a nicely paved road, even if my de Lorme Gazetteer has not the slightest indication that this road exists. 

Describing the situation, coming from the other side, that is coming down from Lolo Pass: After riding through all the clear cuts, north of the pass, seeing some real forest next to the road is a relief. After a substantial climbing workout on FR16, a vista of Mount Hood appears to the north, followed shortly by an equally stunning volcano vista to the south. Unlike the more traveled highways, there is no effort here to preserve the illusion that this is unspoiled forest land. The piles of haphazard decaying lumber left to rot next to the road, are in a way just as dramatic as the snow covered volcanoes - but in a very different way. Mixing all these vistas, sometimes the same volcano appears in front of the road, then as a backdrop, the opposite direction where it just appeared to be, which is proof that this road is not the shortest connection between two points, but really winds around like a snake on acid. It's impossible to tell exactly where the top on this long rolling ridge ramble is.

From East. But sooner or later a long straight descend leads into a fast ride to Parkdale. Mount Saint Helens makes a few last scenic backdrop appearances. The valley below looks like a giant ski resort in the summer, the clear cuts playing the part of the ski runs. A large mass of black lava flow ornaments the valley. The roll ends very civilized, as the road passes between fragrant plantations of fruit trees and grapes. Parkdale has a single expensive grocery store and few nice picnic tables near the museum

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Bennett Pass

Vista Ridge Road: spectatcular Volcano views alternate with logging devastation. More pictures of just the volcano without the devastation are in the slide show (link on left side of page)



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