Palouse region / 22 mi / 1391 ft total climb
For this route I wanted to try something a little different. It’s not a loop (gasp!). You can ride it as an out and back, if you’re feeling like tackling a very hilly 40+ miles. But if you want to ride it like I rode it, you’ll need to find a generous soul* to drop you off and/or scoop you up and shuttle you back to your rig.
Start this ride in the parking area of Kamiak Butte (butte #1). Bombing down Kamiak Butte Park Rd is a fun way to kick things off. Take a left on Fugate Rd at the bottom of the hill. After a few hundred feet, Fugate turns to gravel and offers a good straight stretch of decent sized rolling hills to get your legs warmed up. Ride Fugate for about 3.5 miles to S Palouse River Rd and take a right.
About 1.5 miles down S Palouse River make another right on Stueckle Rd. Ride Stueckle about 1 mile to Clear Creek Rd and make a left to head west for a little over 1000 feet then turn right on James Rd. Ride James north and a little east for about 3.5 miles to SR 272. Make a left to head west on 272 for 2000 feet or so, and look for Draper-Brown Rd to hang a right.
Ride Draper-Brown about 3.5 miles to Elberton County Park, the site of the old town of Elberton. All that’s left is a boarded-up brick building that looks like an old church or school house. There are some picnic tables and some little footpaths to explore, and an old train trestle over the Palouse River. It’s a nice place to take a break, if you need it.
Just after Elberton County park take a right on Bill Carson Rd and then take an immediate left on Joe Meyer Rd. Another 600 ft down Joe Meyer, hang a right on Elberton Rd and ride over the Palouse River. Just past the bridge take a left onto Omer-Brown Rd. Omer-Brown is a good little scramble up and out of the Palouse River valley, I think about 350 ft of climbing in the course of a mile. After that mile on Omer-Brown, take a left on Stern Rd.
Ride Stern about 1 mile to Dry Creek Rd, and hang a left. About 2000 ft down Dry Creek make a right on Cronk Rd to continue northish. Follow Cronk half a mile to a “Y” with Bishop Rd. Stay left to stay on Cronk for about another mile, then make a right on Hume Rd. Ride Hume 1.5 miles to Steptoe Butte State Park Rd and make a left. There’s a little parking and picnic area about a mile in on the park road. It’s a good place to meet your shuttle. You do need a $30 Washington State Discover Pass for motor vehicle access to the park.
At this point, if your legs are feeling fresher than mine were, you can ride another 4 miles up to the top of Steptoe Butte (butte #2) and enjoy the views and the final descent.
*Remember, cell reception can be super spotty on the Palouse (certainly is with AT&T), so plan with your shuttle person assuming you won’t be able to contact them from your ride.