Day Rides – Part 1

Day Rides – Part 1

Day Rides - Part 1

For this year's BMW MOA Rally in Redmond, the third time we’ve been to Redmond, we’re hoping to take you to some familiar places along with some new places.  We’ve been scouring Google Maps since last year finding things we never knew were around Redmond and dreaming of sweeping road rides to scenic places in the high desert region of central Oregon.

Here are descriptions for two of our day rides, Cove Palisades Kahneeta Loop and Crooked River Loop.  You can find all of our day rides, including the off-pavement rides here:

Cove Palisades Kahneeta Loop

Redmond sits on a high plateau, surrounded by mountains and rugged river canyons. Consequently, while some destinations are a short ride away (Peter Skene Ogden Viewpoint; Richardson’s Rock Ranch; Smith Rock State Park) others offer the chance to really explore the terrain and enjoy the best of Oregon roads. Case in point: The Cove Palisades Kahneeta Loop. This 225-mile route traces the rugged Deschutes River Canyon before dropping into the heart of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. 

The clockwise loop follows US 97 north. At the 11-mile mark, exit to marvel at the Ogden Viewpoint overlooking the aptly-named Crooked River. Back on the road, follow the signs to Culver. East of Culver, you have options: continue north towards Cove Palisades Resort, or head east along the length of Lake Billy Chinook, crossing two versions of the Jordan Bridge, before turning around at the Chinook Store, near the 36-mile mark. This gives you another chance to enjoy the hairpins along the east side of the lake before you climb out of the canyon. 

Just beyond the 45-mile mark, look for Mountain View Drive and turn left (north). You’re zipping along the bluff now. But don’t get carried away; you’ll want to scoot down to Round Butte Overlook Park for another view of the massive Deschutes River canyon and the dam below. This is a special stop; the view is gorgeous and eagles and ospreys ride the thermals above. Portland Gas & Electric built the park and it includes a diorama explaining the history of the human and wildlife in the region. 

Back on the bike, the fun ramps up as you scoot along another canyon edge above Lake Simtustus. Be careful: the road is narrow and blind corners abound. Eventually, you’ll merge again with US 26 at the 65-mile mark, but briefly. Gas up in Warm Springs, then follow the signs to Kahneeta. Kah-Nee-Ta is a destination in transition; the Warm Springs Indians ran a casino and resort that was a favorite destination for Portlanders in the 1970s and ‘80s. But the casino moved to the highway’s edge, starving the resort. A renewed version featuring the many hot springs along the Warm Springs River is scheduled to reopen this summer. 

That’s what will bring the tourists back to the area later this summer. You’re lucky to be out here before tourists arrive. The next forty miles are spectacular canyons and sweepers. Have a ball, but keep any eye out for livestock on the road. At about 107 miles, you’ll find gas at the northernmost point on the ride and again at Maupin, twenty more miles down the road. Here you’ve got another choice: US 197 will return you to Redmond. But if you’re looking for more, turn left on Bakeoven Road. The first five miles are a spectacular spiral back out of the canyon; the next thirty-five are smooth sweepers across the high plain. 

Bakeoven tees into US 97, the road back to civilization. Before surrendering, take a quick left and pop into the near ghost town that is Shaniko for a hard ice cream cone at Goldies. Return to US 97 and glide home. Or you can follow OR 218 to Antelope and OR 293 to meet US 97 farther south. 

One last side trip down US 26 affords the opportunity to visit Smith Rock State Park. Known as a rock-climbing mecca the world over, it’s worth a visit for just the view and perhaps, even a short hike. Then again, perhaps another day without a 225-mile motorcycle ride. 

Crooked River Loop

The shortest of our local paved rides, this gem of a journey follows the Crooked River south of Prineville to Bowman Dam, which holds back the Prineville Reservoir. Perhaps you’ll interrupt your ride with a stop for historical perspective at the Bowman Museum, located on the corner of 3rd and Main in downtown Prineville. 

Crooked River Canyon rises about ten miles south of town. Farm valley gives way to just the river and the road as you make your way south to Bowman Dam. Along the way, supplement your ride with a hike to Chimney Rock, 1.3 miles from the trail head.

At the dam, many turn around and enjoy the canyon all over again. GS riders might ride to the western bluff to view the canyon and dam from the dirt (see the Prineville Dam Overlook Ride). Continuing south on the Crooked River Highway (OR 7) will get you to a major thoroughfare (US 20) though pavement turns to gravel for the last 17 miles of the 22-mile segment.

Instead, our route curls west back toward civilization, a fun ride but without the canyon walls. Millican Road will take you directly back to the top of the route. We recommend you continue into Alfalfa, turning north on Johnson Ranch Road. A general store and restaurant can be found at Brasada Ranch. From here, all lanes lead back to OR 126, the road to Redmond. All in, a perfect 117-mile loop to round out Friday or Saturday afternoon after a morning of rally gazing.


Ride with GPS is a great way for the MOA to share and distribute maps, GPS routes and turn-by-turn instructions. As with any great service, some best practices in the form of tips and tricks are in order.

  • Each route in Ride with GPS is equivalent to a track in the world of Garmin GPS units and BaseCamp software. So for all the routes, make sure you get the entire collection of routes in Ride with GPS.
    • Ride with GPS allows you to download many different GPS files types, including GPX, for the BMW Navigator series and other Garmin productsWhen downloading GPX files, only download the "GPX Track" version.
    • The "GPX Route" version will leave you at the mercy of the settings on your Garmin GPS, and will take you off the planned route and maybe to unexpected places and road conditions.
  • Once you have the "GPX Track" version loaded on your device and want turn-by-turn navigation, convert the "track" on your Garmin GPS to a "trip."
  • If you don’t have a dedicated GPS device and use your phone for navigation, Ride with GPS also has a number of file formats to work with various navigation apps for phones.
  • Ride with GPS also has its own phone app that will also help guide you! Download now for Apple iOS or Android.

Still Unsure How You’re Getting To Redmond?

If you’re thinking about the Eisenhower Interstate System, then take a look at our Interstate Not So Bliz! article on the BMW MOA Rally website for links that should make the interstate travel less of a drone.