Palouse region / 28 miles / 1257 ft total climb
We kick off this ride on Brayton Rd to head out of town. I start out on Brayton for a lot of rides because it’s one of the fastest ways to get to gravel (it turns to gravel as soon as you get past the waste water plant), and it connects up nicely with a bunch of loops around Pullman and Albion. Follow Brayton about 3 miles out to Pullman Albion Rd and hang a right. About a mile east on Pullman Albion take a left onto Banner Rd.
Ride Banner for about 3.5 miles. Banner comes to a T at Palouse Albion Rd where you hang a right. After 2 miles on Palouse Albion you’ll see a Y and take a right onto Tate Cutoff Rd where you run into some larger railroad ballast kind of gravel, at least that’s what I found this time (conditions do change). Take Tate Cutoff for about 1.25 miles until you run into Parvin Rd and hang a right. Take Parvin up to Hwy 27. Make a right on 27 and ride it south about 2.3 miles to Estes Rd and take a left.
Ride Estes 3 miles then take a right on Whelan Rd. There’s a good little climb at the beginning of Whelan that I almost didn’t have the legs for. I was chilled and starting to feel a little gassed. And this was my first ride on the new 2020 Trek Checkpoint SL 7 (check out my first impressions of the bike) which doesn’t quite have as low a climbing gear as my old gravel bike. After the climb it’s a nice long descent. And the next 5 or 6 miles back are smooth and fast and partially paved. You’ll come back to Hwy 27 and hang a left, or cross 27 and hop on the newly opened section of multi-use path that’ll take you back into Pullman.
I liked this loop, but I might update it in the future to be a little less meandering, or maybe a little longer. I’ve been wanting to do a good Whelan Rd ride because it’s basically pronounced “wheelin” (enjoy this with me, nerds!) but I definitely want to spend less time on pavement, particularly Hwy 27. I was making a new route on a rainy day and was trying to avoid mud as best I could, so I skipped some roads I wanted to explore but didn’t know well. I was thinking about taking Lyle W Rd out to Lawson Rd, dropping down and taking Beeson Cutoff or McCoy and Trestle to get to Estes. But I think I heard that Lawson is dirt, and any number of the other little roads out there could be dirt, and when it’s wet Palouse dirt is impassable clay mud.