Run Along The Pend Oreille + ADD NEW ROUTE
42 in Washington Washington36 Miles
By D. Jones
on May 1, 2008
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Get yourself up to Usk, WA (way up in the northeast corner of Washington) and cross the bridge to the east side of the river and take an immediate left on Leclerk Rd. Just stay on this for about 32 Miles till you run into WA Road 9345 where you will take a left and an immediate right (BEFORE you cross the bridge) on to Box Canyon Road (there is a sign there for the road - you can't miss it). Follow Box Canyon Road for about 3 miles until it turns to gravel where I ended this great run.
If I could have given this route a 4.5 I would have as it's very pretty but not "blow you away pretty." The real beauty of it though is based on the fact that it's a nice lonely road surrounded by beautiful scenery. I live in the Yakima area and had taken many trips up to the Kettle Falls area to do the run along the Columbia River. However I wanted to try something different and I saw in a Washington State Visitors guide that the "International Selkirk Loop" was named by Sunset magazine as the "West's best scenic drive." I looked up that route and headed up to the part of Washington state where some of the route was located (that route is huge and goes into Canada and Idaho, etc). I rode a section of that loop along the west side of the Pend Oreille river and was actually disapointed. On a whim I decided to try the east side of the river by heading over on a bridge at the town of Usk, WA. I'm really glad I did because I found a very nice ride! You'll be traveling along a road that snakes between the "Pend Oreille" River (pronounced "pond o-ray") and a mountain range to the east. I was up there in May and it was as green as Ireland and teaming with wildlife ... in my one trip I saw 4 deer, a brown bear, and a buffalo farm of some kind. The route starts out in the Kalispel Indian reservation and within pretty thick forests and periodically yet consistently opens up so you get views of the river. Later as you head north the scenery gets even better with some beautiful pasture land and great river views. Then you'll descend into a beautiful box canyon for a short but sweet run ... make sure you stop when the road turns to gravel and take in the great river scenery with the canyon wall back drop. Some lucky folks have nice homes perched on the few buildable patches of land along the river. A few miles into the run it opens up a bit
I would have to say the quality of the road surface is just OK ... nothing bad but seems like it's been a while since it was paved. The road fun quality is OK but not above average until you get to the section of this ride that travels along the "Box Canyon Road" ... that section is much more twisty with a consistent elevation changes. One note: The Pend Oreille has roads that run the length of the river on both the east and west side. When I looked on the map I thought that the path on the west side (WA Route 20) of the Pend Oreille would be nice too but it was not! That road was far enough away from the river that you spent a lot of time traveling on straight boring roads with no sight of the water or wildlife. I would definitely recommend you take the roads on the east side of the river! A brown bear I saw along the way
Well, what can I say - you won't want to take this route if you're looking for things to stop at and do along the way ... this is one of those rides you take just because you want to get away from people while riding your motorized pony through some great Montana mountain scenery!
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Nickname (optional) : D. Jones