Top 5 Oregon Bike Rides

Top 5 Oregon Bike Rides

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.

 

Imperial River Company, Maupin OR
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River
https://deschutesriver.com/
irc@deschutesriver.com
(541) 395-2404

 

 

Beautiful Spring Wildflower Hikes in Central Oregon

Best Spring Hikes in Oregon

Spring is a fantastic season for hiking and exploring the unique and beautiful landscape of Central and Eastern Oregon. The high desert climate of the Maupin area means that it’s often sunny and dry here, when our neighbors to the west are cloudy and soggy. Plus, the wide-open expanses are home to bright wildflowers (learn all about them in the Deschutes Land Trust’s Wildflower Guide), a plethora of birds, and other Instagram-worthy flora and fauna. Located just 2 hours from Portland, these hikes will make you feel like you’re a world away – without the jet lag.

Here are a few of our favorite wildflower hikes near Maupin:

Criterion Ranch: Exceptional Views

About 10 miles south of Maupin, Oregon, along U.S. 197, lies a tract of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management. Terry Richard of The Oregonian says the old Criterion Ranch may seem forlorn but actually provides sweeping vistas where hikers can enjoy watching wildflowers bloom in the spring. While it would be an easy walk down into the Deschutes River canyon below, climbing 2,000 feet for a return trip might not be so relaxing. Another option is to hike along the rim and make use of the plentiful rock outcroppings when you take a break to appreciate the gorgeous panoramic views of hills and rivers. This five-mile trek through a sage-covered old homestead is something even less experienced hikers will be able to appreciate.

Deschutes River Recreation Area: Three Trails in One

Visitors to the Deschutes River Recreation Area happily hike along the Atiyeh Deschutes River Trail, which runs parallel to the water. Fishermen, mountain bikers, and horseback riders similarly can’t resist this 3.5-mile trail that leads wilderness travelers into Gordon Canyon. For those seeking a more challenging hike, the Ferry Springs Trail runs along an abandoned railroad bed and extends nearly 17 miles upriver. In between Ferry Springs and Atiyeh is the Middle Trail. Savvy hikers enjoy following Ferry Springs until it crosses the Middle Trail, then following the Middle Trail back for a pleasurable 4.5-mile loop. Portland Hikers Field Guide offers a more detailed overview of the Deschutes River Recreation Area.

Macks Canyon: A Challenge for Hikers

Macks Canyon is an archeological site where a large prehistoric village once overlooked the Deschutes River. According to the BLM website, “[t]he site is characterized by shallow, circular, semi-subterranean house depressions, surface artifacts, and riverine shell deposits.” Starting from the north end of theMacks Canyon campground, hikers pass the signs forbidding motorized vehicles and head into four miles of rough terrain that take them to a series of sites where railroad trestles once crossed desert canyons. Each of the six trestle locations will require hiking into and out of the canyon, but the roughest stretches of trail can be avoided by staying on the river side of the railroad grade. When outdoor adventurers climb out of the last stretch of canyon, the trail smooths out for 7.4 relatively-easy miles and stunning vistas.

Maupin, Oregon: A Great Base for Hiking Adventure

With so many beautiful hiking options in the Maupin area, you’ll probably want to make a whole weekend of it. Contact the Imperial River Company to book accommodations for your next hiking trip along the beautiful Deschutes River.

 

Imperial River Company, Maupin OR
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River
https://deschutesriver.com/
irc@deschutesriver.com