Distance: 41 miles
Elevation Gain: 3500′ (Temira’s GPS), 3258′ (MapMyRide)
Gorge locals and visitors alike focus on rides near Hood River. That’s fine. Hood River’s cool. The rides are awesome. Traffic is minimal. But Hood River’s WET in the winter. It’s RAINY. It’s … right on the eastern edge of a big, wet, orographically-enhanced precipitation zone.
Drive 7 miles east, and you’re nearly in the desert. Keep going to The Dalles, just 10 miles further, and the precip total drops to 15″ a year. Riding bikes in The Dalles, in the fall, spring and winter, just makes sense. In summer, however, strong west wind and 100 degree days means The Dalles is out.
The Mosier-Cherry Heights loop is a classic addition to the 28 mile 7-Mile Hill loop. Start in Mosier and climb State Road, with its .9 mile section of death just above Marsh Cutoff. Keep climbing, and descent 7 Mile Road into The Dalles. Turn right on Chenowith. After a couple of miles of rolling terrain, bear left on McDonald Way. Then bear left on Browns Creek. This turns into Cherry Heights, which you’ll climb for a few miles. Descent the fun, curvy road through cherry orchards to The Dalles.
Take a left on 10th (I swear it’s 11th that has the bike path, but one of the two will do you right). Go a few miles and take a right on Chenowith Loop Road. Take a left at the T intersection on to the Old Dalles Highway, and follow that all the way back to Mosier. The first 10 miles are nearly flat, and then you’ll climb 800′ or so to Rowena Crest, with a great view, before descending back to your car at Mosier.
Do the ride from Hood River for an extra 14 miles and 1000′ of additional climbing. Turn left at the bottom of 7 mile hill, rather than right, to remove 14 miles and 1000′ or so of climbing.
Enjoy. This is one of my favorites. Don’t do it on a windy day, or you’ll hate both me and yourself.