FATMAP difficulty grade
Fox Hill Road to Rob’s Hill Road is one of the most logical gravel biking loops that depart directly from downtown La Grande.
This short but steep gravel loop begins with a brutally-steep climb that could even be a hike-a-bike for many riders, despite being on a maintained road.
Numerous signs warn cars of an impending 17% grade, and when you hit it on your bike… prepare to spend a few minutes cursing whoever decided this was a good way to build a road.
Many riders may find that their drivetrain gearing is too steep to allow them to climb this grade. Once up the main grunt, the grade mellows out considerably, and the road enters the national forest.
This section of the forest is truly gorgeous, with towering trees, pastureland, and the occasional meadow.
Where the trees open up, you’ll enjoy views of the rolling tree-covered Oregon mountains in all directions.
Without a single sign of civilization, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of absolutely nowhere—and that feeling is actually quite accurate. If you aren’t ready to finish the loop, you can extend the ride without adding too much strenuous climbing with either this option, this option, or both. The descent off the mountain down Rob’s Hill Road is fast and furious! Feather the brakes to ensure you don’t overheat your braking surface, because this descent is steep for a gravel road.
It can get squirrely in places, so exercise caution. The loop finishes with a section of Interstate riding, which could be sketchy.
The shoulder is wide, but pedaling down an Interstate with big rigs passing just a few feet away is less than fun, However, the upper section through the forest more than makes up for the challenging sections!