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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

Wolf Cr/Smith River Rd, Crow to Reedsport

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Ride Report

Date Reviewed: 04/05

Length: 63 miles

Technical Difficulty: Medium

Location: Starts on Territorial Road near mile post 25 (N43° 58' 54.06" and W123° 19' 27.16"). Ends via Lower Smith River Road a mile south of Gardiner and a mile north of Reedsport (N43° 42' 51.33" and W124° 05' 54.61").

Connects With: Smith River Rd, Territorial Rd, Siuslaw River Rd and Hwy 101.

Amenities: None.

Places of Interest: Smith River falls, ridge top views from Wolf Creek, and the road itself. Reedsport has information on elk viewing and nearby attractions.

Review: Motorcyclists who love back roads almost universally rate this as the best route to the coast. It offers some excellent mountain top views and fantastic river scenery. The beautiful Smith River Falls boasts a great picnic area that gets rather packed during fishing seasons. There are some tight second and third gear corners along with a few beautiful sweepers. Although the road seems tailor made for those who enjoy taking the bike out of vertical in a rarely patrolled area, cruisers seem to love it too.

The route manages to cover 4 roads with only one tricky junction. The roads are: Wolf Creek, Siuslaw, South Sisters, and Smith River. While the route looks disconcerting on a map, it really isn't that bad. This site marks the tricky turns. While quite a few paved side roads beckon riders off the correct route, sticking to the main road is not difficult.

Wolf Creek Road covers the first 12 miles. Starting with a fairly intense climb for the first two and a half miles, Wolf Creek's tire warming section is packed with 25 and 35 mph corners. Happily, all are well marked and there are no real surprises. The road straightens out into gentle sweepers during a slight 4 mile descent past houses and a strip of meadow. A sharp left hand turn and small bridge over Wolf Creek indicates another steep climb crammed full with tight turns. Pavement grip is excellent and most turns are well banked with good visibility. Wolf Creek saves the best for last where on a ridge run, riders can attain silly lean angles at relatively low speed. Road this good can't last forever and in a few miles Wolf Creek Rd becomes Siuslaw River Rd on a sharp right hand corner. With fantastic corners, two lanes, and little traffic, Wolf Creek is definitely the hooligan oriented part of this route.

About two miles west of this junction rests a Sheriff's Work Camp facility and the start of one lane riding. Stay left onto South Sisters Rd at the junction found just beyond the work camp for Reedsport and Hwy 101. A right hand turn results in a long trip to Hwy 126.

South Sisters Rd continues for 15 miles before being renamed Smith River Rd. Pavement in this section is the roughest of the ride. The road is narrower, the turns tighter, and expect some tree limbs. A delight to ride, this road boasts the third sharpest elevation gain on the trip. Don't commit to any lines before a turn's exit comes into view as it's rare not to find road debris somewhere in this section. The upside to road debris is that in areas, South Sisters Rd is completely shrouded with trees. In the spring it feels like riding through a tunnel of green.

Look for a very small Smith River Rd sign on the left about 15 miles after starting South Sisters Rd. Finding it almost requires setting the trip odometer even though from this junction on the route becomes less windy and the pavement a touch more maintained. A left turn on Smith River road results in a rather lengthy one lane trip to the town of Drain. The junction makes a great place to stop, chat, and allow slower riders in a group to catch up. Even though there are no turns made, South Sisters Rd becomes the beautiful Smith River Rd.

Smith River Rd offers some great sweeping turns cleverly designed to trick riders into hitting the tight ones a bit hot. There are a couple camp sites complete with restrooms and a beautiful little falls. Car traffic doubles west of the falls and the road eventually accommodates the traffic with two lanes. As coastal routes go, this one takes a backseat to none.

Rider Comments:

"I really enjoy this section of road, and I think that you should let other riders know about the Siuslaw River road that starts at the forest work camp (the Alma junction - there used to be a large wooden sign with a map at this spot - but only the posts remain). You need to take a right and continue up this road - it follows the Siuslaw all the way to Hwy 126. The pavement is good, but there is quite a bit of debris in the road, and the good possibility of encountering some furry friends along the way. There are several restroom and camping areas, and traffic is almost non-existent up to the last 8 miles of this stretch. From Veneta it makes a loop that is about 65 miles. One of my favorite rides... I ride an '05 650 V-Strom - my friend on a CBR thinks that this road is a little rough for him, however." - Brian Bangs, Corvallis, Oregon

"Wolf Creek Road is one of my favorite places to ride. It's well maintained and has some nice banked curves with some elevation change as you head up towards the top of Wolf Creek Road. Another option is to come from Territorial Hwy in Lorane via the Siuslaw River Road - about 20 miles to the intersection with Wolf Creek Road. The Smith River area is begging to be explored." - Steve Liu, Eugene, Oregon

"I took this route early on a Saturday morning, and had it all to myself for probably 45 miles or so in the middle section. Great twisties in the beginning, and a nice quiet scenic ride throughout - a great back road way to get to the coast. From here I took the 101 up to Florence, and then took Highway 36 back to Eugene. It took about 5 hours total, a great ride! Fantastic website!" - Ron Bullard, Eugene, Oregon

"This is an excellent ride, no matter where you start from, where you end up, or how you choose to go, because there are many options. My husband and I have been over this road many many times and it's always a beautiful ride. And, a note - the wooden map just west of the Sheriff's Forest Work Camp is back and freshly painted." - Nan Dey, Eugene, Oregon

"Rode this today (10/01/2008) from Gardiner to Wolf Creek and it was even better than I remembered. Conditions were good. Only two places where the surface was covered in a little gravel. One branch overhanging the road, and a few places with rock fall." - Steve Liu, Eugene, Oregon

"Report date 5-9-2009: Wolf Creek was fantasic: clean pavement and twisting... Smith River Road was dry with typical leaf mulch on shoulders for this route. (Much of Smith River is one lane and has two to four feet of leafy debris on both shoulders, narrowing the pavement to a car width. There were six corners with large rocks, (read big enough that you can't move), on the road, (only one that spilled all the way across). Provided that you're riding this at moderate speeds this shouldn't present a problem, perhaps faster but many of these corners would be difficult if you were to meet another vehicle." - David Dodge, Harrisburg, Oregon

"This is a route often taken by bicycle riders as well. Please be aware that cyclists often can not hear motor vehicles from behind due to wind noise, and are easily blown off track by fast moving passing traffic. Give us a little beep on the horn to let us know you're there so we can move over if need be. Thank you for sharing the road." - Kathryn, Eugene, Oregon

"7/24/2011. Follow the excellent instructions and you'll have no problems with this route. Miss a key intersection and spend a half hour gingerly sliding your street bike down an incline of loose rock. Beautiful ride on an excellent road." - Mike Schuyler, Corvallis, Oregon

"Siuslaw River Rd is now documented." - [Ed.]

Oregon Motorcyclist - Motorcycle Roads in Oregon

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