Little Switzerland

Length: 80 Miles
Direction: Counter Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 4532 ft
Highest Point: 1610 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25

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Mt Hood looks enormous on the 26From 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.

A quick river crossing at Barlow TrailFriendly looking alpacas came up to say helloHood peaks out through this spectacular valleyMore tree lined roads on this ride

7 Responses to “Little Switzerland”

  1. mike bené Says:

    please note that a very short section of lusted road is currently (03/05/09) closed near dodge park due to a slide. you can get by on a bike but if a crew is there, they’ll probably turn you back.

    check clackamas co road closure site for updates:

  2. David Guettler Says:

    An alternative starting point for this and other eastside rides is the Springwater trail. This rail-to-trails multiuse path starts around Sellwood and stays off all roads until the pavement ends at Rudd Road and Telford, almost to Boring.

  3. Jacob Says:

    During the project, the Corridor was under construction, so I routed around it for a number of the rides heading east. The roads I chose largely have bike lanes, but the Corridor is a great way to get out of town heading East. I certainly did learn more about the area by trying some of the roads also, so take your pick 🙂

  4. Ben Says:

    What an incredible ride. We rode this clockwise on the first sunny day of a long, wet spring and had very few cars down to hwy 26. We had Marmot all to ourselves. Highlights were definitely Shipley and Marmot. Riding on hwy 26 was better than I expected.

    The only part that was questionable was going up 232nd on a Saturday afternoon. It is quite steep and had alot of traffic.

    Next time I have to try counterclockwise.

  5. Jacob Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Ben. There’s definitely an advantage to going counter clockwise in that you can descend 232 and also the 26. But I’m glad you intend to do the ride both ways. They are very different rides depending on which way you choose, but both are just spectacular.

  6. » Know when to HTFU…and when to go out for brunch. Randonnerds Says:

    […] were supposed to do a variation on Rubber to the Road’s “Little Switzerland” ride yesterday for BS #5. Normally, I’d put on my big girl pants (or thermal Pearl Izumis), […]

  7. Barb Says:

    The Firwood Rd. sign is very easy to miss and it’s a dead phone zone.

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