Length: 80 Miles
Direction: Counter Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 4532 ft
Highest Point: 1610 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25
From the 2nd volume of Rubber To The Road, Little Switzerland is a true gem. When I first moved to Portland in 2006, I came across this volume at River City Bicycles and quickly attempted this ride. I was not disappointed and in fact became so enthralled with the route, that it became a regular part of my weekly training plan. This ride is challenging, but one which has you looking at the scenery even while struggling over a climb. The descents are not only a reprieve from the climbs, but a welcome chance to enjoy the glorious views.
The question is, which way to do the route? Well hopefully, you’ll do Little Switzerland both ways. The appeal to riding counter clockwise is that the long 6 mile stretch of the 26 is a gradual downhill most of the way. However both directions offer a large shoulder. Descending Shipley counterclockwise is great, but climbing it is cooler. And dropping into the valley riding clockwise on Marmot is surreal. So you’ll simply have to try it both ways and decide which is best.
This ride is relatively rural so be aware of your water consumption. A gas station on the 224 before Wildcat Mtn is a safe bet. And most of the season, save for late fall and winter, you can get water at Dodge Park from a fountain. But you may wish to consider carrying a 3rd bottle on warm days to be safe.
I cannot recommend this ride enough. If you haven’t ridden east very much, save for Multnomah Falls, this ride will bring you to the east side much more often.