5. Early Routes‎ > ‎

052.110 Maryhill

The Maryhill Loops Road was an experimental road in south central Washington, United States, built by Good Roads promoter Samuel Hill with the help of engineer and landscape architect Samuel C. Lancaster. Climbing the Columbia Hills from the Columbia River and Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway to his planned Quaker utopian community at Maryhill, Washington. Built in 1911 as the first asphalt road in the state, and bypassed by the present U.S. Route 97 after World War II, the road achieved low grades with horseshoe curves. The design became the model for the Figure-Eight Loops on the Historic Columbia River Highway in Oregon, designed by Lancaster several years later. The road is now owned by the Maryhill Museum of Art.

The road is closed to public motor vehicle traffic but is open to pedestrians and bicycles. The Maryhill Museum of Art rents use of the road for private events by automobile, motorcycle, bicycling, and longboarding clubs. The yearly International Downhill Federation World Cup Series downhill longboarding and street luge event is held there.

Wikipedia: Maryhill Loops Road

In Feb 1913, at Hill's own expense, he brought the entire Oregon Legislature -- 88 men -- out to his Maryhill ranch for a gala event.  At this gathering Hill showed-off the experimental roads that he had been building on his ranch with his personally contracted road engineer, Sam Lancaster. 

Together they displayed state-of-the-art grading and paving techniques used to construct the "Maryhill Loops."  Hill's tenacious boosterism succeeded.  Soon thereafter the legislature approved funding for the Columbia River Highway and hired Sam Lancaster to design the project.

Cook, Curious Gorge 218 - 219

Mt. Hood Across the Gorge
Mt. Hood Across the Gorge. Columbia River Gorge, Washington. February 9, 2013.
Copyright © 2013 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved

...the historic Maryhill Loops Road was the first macadam asphalt-paved road in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to the construction of US 97, it served as the only road between the Columbia River and Goldendale, Washington.

Historically, it was part of a larger road that encompassed several miles over which seven different experimental roads were constructed. It rises 850 feet in a series of 25 curves, eight of them hairpin turns, at a grade of 5%. In 1998, a 3.6 mile section of the road was completely refurbished and received the Outstanding Project of Historical Significance Award from the American Public Works Association, Washington State Chapter.


Sunset From Maryhill
Columbia River Gorge, Washington. October 17. 2011.
Copyright © 2011 A. F. Litt, All Rights Reserved


This appears to be an annual event.  For more information: 

The historic Maryhill Loops Road, one of the first modern roads in the Northwest, is opened for automobiles only twice a year. This is your chance to take a spin past the beautiful scenery and through the road’s eight hairpin curves. Free on the historic Maryhill Loops Road, located just east of US 97 off of State Route 14.

Maryhill Festival of Speed

...Maryhill Loops Road, a 2.2-mile squiggle like a strand of wet spaghetti, with more twists and turns than the plot of a Dan Brown novel as it runs toward the Columbia River Gorge.

Permanently closed to vehicular traffic, the road hosted the annual Maryhill Festival of Speed, a prestigious downhill skateboard race that attracted 200 of the world’s best racers. With helmets and leather suits for protection, competitors move at more than 45 miles per hour in packs reminiscent of short-track speedskating, leaving little margin for error.

Higgins, Matt. "Skateboarding Glides Into New Phase." The New York Times. July 21, 2010. Accessed Online December 3, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/sports/21longboard.html?scp=1&sq=maryhill%20loops&st=cse&_r=0

Spectators - FREE TO THE PUBLIC: Come and watch 250 of the world’s fastest Downhill Skateboarders and Street lugers (from 24 countries) battle it out on the 2.2 mile, 22 corner “world famous” historic Maryhill Loops Road.
Enjoy Spectator Sections: Several areas to see all the hot racing action, great viewing from the Action Sports Festival Area or at the world famous Cowzers corner (5 minute hike), or you can hike (or try to catch the athlete shuttle) to the top or all the hairpin corners in between.
Half Pipe Competitions Watch top athlete battle it out for best trick each day!
Action Sports Exhibits: Looking for the latest action sports equipment, come check out all the vendor booths.


CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway

Video (By Others...)


Wikipedia: Maryhill Loops Road



Maryhill Festival of Speed

The New York Times: Skateboarding Glides Into New Phase