Oregon is full of scenic routes for cyclists, ranging from wide-open high desert to dense and lush forests, snow-capped mountain peaks to the rocky coastline. We’ve picked our top five rides in Oregon for you to enjoy.
Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway
The landscape around the Lower Deschutes River is spectacular, and the Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway should be at the top of your list to ride this season. This 33-mile loop shows off the best of the high desert, with views of the raging Deschutes River, towering Mt. Hood, and seemingly endless plateaus of wheat fields and natural high desert terrain. Keep an eye out for mule deer, pheasant, and big horn sheep. If you’re a serious cyclist, you might consider entering the Deschutes River Valley Time Trial Stage Race, which takes place the last weekend in April each year.
Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway
While you’re in Maupin, zip over to Madras for another Central Oregon Scenic Bikeway experience. This 30-mile loop offers amazing views of Oregon’s volcanoes and agricultural and pastoral scenery. On this route, riders will pass through the towns of Culver, Metolius and Madras. Each location offers a variety of amenities, including food, water and sanitary facilities. Look for Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, the Three Sisters and other beautiful snow-capped peaks. Riders cruise on a smooth, paved road with several gravel overlooks above The Cove Palisades State Park and Lake Billy Chinook. These overlooks are great places to see eagles, raptors, deer and even snakes or lizards. Madras offers some great lodging options so you can stay in the area a bit longer. Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway is a sure bet in Central Oregon.
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
Built in 1916, some call the Historic Columbia River Highway the most beautiful highway in the world. What used to be the main driving route across the top of Oregon is now a pedestrian and bike-only 38-mile path that winds along the stunning Columbia River Gorge to show off views of the river, cascading waterfalls, and quiet moss-covered forests. Most people ride the portion between Hood River and The Dalles where there is a paved bike-pedestrian connection. Start at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and take off through the Mosier Twin Tunnels for a bike route that starts in the high desert and ends in lush, dense forest.
Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway
For a low-traffic route and valley views, try the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. The route starts at Champoeg State Park and wanders for 130 miles. You’ll see the serene Willamette River, Willamette Mission State Park, and several historic buildings. There are plenty of places to stop along the way in the quaint towns that dot the trail, including Independence, Coburg, and Brownsville. This route is actually Oregon’s first Scenic Bikeway and it’s been a favorite route of cyclists for over a hundred years.
Rim Drive at Crater Lake
If you’ll be biking in Southern Oregon, you’ll want to complete the Rim Drive loop at Crater Lake. You’ll enjoy 33 miles of volcanic crater views as you navigate around the circumference of the lake. The loop is at 7,000 feet above sea level and has several tough hills, but there are ample scenic overlooks along the way to stop, rest, and take in the views. Although Crater Lake is a bit remote, you can start and stop your ride at the historic Crater Lake Lodge where you’ll find food, souvenirs, and a bed for the night if your ride tires you out.
No matter where in Oregon you choose to cycle, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.