Steel Bridge to The Old Railroad Grade
About The Steel Bridge to The Old Railroad Grade
The Old Railroad Grade is the route of a railroad that once traveled from the Willamette Valley to a town that no longer exists deep in the Coast Range (Valsetz). This is a relatively easy out-and-back route with 16 miles and 900' of climbing, and is 100% unpaved.
Starting location: The Steel Bridge (see location). This is a classic steel truss bridge located 5 miles northwest of Fort Hoskins. There is room for several cars to park on the north side of the bridge.
Distance & drive time (from downtown Corvallis) (see route): 24 miles; 33 minutes
RWGPS route map: 16 miles, +900'; 100% unpaved
Limitations on public access: This route uses private timber company roads that are subject to limits on public access and fire season restrictions and closures. This area is most likely to be open between Mid-September and early July. Non-motorized travel and passenger vehicles are allowed 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunrise. The following activities or vehicles are prohibited: Camping; fires; electric bikes; motorcycles; ATVs; target shooting; trapping.
Land ownership: Hancock Forests controls the gate where Wildwood Road meets the Old Railroad Grade (at the 1 mile mark on this route) and is the major landowner around the Old Railroad Grade and Rock Creek Road.
More information: I published a route on the MTB Project that includes this route. See: Fort Hoskins to Valsetz.
Places on the route
The Old Railroad Grade: The Valley & Siletz Railroad operated from roughly 1920 to 1980 between the towns of Independence and Valsetz. Valsetz was a timber company town that was established in 1919 and was decommissioned and destroyed in 1984.
The Steel Bridge: This is a classic steel truss bridge located 5 miles northwest of Fort Hoskins (see location).
Ride with GPS route map
Additional route options
If you start this route at Fort Hoskins, add 10 miles and 170' of climbing.
If you continue north on The Old Railroad Grade you will reach Valsetz in 5 miles. An out-and-back would add 10 miles with about 1000' of climbing.
At mile 1.7, you can take the road on the left and go 1.5 miles along the west bank of the Luckiamute River, before returning to the main route.
Active logging operations: These areas are subject to active logging operations, which means you could encounter log trucks. Such activity typically occurs during the work week, and less so on weekends, particularly on Sundays. If you hear a log truck approaching, get off the road and wait for it to pass. This is for your own safety and in recognition that you are a guest on private property.
Log truck gravel: Most of these roads have reasonable sized gravel much of the time. For that, I recommend a minimum recommended tire width of 40mm. However, these roads are subject to being freshly graveled with big and loose gravel from time to time. For this kind of gravel, you likely will be happier on tires that are at least 2" (~50mm) wide.