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Oregon Motorcyclist - Motorcycle Roads in Oregon

"You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world." - William Hazlitt

Forest Road 23 - Gold Beach to Galice

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Ride Report

Date Reviewed: 10/06

Length: About 65 miles.

Technical Difficulty: Moderate because of very narrow occasionally rough road. Difficult if ridden in haste.

Location: From Gold Beach, find and turn onto Jerrys Flat Road (maps do not include an apostrophe). Jerrys Flat Road, also known as County Road 545, sits at the south end of the bridge where Hwy 101 crosses the Rogue River (N42 25.438 W124 24.806). There will be a sign indicating Agness. Follow the sign toward Agness. In a short distance, Panther Creek Resort appears on the left. Just beyond this is the junction with Forest Road 23. Turn onto Forest Road 23 and simply follow the pavement to Galice. Well, almost. Look out for a deceiving intersection detailed in the report below.

From I-5, take Exit 61 to Merlin. Ride toward Galice from Merlin on the Merlin-Galice Road. Look for Galice Road about 11 miles from Merlin and 0.25 miles before reaching Galice (N42 33.884 W123 35.862). Galice Road (Rd 34-8-36) will become Forest Road 23. Take Galice Road and watch out for a tricky sign in 0.75 miles. The sign indicates turning right onto Rd 35-8-2. Do not take this turn. Simply follow pavement to Gold Beach. Read the ride report for details.

Click for Garmin Track of this route. The file contains tracks for both the recommended route and the detour.

Connects With: Hwy 101, Merlin-Galice Road, and some small roads near Gold Beach.

Amenities: Full in Gold Beach, Merlin, or Wolf Creek. Groceries, meals, and lodging are available in Agness.

Places of Interest: Galice Resort (the food was good), the Rogue River, campgrounds, and exceptional scenery.

Review: Gold Beach to Galice. Forest Road 23 offers an amazing journey through the Southern Oregon Coast Range. With incredible beauty and diversity, it sits securely on Ted's top ten list of one lane roads. Expect some traffic from locals using it as a short cut to the coast. However, all autos were polite and allowed motorcycles to pass. This twisty route is well worth seeking out.

From Gold Beach, the trip begins with Jerrys Flat Road. Sets of 35 mph corners appear almost immediately as the road works through a small valley. For the next thirty miles, the road is one continual corner. It snakes through valleys and clings to cliff sides. This stretch is both visually stunning and technically thrilling.

About ten miles in, road meets canyon with amazing views and incredible corners. None of these corners are marked and many sport uneven pavement from patching. Plan on occasional mid corner line changes. Agness appears after 18 thrilling miles of aggression begging asphalt. Agness boasts a small store/restaurant/lodge. Stock up, because from here to Galice there is absolutely nothing.

Look for the junction with Forest Road 23 just east of Agness. Whoever designed this road deserves statewide employment. The corners are predictable and tight. Blind left turns generally have lots of room and right hand corners have good visibility. As the graph below shows, this all happens on a steep incline. Given these conditions, spirited riding is inevitable. Watch out for occasional sunken grade on the outside of left hand corners. Also, look for short dirt sections where the road was repaired.

As the graph indicates, the road descends rapidly to the east. During this section, dense forest crowds the road. Corners become increasingly blind, and the pace slows. Happily, solid engineering prevails and the unmarked corners continue to please.

A deceiving road sign sits about 59 miles from Hwy 101 (N42 33.675 W123 42.330). The sign points left for Galice in 14 miles. It seems that a slide of epic proportion recently covered the main road. Although the road is now repaired, the detour sign remains. This detour, Rd 35-8-2, represents some of the worst chip seal ever. It was excessively oiled and becomes slippery when hot. It contains excess rock that makes sliding inevitable. Finally, the chip seal has worn away in some areas. Here, traffic kicks the underlying rock across the remaining oily surface. After 12 miles of nastiness, this route was set for a poor review. Happily, the detour is no longer necessary and the main route is excellent. Before riding this route, check here for road conditions. If the detour is necessary, only adventurous riders will enjoy this route.

Upon reaching Merlin-Galice Road, turn left for a wild and crazy route to Wolf Creek and I-5. Turn right for more civilized riding to Merlin, Grants Pass, and I-5.

- TG

Rider Comments

"Love the site. But what you identify as Agness is Panther Creek Resort. To reach Agness, continue up river past FSR 23 across the bridge. Thence, to your left Agness waits in about 5 mi. To your right beckons Illahe from perhaps an equal distance up river, while straight ahead FSR 33 undulates enticingly up Mt. Agness with the promise of metropolitan Powers on the figurative horizon." - Mark Tierney - Bandon, Oregon

"This ride is outstanding, but leave time to get back. From Roseburg to Gold Beach and back can be done in one day." - Frank - Roseburg, Oregon

"Don't let the condition of the road keep you from taking this route. I ride an 1100 Yamaha 'cruiser' and Hate dirt... this is actually a one to one and a half lane, "mostly" paved road with a few "spots" of dirt; just go slow on the few dirt problemo.... it's well worth it... Friendly people at Agness and Panther...get some coffee, sit out on the deck and watch the Rogue River go by on it's way to the coast...." - Curt Kline - Roseburg, Oregon

"My wife and I rode this route east to west from Grants Pass to Gold Beach in August, 2007. What a thrill for a couple of Michigan "flatlanders". We've ridden coast to coast a couple of times and this is the most memorable of many beautiful roads. Also, I contend that my wife is braver than any man I know because she is the only person I know that would ride as passenger on F.R. 23." - Bob Schmidt - Macomb, Michigan

"Rode this on my GSXR1100 from Grants Pass to Gold Beach in about 2001. Amazing road. You are traveling a narrow one-lane wide road along a spine or ridge for a good part of it with breathtaking (no kidding) views in all directions! The dirt parts, where the road has fallen away, were a bit of trouble as was it being one lane but no one was rude, the traffic is low and there are occasional 50' long wide bits to arrange a pass. Highly recommended and will do it again soon!" - Roy Remus, Calgary Alberta

"Did this Saturday, the 7th of August, 2010. The first few miles are the same as 4 years ago, narrow, winding,, but the rest of the way to Agness from the Bear Camp overlook is getting real crappy. Instead of repairs they are simply cutting out the chip seal and leaving several feet of dirt/gravel. No problem if you're riding a dirt bike but on a heavy cruiser when you come around a corner and can't see the "change" due to the shade on the road; it gets real hairy. From the Agness R.V. park on to Gold Beach you're on two-lane with a center line but they've patched a bunch of it and have done a pretty miserable job of it. You can make better time than the road to Agness but you're not going to be comfortable especially hitting pot holes and lousy patch "edges". It's one of those "Well, won't have to do that again, but Im glad I did it at least once." - Curt Kline, Roseburg, Oregon

"Rode this on a HD Dyna Wide Glide August 16, 2010 going from Galice to Gold Beach. This is an incredible trip with beautiful vistas in all directions. The road for the most part is OK, but it does require paying attention. There are about a dozen or so gravel sections (from 20 to 300 feet long) and numerous sunken sections that you do not want to hit. Other than that the ride is superb. I will definitely be doing this one again." - Dennis Lowery, Eugene, Oregon

"A very scenic route to ride. The problem is the road is not being kept up and continues to degrade - easier to ride then drive however. Your biggest issue will be dodging the fast moving "pull out" passenger vans towing trailers for the drift boat trips. These guys are on a timeline and move quickly around the turns. Always have an escape route when rounding these turns and you'll be fine." - Will Antunes, Portland, Oregon

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