Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

McMinnville Erratic Rock Ride

A unique visitor to McMinnville Wine Country, the “Erratic Rock” is a 90-ton rock deposited during an Ice Age flood on the top of a hill – from which you can enjoy amazing valley views. This 18 mile out-and-back easy/moderate ride will also take you to historic McCabe Chapel and past Yamhill Valley Vineyards, the oldest winery in the region.

Ride Tips:

Here is an 18-mile ride from downtown McMinnville into the countryside. The destination is the famous Erratic Rock on SW Oldsville Road.

What is an erratic rock? Before setting out, consider this brief explanation.
A series of tsunami-like events during the end of the last Ice Age, labeled in geologic history as The Missoula Floods, occurred 18,000 to 15,000 years ago. Massive ice dams in what is now northern Montana repeatedly broke and reformed, and each break sent torrents of ice, water, boulders, gravel, and silt down the Columbia River and into this region. Those waters eventually drained leaving behind the sands, clay, and silts that make the Willamette Valley so fertile today.

Scientific consensus says the Erratic Rock, a 90-ton boulder set on the side of a hill, was “erratically” left by receding floodwater. It is composed of material that does not match anything else in this area. The rock itself is not much to admire; it’s a big rock. Look at it as a testament to the force of these floods and evidence of this region’s geologic history.

Navigation: Download this map to your Ride with GPS mobile app for turn-by-turn guidance during your ride. Click “Send to Device” at the top of the map on this page.

The Route: This ride heads west along 2nd Street before following residential streets and turning south to quiet, rural roads. Cyclists never contact the busy highway. The out-and-back configuration covers the 18 miles with less than 300 feet of elevation gain.

Start/Finish: The map shows this route starting at the McMinnville Public Library on 2nd Street. Street parking near downtown restaurants may be available east of Baker Street.

That Special Segment: Riders using Strava should look forward to the “McCabe Chapel Road Heading West” segment. It’s 1.4 miles along the trees with views to the west. The route follows McCabe Chapel Road in both directions.

Oasis: Farmer John’s Produce and Nursery provides a convenient stop at the 11-mile marker for cold drinks and some shade by the picnic tables. Consider returning by car to shop for made-in-Oregon fruits, vegetables, and hazelnuts.

Bathrooms: There’s a portable toilet at Farmer John’s. Public bathrooms may be open at City Park adjacent to the library.

Kid-friendly Cycling: This route includes a quiet, safe, neighborhood segment that features a half-mile, car-free bike trail. Families can modify the day’s plan to meet their needs.

Cautions: Most vehicle traffic will be experienced on SW Old Sheridan Road. While this may be considered a low-volume road, caution should be taken for two miles in each direction.
Road shoulders are limited throughout the ride.

Watch Out: There’s no shame in walking your bike. The paved quarter-mile path leading from SW Oldsville Road up to the Erratic Rock is narrow, bumpy, and very steep near the end when the grade approaches 20 percent. Watch out for others when the path bends 90 degrees halfway along. There’s a blind spot.

About this Route Evaluation: These notes are provided as general guidance but are not intended to replace each cyclist’s own research and due diligence. We encourage you to become familiar with the route. This route is subject to change.