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Grizzly Mountain Ride Preview

Grizzly Mountain Ride Offers Ten to Eighty Miles Of Fun

The Grizzly Mountain Ride on April 21, 2018 has been a fixture on the Northwest riding calendar since 1999. Darlene and Max Merlich are the second set of ride managers to coordinate this staple event. The event offers rides from a ten mile trail ride up to an 80 mile Test Your Mettle Relay.

The ride is located in Central Oregon, a few miles outside of Madras. The footing is mostly two track dirt roads, single track trail and a small amount of gravel roads. We checked in with Ride Manager, Darlene Merlich, to get the lay of the land.

What makes this ride special?

The Grizzly Mountain Ride is special because it’s an early spring ride. There is plentiful grass, some natural water, and amazing mountain views! Another bonus to this ride is the catered dinner on Friday night by Landmark Catering! Lots of communing goes on around the fire pit.

Why should a new rider try Grizzly as their first ride or an experienced rider add it to their list?

A new rider should try Grizzly as their first ride because the managers take the time to make sure the trail is well marked (ribbons, lime, signs and gps tracks made available), there is plentiful water available on the trail. We feed our riders Friday and sometimes Saturday evening, and there is a very friendly to new people/riders atmosphere at this ride!

The Grizzly Mountain Ride is a great ride for those that have ridden many rides before because it takes place in the spring when horses are still fuzzy and maybe not quite in “race” shape. The easily navigated terrain at this ride makes it a great “conditioning” ride. The weather is generally ride friendly and most folks can finish even the 75 miler in the daylight hours.

What surprises might riders encounter given the location?

There is a possibility that the range cows will be turned out before the ride takes place. If this happens, there are lots of gates to go through. We do our best to find people to “man” the gates, but if we’re short of volunteers, riders will need to open and close gates. There are also highway crossings since the bulk of the ride takes place on the west side of Hwy 26 and ridecamp is on the east side of Hwy 26. Because this is a desert ride, there are plenty of views of the Cascade Mountain range.

The Loops?

This year we are having a 26 mile ride as our shorter distance. This will be a single loop with an out vet check somewhere around 14 miles. The outcheck will be a 45 minute hold for the short distance riders. You’ll be on what we call the Rimrock Loop. The 50 milers will be doing the same Rimrock Loop, then the newly named Scales Loop, and finishing off on the Tribby Loop.
We’ve added in the Warner Loop for the 75 milers, and the Test Your Mettle Relay riders will be riding the Warner Loop, then the Scales Loop, and they’ll finish off on the Tribby Loop.

The map files will be made available as soon as we’ve accurately verified the miles. We are asking riders to download the Gaia GPS app on their smartphones. GPX files will also be made available for riders using Garmin type GPS’s.

What distances are offered and how much is it?

Ride Distance Cost* Start Time
10 mile Trail Ride $25 TBD
30 miles $90 TBD
50 miles $100 TBD
75 miles $115 TBD
Test Your Mettle Relay 80 mi $180 TBD

*Juniors are $25, PNER members take $10 off. 50% Ride Manager Discount to all PNER Ride Managers.

Want to jump in and join Darlene and the crew at Grizzly Mountain? You can download the ride flyer HERE (Grizzly Mtn Flier 2018-1), visit the website, or contact Darlene Merlich at or call 503-784-5337.



In keeping with the Start Ready, Finish Proud motto, Grizzly Mountain will also be hosting a mini-clinic on the Friday of ride weekend.

Rider Option Pull Codes presented by Lois Fox.

Tentative time: 4 pm, Friday, April 20, 2018

How well do you know what’s normal for your horse?  In this clinic we will talk about how and when we make decisions during an endurance ride.  What can you learn from a pull?  We will clarify what the pull codes mean and how they should be applied.  It’s a rare horse with more than a few completions in his career to have no pulls.  It’s a myth that any horse can do endurance with the correct preparation.  EDRA has the motto :START READY, FINISH PROUD”, which is what this mini clinic is all about!


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