Highway 47 - Spine of the Dragon

Smooth corners.
Tucked behind the quiet town of Clatskanie lies the twisties eleven mile stretch of road you'll find in the northwest. Fantastic, non-stop corners and little traffic have left many people believing that Highway 47 (also called the "Spine of the Dragon") is the crown jewel of the northwest. This twisty stretch of road connects the small town of Clatskanie to the tiny town of Mist and makes up part of the extensive network of excellent motorcycle roads on the Oregon Peninsula.

I would recommend hitting Highway 47 from Clatskanie and head South, the pavement tends to be smoother on the West side of the road and I think the corners are a little more fun this way as well. Heading up the hill out of Clatskanie you make a quick couple turns before you see a sign alerting you to twisty roads for the next eleven miles, this is a good thing. Immediately after this sign you have a couple corners before you have a 1/4 mile straight stretch, the longest you'll see.

Just a sample of the tight non-stop corners.

It doesn't take long to pass the last of the driveways and as you drop into forest the corners become fantastic. Visibility is lacking in most of the corners but that's half the fun once you get to know the road better. Traffic is usually light on Highway 47 but if you get behind someone they tend to wave you by. After a couple miles of awesome corners you come to my favorite stretch of the road with a 4 or 5 back to back "S" turns.

This corner is nearly identical to 4 others that follow it.

As you continue on Highway 47 you move into a more open forest and some clearcut areas. The first clearcut area is a great place to stop and take pictures as you can see a clear view of the valley you're following. Moving past the first clearcut you move into another set of "S" turns although this time there is a cliff on the side of the road just past a row of trees. A few more sets of corners and you down the hill into the town of Mist. There's basically nothing to do in Mist so take a picture to prove you were there and continue on.

Periodically the road opens up in clearcut areas. Past Mist there are tons of roads to explore. You can continue on Highway 47 and take a left after 6 miles or so onto Apiary Road or go another 4 miles after that and take a left onto Scappoose-Vernonia Highway towards Portland. If the coast is your eventual destination, Highway 202, Highway 6, Foss Road (depending on your bike) and Highway 53 are all possible routes.

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