2023 Giant Loop Ride at Crane Hot Springs

2023 Giant Loop Ride at Crane Hot Springs
Photography: Simon Cudby, Greg Samborski

The 12th Annual Giant Loop ride was the largest gathering of adventure motorcyclists this Oregon event had seen to date. Held at Crane Hot Springs near Burns, OR, this year’s ride welcomed nearly 650 participants.

The campout/rally took place on June 1-4 and was a tremendous success. Open to all road-licensed motorcycles, the events included rides with downloadable GPS tracks, more than 30 vendors—including Harley-Davidson, Triumph, and Choke— and demo rides offered by all brands. Guest speakers and ADV motorbike films rounded out the experience.

Among the provided amenities, participants got to enjoy dry camping, RV spaces, cabins and motel rooms, catered meals, and (of course) the wonderful hot springs.

As a volunteer staff member, I was in the front row to the excitement, joy, and community spirit of adventure motorcyclists.

Eastern Oregon Epic

Crane, OR, is the gateway to the Steens Mountains and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Just 21 miles south of Burns, many of the participants rode dual sport tracks to the event from various start points, while others trailered their bikes.

The diversity of riding terrain at the event locations was awesome. Riders could choose a different type of route for each day, venturing into the Steens Mountains, the Alvord Desert, the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, or many other diverse loops.

Beginner ADV riders had easy access to gravel roads and paved sections, whereas more seasoned riders could select more advanced trails and two-track stages.

Riders were encouraged to travel in groups and to prepare for various weather and trail conditions. The staff at Giant Loop, as well as the volunteer staff, posted GPS routes and maps on the event site. Giant Loop does not guide rides, so all participants are “on their own”—although safety and medical volunteer groups were naturally available.

One of my favorite loops was the Stinking Waters/Reservoir Loop, traversing an area with high-elevation views and beautiful canyon riding. One “contest” ride challenged riders to find the most fire lookout towers in the area.

The suggested rides are just that, though, and folks were free to select any routes.

Giant Loop founder, Harold Olaf-Cecil, presented swag prizes on Saturday night, June 3, recognizing riders who traveled the farthest, alongside the youngest and—of course—oldest riders. The vendors donated prizes and cheers and toasts were heard all around the big tent as raffle ticket winners accepted their winning.

Oregon BDR

On Friday night, Oregon native and BDR ambassador Nathan Fant presented and narrated the 2023 Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route )ORBDR) documentary film. In the big tent, riders were treated to the movie and Fant took questions about the ORBDR ride and film production.

This film is the 12th documentary in the series, showing the growth of adventure riding and BDR routes across the U.S. It was also announced that BDR is launching BDR X, a collection of shorter looping rides.

Until Next Year

Sunday saw smiling faces and dirty bikes roll out of the Crane Hot Springs after yet another great Giant Loop Ride. Giant Loop and USWE promise to bring more adventure riders together for 2024, as this sport and community grows.

My son and his riding friends are hoping to attend next year. I hope to show them this impressive experience and epic riding area.  

If you’d like to join us, make sure to book your tickets well in advance, ideally already in January. Next year’s event—preliminarily scheduled for May 30-June 2—is expected to draw in 1,000 riders, so tickets will sell out fast.

Giant Loop is an adventure motorcycling equipment manufacturer, based in Bend, OR. The company produces lightweight luggage options that can attach to every part of an adventure bike, in addition to the required mounting components and accessories. It recently expanded its product catalog with USWE hydration packs.