2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program. The program currently boasts 17 routes, each one vetted by agency personnel for being not only beautiful, but also safe for cyclists and that add value to small rural communities throughout the state. If you’re looking for a true Oregon experience – look no further!
About the Program
Oregon has long been known for being a bike-friendly state, so it’s no surprise that we are the first (and, so far, only) state to designate a Scenic Bikeways Program. It was founded through a partnership between the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Travel Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation and Cycle Oregon and is run by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
New routes are proposed by local cyclists. Each route must include locations where cyclists can find support services such as water, restaurants, hotels and camping options. Only about half of the routes qualify but, for those that do, the rural communities benefit from promotional and state support.
A 2014 study on the economic impact of this program estimated that the routes contributed $12.4M in spending activity to the state during the calendar year. This figure represented about 3% of all bicycle-related tourism for the year, including both day trips and overnight adventures. As there were only 12 designated routes in 2014, that’s an average of $1M per route per year. If that estimate holds true, 2019 should see an economic benefit of at least $17M!
Planning Your Ride
The bikeways offer a wide variety of experiences. From easy, flat rides to high-intensity, multi-day treks, flat high desert prairies to forested hills, riders of all experience levels are sure to find a route (or several!) that is just right for them.
There are many resources for planning your Oregon Scenic Bikeway trip. Travel Oregon lists each route and includes photos, trip planning tips, and information on length, difficulty, and the best time of year to experience each route. Here, you’ll also find videos and tips on other sightseeing opportunities and activities to experience when you’re in the area.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department also has information on the routes that are organized by difficulty: Mild, Moderate, Challenging and Extreme. The page links to road conditions and construction information, ride with GPS links, and cue sheets. Check out the brochure and map for easy reference on-the-go.
You can also get inspired by taking a sneak peak of every route thanks to the Travel Oregon YouTube Channel’s Oregon Scenic Bikeways Playlist. (Imperial River Company is featured in the Sherar’s Falls video!)
This unique cycling tourism program is a fantastic addition to Oregon’s adventure-travel options and is certainly worth celebrating.