September 23rd, 2020

Getting Out: Ride the Youngberg Hill Loop

The view across the Yamhill Valley from atop Youngberg Hill is stunning. On a clear day, you can see for miles.

Getting up there by bike is 99 percent fun and 1 percent hard work. OK, perhaps that is an optimistic estimate. The road up to the Youngberg Hill Inn and Winery is steep. Really steep.

If you make it to the top of the road to Youngberg Hill Winery & Inn,
you’ll be one of the chosen few!
Photo credit: Carla Shryock

But no matter how you reach the top, you will conclude the effort was well worth it. Stop into the winery and taste the fruits of the Bailey family’s efforts. Ask about vacancies at their popular inn.

And while the destination may be your goal, it is just as important to enjoy the bike ride that gets you there. The Youngberg Hill Loop is one of my favorite McMinnville-area bike rides. It is flat and easy most of the time and the few remaining hills are manageable.

That final stretch, the mile-long driveway up to the winery, is difficult. The path is so steep, in fact, that owner Wayne Bailey awards a prize to anyone who can ride all the way up.

“We encourage cyclists to bike up our hill and if they can make it all the way to the top without their feet touching the ground, they get a bottle of wine,” Wayne recently told me.

I took Wayne’s offer as a challenge last month, pushing my way up four short, steep sections. Breaking out of the lower trees, I could see the inn on top of the hill. I visualized Wayne handing me that well-deserved bottle. The final 100 meters, however, were too much. I eventually came to a standing stop seemingly within reach of the summit. My shoe touched the pavement, my illusions of wine vanished.

Looking over my shoulder to the valley below, I quickly realized the effort was worth it.

How to Get There

Start in downtown McMinnville. Be sure to take water and something to eat during the ride. Follow this route ( – you can download it to your phone – across the Linfield College campus and into the countryside. This is a flat, easy ride until you reach Youngberg Hill Road. Even then, the ride is not difficult … until you reach a sign directing your right turn toward the inn and winery.

There’s no shame in walking the bicycle when the need arises. And, the downhill glide when you leave is spectacular.

Once back on the main road, the route continues south. Notice the small, white church on your right. That’s McCabe Chapel established in 1886. History buffs might enjoy the backstories of both the church and its namesake, Charles Cardwell McCabe.

Continue another three miles and arrive at the Erratic Rock State Natural Site. Check the website before you go to discover how the great Missoula Floods pushed this giant boulder 500 miles to its final resting place.

Returning to Town

Follow the route in reverse or shorten the ride by turning right on SW Masonville Road. In the end, you will return downtown where good food and drink await.

Dan Shryock

Dan Shryock regularly writes about McMinnville and Yamhill County. He is training for his second attempt to summit Youngberg Hill later this summer.