Oregon biking?

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Anonymous's picture

I'm going to Oregon for a week in August and am looking for some great biking routes. Has anyone been there? I was thinking about biking part of the coast. Any advice is appreciated!

Anonymous's picture
seth (not verified)

i was in oregon for 3 weeks last summer.
first week was traveling up and down the columbia gorge. the scenery and the route was MISERABLE!!! the tour company i was with, adventure cycling, could not have found worse roads to travel on. they put us on i84 for 20 miles! 95% of the route was on 4-lane major thourough fares, blasted by 18 wheelers, and suburban sprawl ( america's worst kind of suburban sprawl) it was ugly. this is not to say that the columbia gorge is all horrendous. the plateau, at least on a map, looked like it would have been much nicer.
second week, my buddy and i went down to the ashland area. what a change. ashland was outstanding. the best riding we hit in oregon. beautiful countryside, really nice town, farmland, woods, enough climbing to keep johnZ occupied for a week, and flats (the good kind) where ever you want them. we did the crater loop, as well as a number of other popular routes with the locals.
from there we went to the southern coast for a couple days. it was nice. campsite right on the ocean. saw those big rocks that grow out of the coast. problem is, the closer you get to eugene, the more cramped it becomes. if you're going to ride the coast, i would stay well to the south. from tim mccarthy's photographs, looked like where he was in cali was much nicer.
then we went to bend. we got a lot of popular routes from a local bike shop. not bad. lava fields were rather stark. there just didn't seem to be as many options as ashland. or maybe they were keeping the the really good stuff to themselves.
we went even further east out into the boonies to prineville. we did a couple fantastic out-and-back routes. lots of farmland out there. beautiful river.
but if i had only 1 choice to go back to, it would be the ashland area, hands down (with a mandatory crater lake day thrown in).
i can give you some good routes if you decide on this option.

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

As a former Oregon resident, I agree that the west side of the Cascades are generally better for cycling. More roads, more towns, more places to buy water and food. But I also love Central Oregon, and recommend a stay in Bend, but understand if people aren't into the dry landscape. The Columbia Gorge is certainly lovely, but I would never attempt to ride it (but that also comes from knowing the area). Do go to Multnomah Falls and walk up to the head of the falls. It's a great place to go on a hot day.

The mountains though are spectacular. Century Drive goes from Bend west into the Cascades. It's a nice wide road, with gradual grades and sweeping vistas. When you get to the Mount Bachelor ski area, you can stop and get food and water at the base lodge. If you go to Bend as the same time as the Cascade Classic, a major stage race, you can ride around on the various courses and watch the racers knock themselves out on the climbs.

So you rode to Prineville? Huh, I wouldn't necessarily consider that a destination, because it is small and in the sticks. Plus it seems a bit far from Bend to ride the whole way there and back. But that's just my bias.

When I was there last August, I also did a day trip to Crater Lake and rode the 30-something mile loop. Once is plenty. There are many hills, and the altitude is taxing. Go early in the day, as the road gets more crowded with cars in the afternoon. The full loop also doesn't open until late in the summer, because of the large amount of snowfall.

If you want to ride across the Oregon Cascades, Mackenzie Pass is the way to go. I met some touring cyclists in Sisters who were getting ready to ride over the mountains and on to the coast via that pass. As far as I know, none of the other passes, at least in the northern half of the state, are conducive to cyclists.

I don't really know the coast well. However, when I drove through the Lincoln City/Tillamook area as part of that trip, the whole area was much, much more developed than it was ten years ago (surprise!) and as a result, the traffic was really heavy. So that wouldn't be my first choice for a riding vacation.

Anonymous's picture
Fred Steinberg (not verified)
Riding in Oregon

Rode for a week in Oregon last summer on a Timberline Tour, The riding was excellent. Rode from Eugene to Reedsport on the coast, then down to Bandon(superb), Gold Beach and Crescent City CA. Then inland over the Cadcades to Galice on the Rouge River. (morrisons lodge). Then thru Grants Pass, Jacksonville to lovely Ashland. Ashland to KLamanth Falls via the Dead indian Highway.Then to Fort Klamath, the Seven Mile Ranch Rd and that great climb up to Crater Lake.The rim road. The incredable downhill to finish in Steamboat. Some great bike rides.

Anonymous's picture
Cheryl (not verified)

Thank you all for your advice. I'm getting more excited about this trip after hearing your tales.

Anonymous's picture
tara (not verified)
The Wild wild west

Hey Cheryl,
Having biked a bit and grown up in Oregon I thought I'd throw in another perspective....so I called my dad, an avid cyclist and connoisseur of beautiful and challenging routes. Both of us feel some really excellent cycling exists east of Prineville. North east and eastern Oregon is the kind of riding that you will never forget. The beauty is out of this world (check John Day, Steens mountains, Wallowa mountains, Strawberry wilderness). There is little traffic on main highways. The towns are from another era. It depends on what level of population you need-I prefer nature and really departing from every day life. If you prefer a Starbucks Latte before you ride go further west towards the coast-Bend being perfect. That said here are a few ideas including a great route out of Bend. Good Luck, have fun!
1) All Mountain Greenery, Looping The Three Sisters and Waldo Lake Wildernesses On The Cascade Range Crest: Start at Bend, OR, headed east on Century Drive.  Beyond Bachelor Butte the road dips south another 57 miles to join State Highway #58.  Go northwesterly to Oakridge.  North out of Oakridge take the paved road along the N. Fork-Middle Fork of Willamette River.  This portion of the route trends generally northward but with an early eastward veer of 20 miles to where the S. Fork of the McKenzie River meets the Willamette fork.  From there the road runs northward to join State Highway #126, a total of about 60 miles from Oakridge.  Continuing eastward #126 joins #242 running to Sisters, OR.  Stay to County roads to parallel Interstate #20 back to Bend.  Total distance is over 200 miles.  Lodging at midway in Oakridge but nothing else until Sisters.  This is a challenging ride.

2)       Lots of ‘day ride’ loops out of Bend; just follow paved county roads shown on State and County maps.

3)       A number of good loops, single-day or longer, out of the Baker City and La Grande areas.  From Baker one can loop wast and north through Sumpter, Granite and then back around through Haines, or loop east and north up through the Baker Valley.  Out of Le Grande There is a County Road up to connect with State Highway #204, taken 8 miles back South to pick up County Road through Summerville, back to Le Grande.  The best though is to loop the Eagle Cap Wilderness of the Wallowa Mountains, all the way from La Grande, back around up through Baker City.

 4)        There are lots of day and two-dayers off of Interstate Highway #26 between Dayville and Prairie City, looping either north or south.

5) There's an 83 mile loop running from Service Creek (junction of State Highways 19 and 207) to Mitchell, then east from Mitchell
on Interstate 26 to reconnect with State 19, which then runs first north to
Kimberly, then generally west through Spray to arrive back at Service Creek. Lots of climbing involved but very, very beautiful, without much traffic and conveniently spaced 'stops' for food and drink. A two day trip could be made of it by taking advantage of the accommodations available along the way. My preference would be Dayville at a great little bed-&-breakfast named Trout Inn Bed & Breakfast. I stayed at it about 10 years ago.

cycling trips