Palouse region / 28 mi / 2470 ft total climb
Here’s a ride for your Sunday! I parked the car at East City Park in Moscow to get this one rolling. In hindsight, I think Mountain View Park may have made a better starting point. It would cut a few miles from the route, but as I rode by on my way back into Moscow it seemed like a much larger park with more abundant parking. Whether you start at East City Park or Mountain View, make your way to Mountain View Rd and head north.
Take a right on Moscow Mountain Rd to start heading east towards the mountain. Moscow Mountain Rd is where the gravel begins. Stick to Moscow Mountain Rd all the way up the north side of Moscow Mountain. Basically all the climbing, and almost half the length of the ride is on Moscow Mountain Rd. About 4.5 miles in on Moscow Mountain Rd, at Gnat Creek winter parking area, the road doubles back and the climbing really begins. Most of the 2400 ft climb comes in about a 4 or 5 mile span as the route ascends Moscow Mountain. It’s a lot of climbing in a pretty short stretch. But most of the grades are relatively mellow, with only a few steeper double digit pitches.
Be aware: there are quite a few spur roads along the climb and few if any of them are well marked. It can get a little confusing. I highly recommend downloading a GPS map of the route and bringing it with you on your phone or bike computer to help you stay on track.
There are some great views off the north side of Moscow Mountain as you wind your way east. After about 9 miles on Moscow Mountain Rd you make the summit (about 4397 ft above sea level). Another mile and you come to a fork where Moscow Mountain Rd becomes Tamarack Rd and veers south while Hatter Creek Rd splits off to the northeast. Stick to Tamarack Rd and start your descent from Moscow Mountain.
The descent is steeper than the climb and the first few miles of Tamarack are pretty rough. I did this ride on a drop bar gravel bike, but a mountain bike may be more suitable depending on your preference, comfort and ability. After about 5 miles Tamarack terminates at Randall Flat Rd. Hang a right on Randall Flat to start heading west back toward Moscow. At about the 3.5 mile mark make a left on Robinson Park Rd. Ride Robinson Park Rd all the way to the park itself, about 2 miles. Then keep straight at the crossroads to stick to the gravel, and ride Darby Rd back to Mountain View Rd. Hang a left to head south on Mountain View, and ride right on into wherever you parked in Moscow.