The Tilikum Crossing is Portland’s newest addition. A forward-thinking bridge linking the southeast to the southwest, it is the country’s only car-free transit bridge. The Steens Mountains are in the opposite corner of our great state, bragging the highest road you can travel in an automobile - up to 9,733’. It only seems logical to link a car-free bridge to a drive-able tourist destination across this sizable state.
The Steens Mazama 1000 does just that. Some rides have you dip your tires in an ocean, this one has you climb 6,000 feet to an overlook of the Alvord Desert, a mile below the jagged cliff face. Leaving Portland on July 8th at 8am, The Steens Mazama 1000 starts you out meandering over the Cascade Mountains between Three-Fingered Jack and Mount Washington through Bend.
Continue southeast out of Bend through Oregon’s high desert to the town of Burns, “Gateway to The Steens” on a flat desert highway. Out of Burns, one will ride through Malheur Wildlife Preserve between Malheur and Harney Lakes feed from the waters of the Donner und Blitzen rivers that originate on the flanks of The Steens Mountains. A fault-block mountain range, The Steens have a gradual slope on its west side and looms over a precipitous cliff drop on the east side to the Alvord desert one mile below.
Turning around at the top brings you back through Frenchglen on your way down. Frenchglen is a picturesque town with a small rest stop before traveling the lonely 60 miles to Plush, Oregon through the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. The refuge has wind-blocked hot springs, free campgrounds amidst Aspen groves, and wild Antelope.
Frenchglen road will take you through the Hart Mountain Plateau, with a great view of Lake County and down the steep 2,000’/1.5 mile descent to the town of Plush. You’ll travel through Lake County as you head over Fremont National Forest and into Lakeview, Oregon. Continuing through the Pine stands of Fremont and Winema National Forests and onto Crater Lake poses a 25 mile ascent up the twisty flanks of old Mount Mazama, around the east side of the rim exiting north along the Headwaters of the Umpqua river.
Gradually heading North, traversing the west flank of the Cascade foothills into Cottage Grove via the Row River trail. Once in Cottage Grove, you head north through Springfield and continue along the foothills of the cascades into Portland, finishing on the Tilikum Crossing.