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Scenic Bikeway routes are the best bike rides in Oregon and showcase beautiful scenery, state history and local communities. They run past state parks on paved paths and roads, cross mountain passes and high deserts.
The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program is the first of its kind in the country. The routes are nominated by locals and selected by Oregon State Parks. Bikeways are official state-designated routes with printable maps, gps and on-road signage.
Many of the bikeways do not have cell service and are on roads with car and truck traffic. For car-free riding check out the Banks-Vernonia trail on the Tualatin Valley Bikeway and the Rowe River trail on the Covered Bridges Bikeway.
Bikeway Event Rides: Volunteer proponents from some for the of the Scenic Bikeways have organized bike event rides complete with support vehicles, gear transfer, gourmet meals and much more. Most are limited to 50 people. These affordable event rides are the perfect way to enjoy the rides without having to haul your extra food and water and other gear.
McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway: To see traffic updates on Hwy 242, visit https://www.tripcheck.com/
In the future, ODOT will conduct major drainage and shoulder work once the road is opened again. The work will be done Monday through Thursday during which time the road will be closed to bicycles and pedestrians. Friday through Sundays, the road will be open to those uses but signs will remain warning of possible road hazards.
Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway: Construction at State Capital State Park. Fencing and construction equipment is blocking the bikeway sign. Park is open. Ride through park to continue to Winter Street.
First Come, First Served Hiker/Biker Camping
Many state parks offer camping areas for campers hiking or bicycling into the park (without motor vehicle support). An overnight stay is $7 - $8 per person and the maximum stay is 3 consecutive days in a 7-day period, per campground (except for Harris Beach State Park, which allows 3 days in a 14-day period). The camping areas are first-come, first-served and usually include shared fire rings and picnic tables. Water and restrooms may be some distance away. See Find A Park to search for parks with hiker/biker areas.
Find the right bikeway for you with our rating system: Mild, Moderate, Challenging and Extreme.
Fun, casual rides appropriate for nearly everyone. The traffic is light and the terrain is mostly flat.
Covered Bridges, 35-mile loop, map and cue sheet | Ride with gps
Features covered bridges, lake views and colorful foliage in the fall. The ride passes through the historic Cottage Grove downtown and includes the 17-mile Row River Trail. It can be ridden as an out-and-back on the pathway or as a loop with one half on the the path and the other on scenic low-traffic roads.
Best seasons to ride: year round (expect rain in winter). Video: https://youtu.be/c1-Za-HG5AQ
Rides that aren't for beginners, but aren't a major undertaking for those who ride regularly.
Crooked River Canyon, 37-mile out-and-back, map and cue sheet | Ride with gps
Starting in the small yet vibrant downtown of Prineville the ride follows the Crooked River south out of town giving riders picturesque views of the surrounding llama farms and cattle ranches and then enters the Crooked River Canyon. The road slips through the canyon’s towering basalt cliffs, gently curving and climbing to a scenic view near Palisades Campground before descending back toward the river. Riders will pedal by Chimney Rock Recreation Site, a popular picnicking spot and fun place to watch local anglers fly fish in the Crooked River. Observant riders might spot resident wildlife like deer, great blue herons and golden eagles.
Best seasons to ride: spring through fall; hot in the summer; possible winter riding, check weather report before going.
The route starts in Madras, a small town with hotels, a craft beer pub and several restaurants. As you ride along the rim overlooking Lake Billy Chinook, look for the basalt palisades and seven spectacular peaks in the Cascade Mountain Range.
Best seasons to ride: spring through fall; very hot in the summer; possible winter riding, check weather report before going. Video: https://youtu.be/tPMvnzvP4T0
Traverse a strikingly scenic high desert canyon and then ride along the Deschutes River en route to Sherar’s Falls. The falls is a salmon fishing site for the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, who stand on wooden platforms perched over the rushing water to fish using traditional methods.
This north central Oregon bikeway starts and finishes at the small, vibrant town of Maupin, which features a walkable downtown and friendly community, restaurants, lodging and camping.
Best season to ride: Spring and fall, and some winter days. The region boasts 300 days of sunshine and less than six inches of rain per year.
Sisters to Smith Rock, 37 miles one way, map and cue sheet | Ride with gps
Roll by pastures of grazing alpacas silhouetted against the snow-covered Cascade Mountains on your way to Smith Rock State Park, famous for its multi-colored rock formations. The elevation gain or loss is about the same from either direction. The route starts in downtown Sisters and passes through Terrebonne.
Best seasons to ride: spring through fall. Video: https://youtu.be/axm1Ac2STV4
The ride is a showcase of Central Oregon’s snow-capped Cascade Mountains, rimrock canyons, high desert terrain and the Deschutes River. The route starts in bustling downtown Bend and passes through the small town of Tumalo.
Best seasons to ride: spring through fall. Video: https://youtu.be/RRGS2TUQ0Mk
Leave the urban setting of Hillsboro and quickly enter the lush Tualatin River basin, which is dotted with wetlands, small forests, vineyards and views of the Coast Range. The ride passes through Forest Grove. Half of the bikeway is on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, a paved path leading to the small town of Vernonia.
Best season to ride: year-round (expect rain in winter) Video: https://youtu.be/GawMkdjJsYw
Cycle through one of the most productive and beautiful agricultural valleys in the world and known for pinot noir wine, hops for brewing beer, hazelnuts and marionberries. This mostly flat route passes through Salem, Albany and Brownsville.
Best seasons to ride: year round (expect rain in winter)
Views from the ride include the Wild and Scenic Elk River, lush cranberry bogs, towering basalt sea stacks and vast ocean views. Start your tour in the quaint fishing hamlet of Port Orford, the oldest town on the Oregon coast, with inviting locally owned hotels, restaurants and eclectic art galleries.
Best seasons to ride: year round; some sunny days in mid-winter. Video: https://youtu.be/Ry9g0iwIsdA
Perfect experiences for cyclists looking for good, hard rides that involve a combination of mileage and climbing. Casual cyclists will not enjoy these rides.
This ride is the grande tour of mountain ranges, including eastern Oregon's Eagle Cap Mountains, the Elkhorn Range, the Blue Mountains and the Wallowa Mountains. The towns of LaGrande, Baker City, Union and North Powder are spaced perfectly to stop for supplies or for the night.
Best season to ride: spring through fall, mid-summer can be very hot. Video: https://youtu.be/gnQZprZKOuE
Start in John Day at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, now a museum but once a general store, apothecary and religious center. The museum offers a snapshot of the Chinese immigrant experience in the 19th and 20th century American west. Cycle past the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness and the Fossil Beds National Monument.
Best season to ride: spring through fall, mid-summer can be very hot. Video: https://youtu.be/ZSVYwzk9q78
Ride along the Clackamas and Breitenbush rivers from Estacada to Detroit, with very little but wilderness, rivers and trees along the route.
Best seasons to ride: Late spring through early fall; road closes each winter due to snow. Video:https://youtu.be/WiN_mpJ_r_s
These are the epic rides. Cyclists had better be in top shape, climb like a mountain goat and go all day.
This is one century ride you won't want to complete in a single day. Be ready for big hills and a total elevation gain of 8,000 feet. Starting in Heppner with Ukiah at the halfway mark, this route is remote and includes breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains.
Best seasons to ride: Early summer and fall, mid-summer can be very hot. Winter snow closes a section of road. Video: https://youtu.be/IPI5nc0F2iY
A steep and winding 5,000-foot climb through oak savannah into fir forests showcases this ecologically diverse ecosystem. The route opens to spectacular views of the Bear Creek Valley and Pilot Rock, a 25-million-year-old volcanic plug. The ride starts in Ashland, famous for theater and outdoor recreation.
Best season to ride: spring through fall. Video: https://youtu.be/VvQ-7ordj1M
Start in Sisters and follow an 1860s wagon route that includes views of Mt. Washington and lava flows. The steep descent to Belknap Hot Springs has switchbacks through dense, verdant Cascadian forests. This bikeway is closed to motor vehicles each spring for car-free riding. Snow and car free riding update
Best season to ride: summer and fall. Road closes due to snow each winter. Video: https://youtu.be/F1PZ8OG_S_I
Oregon Outback -- 89 miles loop, map and cue sheet | Ride with gps
Nestled in the beautiful Warner Mountains, the route starts in Lakeview where the forests meet the High Desert Basin and Range. Ride past gorgeous lakes with the chance to see pronghorn, wetland birds, bighorn sheep and sage grouse.
Best seasons to ride: early spring through fall
Painted Hills, 130 miles total, map and cue sheet | Ride with gps
Meander through the multi-hued natural history on this route, which connects the small communities of Fossil, Service Creek, Spray and Mitchell and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Viewed from your bicycle seat, you can see millions of years of geology revealed in the layers of earth, one color at a time.
Best seasons to ride: late spring through fall.