Odyssey of the VOG: Southern Tier Weekender
Beginning at the startline of the Grand Depart route just outside of Salem, the Mini-VOG: Southern Tier Weekender criss-crosses the the coastal range of the Pacific Northwest on quiet logging roads, offering up a challenging weekend-sized route for those wishing to experience some of the most challenging climbs and segments of the Odyssey of the VOG route without investing an extended number of days.
The Odyssey of the VOG (Valley of the Giants) gets its name from the 51 acres of massive old growth forest found on the North Fork Siletz River at the western edge of Polk County. Most of these huge trees are Douglas-firs, with a few large western hemlocks as well, many of which are close to 500 years in age.
The Mini-VOG: Southern Tier Weekender allows riders the opportunity to visit this hidden gem and visit these 500-year old giants. We hope that people will park their bikes at the trailhead (while we’ve only met friendly hikers at the trailhead, it never hurts to bring a lock) and do the short hike around this special and seldom visited old-growth forest.
In addition to the Valley of the Giants hike, there is one additional hike included in this route: the Niagara Falls Trail is another seldom-used trail that leads users down to two beautiful 100-foot waterfalls. The trail sees little usage and is a great opportunity to stretch those burning quads out if you’re knocking this route out over a weekend.
While both weekender routes offer their own set of challenges, the Southern Tier definitely divvies out a higher dosage. Its monster climbs, primitive terrain, and longer distance make it the more challenging weekender of the two and is only recommended for experienced bikepackers. While we call it a weekender, this trip may be more suitable over 3 or 4 days for recreational riders. But just like the Northern tier, the Mini-Vog: Southern Tier Weekender is a diverse riding opportunity that showcases the rural Willamette Valley, the rugged coast range, and the expansive Oregon Coast, all within the span of 180 miles.
Overall Difficulty: 6/10
While this route is quite physically demanding with a LOT of elevation gain, it has a resupply point (Hebo - Mile 120), an abundance of water, and some highway bailout options.
Technical Difficulty: 6 - This route has very little washboard and most of the riding is predictable forest road tarmac or gravel. The exception is between miles 71-76, where the ‘gravel’ can be unpredictable and primitive. It’s about a 65/35 gravel to pavement ratio,
Physical Demand: 7 - While not technical riding, the Mini-VOG Southern Tier has multiple 2,000+ foot climbs that can really catch up to you after a while. It is definitely a route for people accustomed to hour+ climbs multiple times throughout a day’s ride.
Resupply: 3 - The town of Hebo has a market and other small conveniences, and there are streams and rivers throughout the ride. Resupply should not be a problem for most riders.
Seth and Ben are the sole creators of the Odyssey of the VOG Triple Crown of routes. They spent hundreds of hours pouring over maps (#ridewithgps), riding into deadends and rerouting, checking in with timber companies about land use, and the list goes ever on and on.
Recommended Number of Days: 2-4
Rideable: 100% (in theory)