Palouse region / 13 mi / 750 ft total climb
Here’s a short (and spooky) ride for the fall season. Leave the car at Albion City Park and make your way down East 3rd St toward North Main St. Take a left on North Main to head northeast out of town. North Main becomes Palouse Albion Rd after the last few houses on your left, about the time it turns to gravel.
Ride Palouse Albion about 2 miles to a fork in the road. Stay left at the fork to hop on Collins Rd. Climb for about a mile on Collins Rd to the crest of a big hill and you get a nice view toward Kamiak Butte. On another hill in the middle distance there’s a lonely stand of trees. That’s Pitts Cemetery.
Ride Collins for another mile and hang a right on Parvin Rd to head almost due east. After about a half mile on Parvin you come to another fork. Stay right this time to head down Tate Cutoff Rd about 1500 feet to where there’s an unmarked road on the left with a little bridge over Fourmile Creek under a couple of willow trees. This is Pitts Cemetery Rd, a little climb up some dirt double track.
Pitts Cemetery is what they call a pioneer cemetery. There are several scattered around the Palouse. It has, as you might expect, many old headstones from around the turn of the century. But what’s really fascinating is that Pitts Cemetery is one of the last remaining native grasslands on the Palouse. There are species of plants there that are basically extinct in the region. It’s a bizarre fragment, a vestige of a Palouse from before wheat went nuclear, a graveyard made kind of preapocalyptic oasis in a wheat wasteland. It evokes less fear, maybe. More pathos.
When you’re done basking in the gloom of Pitts Cemetery, head back down to Tate Cutoff Rd, and hang a left to continue south east. About a mile down Tate Cutoff, make a right on Palouse Albion Rd, hang your head low, and ride it all way back to Albion.