Chasing Peaks in the Cascade Range: Part 1 – Ryan Wilson

Chasing Peaks in the Cascade Range: Part 1
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

It started last fall when I got my first taste of the Pacific Northwest on a one week road trip, riding in parts of Northern California and up into the Cascade mountains of Central Oregon. Immediately following that trip I started laying the groundwork for another trip that would span the entire range of the Cascades from California’s Lassen National Park to Washington’s Mount Baker, near the US/Canada border. 15+ days of volcanic peaks, lush rain forests, and tired legs.

Had to revisit one of my favorite stretches of road on earth...

The first major stop along the route was Lassen Volcanic National Park, which was probably the biggest surprise of last years trip, so I knew it would be a good place to revisit, and explore new areas. The majority of my stop in Lassen was on Highway 89, which squirms through the forest near Lake Manzanita to the Lassen Peak trailhead at 8,511ft (the highest pavement in the Cascades), surrounded by volcanic peaks, alpine meadows, and geothermal activity.

After stopping by Burny Falls, I was off for a spur-of-the-moment spin up some obscure dirt roads and what turned out to be an amazing stretch of pavement at Mt. Shasta. One of those, “Let’s see where this one goes” rides that turns into one of the best of the trip.

Up up up

The second major stop was Mt. Ashland in the southern end of Oregon. There is a perfectly nice paved road that will take you pretty close to the top, but I opted to plot out a course through some lesser known forest service roads that would lead all the way to the peak. The last 2 miles of this one is particularly memorable as the gravel road suddenly leaves the dense forest, and switches back steeply up the mountain before mercifully ending at 7,532ft.

Along Crater Lake Rim drive

Day three in Crater Lake National Park was always going to be one of my most anticipated of the trip. Last year I attempted this ride during the “Goverment Shutdown” of all National Parks, but when I rode up to the park entrance I got turned away by three park rangers and two police officers guarding the gate [insert rant here]. This year there was no one there looking to keep me out. The deep blue waters and massive scale truly lived up to all the hype, even if it would have been pretty rad to ride around this thing last year with the park completely empty.

Mt. Ashland
Crater Lake


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  • Sean Talkington


  • barry mcwilliams

    So, so amazing. Thx for sharing.

  • Matt Long

    amazing !

  • Bradley Tompkins

    AMAZING! Did you camp out? What bike did you ride?

    • rmdub

      Thanks! For this trip I had a lot of fairly specific spots I wanted to hit scattered across various areas of the PNW, and only 15 days, so it was basically a road trip with rides/hikes mixed in every day. I was on my Cervelo R3.

      • Bradley Tompkins

        Nice! So my R3 would be up for the job then. Already looking to do a trip come this fall.

  • stateofnonreturn

    Great photos again Ryan! #5 before Markleville after Luther Pass descend? I think I took a photo from the same spot, it’s like when you turn around and you realize you’re in a different landscape than a few minutes ago and it’s fascinating! Definitely going back this fall.

    • rmdub

      Thanks! Yep, that’s the one! Tons of great riding around there.

  • Morgan Taylor

    That’s the stuff right there.

  • Gábor

    You rode beautiful and exciting places. I realy like the the wide gravel roads. I want to be there.

  • PNT

    Love it! As always.

  • Ace Metric Cycles

    The water, wow!

  • AttackCowboy

    Any chance you’ll make a print of #34? I’d love to be able to stare at Wizard Island every day.

    • rmdub

      I may have something along those lines in the near future…

  • stefanrohner

    beautiful Ryan.

  • charlesojones

    I believe the first shot is Mt. Tom, above Bishop, CA. There’s a great road climb up that drainage to the right to Pine Creek Canyon.

    • rmdub

      It is! Three of my favorite climbs right at that one intersection at Pine Creek and the 395.

  • Keith Gibson

    incredible pictures.

  • -Steven

    The lighting on #s 29 and 26 is fantastic. Very well captured. The majesty of the mountains in that area compared to the surrounding landscape is very impressive.