Best cycling in Oregon? Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways have the answer. Best of all, here at the Imperial River Company in Maupin Oregon we have the Sherar’s Falls scenic bikeway right in our back yard!
Oregon Scenic Bikeways
We’re lucky to live in the first state in the nation to designate official Scenic Bikeways. It is the first and only program of its kind in the United States. Since 2009, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has designated 17 Scenic Bikeways throughout Oregon, covering 1,253 miles. Scenic Bikeways are nominated by local communities and designated based on scenic quality, road conditions and general riding enjoyment.
Cycling in Maupin
As rain begins to befall Portland, Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest, Fall in Maupin is the perfect time to take advantage of our cooler, but still sunny weather. Maupin is tucked into the protective rain shadow of the Cascades, where we enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year and less than 6 inches of annual rainfall. Cycling is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the Deschutes River without feeling its icy splash in a raft!
Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway
Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway is a 33-mile paved road loop in north central Oregon that begins and ends in Maupin. The ride 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.
First, the route starts at the peaceful City Park in Maupin. Next, you’ll climb up through town and onto the high plateau between the Deschutes and White rivers. As you ride up, you’ll be rewarded with glimpses of the Deschutes rolling below. Here you’ll gain about 1,000 feet of elevation then swoop down into Tygh Valley surrounded by staggering rock formations. Below are some highlights you’ll encounter along the way.
White River Falls
Once you cross Highway 197, enjoy the relaxing rolling hills and take a break at White River Falls State Park. Here, the White River plunges 90 feet over a basalt shelf. The park offers excellent viewpoints of the White River falls. A rugged quarter-mile trail takes hikers down deep within the canyon. You’ll see the the historic hydroelectric power plant at the base of the raw, churning power of the falls. The power plant supplied electricity to Wasco and Sherman Counties from 1910 until the completion of The Dalles Dam in 1960. Picnic tables and bathrooms make this a perfect stop along the way.
Next, back on the road from White River falls, you will climb up then plunge 500 feet down below to the Deschutes river bed. You’ll parallel the river for the remainder of the ride, flanked on either side by breath taking rock plateaus as you drift through the valley. Finally you’ll encounter Sherar’s Falls, a sacred fishing ground has been used by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for thousands of years.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist, or just looking for a peaceful weekend getaway you should add this ride (or a portion of it) to your fall bucket list. Feeling inspired? Check out our 5 other top Oregon bike rides here.