Cycling Route for Oregon Scenic Bikeways

Cycling Route for Oregon Scenic Bikeways

Welcome back to our second installment in a series of articles highlighting the best e-bike routes in the U.S.! Written by riders, for riders, these articles are meant to give a general overview of some of the best bike routes across the country. Whether you are planning a cross-country trip complete with an RV or camping, or simply want to explore your own state a bit more, these articles are for you.

We do preview some lengthy trails because many of our readers focus exclusively on the e-bike experience where distance is not an issue thanks to high-performance long-range e-bikes. With 60-80 miles per charge (using pedal-assist), our bikes can easily tackle routes that were previously only available to the most hardcore of cyclists. But thanks to the current e-bike revolution, these long and beautiful trails are now open to riders of any skill level.

With that, it’s time to explore the Oregon Scenic Bikeways! So, grab your e-bike, pack a lunch, and hit the road!

Oregon Scenic Bikeways

The Oregon Scenic Bikeways are located all across the state of Oregon in the pacific northwest of the country. Covering a huge variety of terrain – from paved roads to dirt trails – these bikeways are part of a program through the Oregon State Park. They have been hand-picked by Oregon locals to give riders the best views, best exercise, and best overall experience that Oregon has to offer riders.

Although most of these trails can be ridden any time of year, you should expect rain or light snow in the winter months from November to March. There are 17 bikeways in total to choose from, and many boast their best weather in late spring through early fall. About half of the routes are clustered near Salem, the state capital. The remaining trails can be found along the northern side of the state or near the Californian border and coastline.

While each of the 17 trails offers something unique, they all share common elements which, when experienced first-hand, make each ride worth the trip. There are family-friendly rides that kids can join, multi-day trips suited for professionals, and simple, yet challenging, day rides for moderate riders. While the pathways do not connect, it would be possible to experience each with the use of a car and bike rack designed to carry your e-bikes easily around the state. We will highlight 3 routes today – an easy one, a moderately difficult one, and a very challenging one.

Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway: Easy

First up, the easy ride. This leisurely bikeway is called the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway just south of Eugene Oregon and it offers an historic approach to Oregon biking that will be fun for the whole family. The covered bridges, picturesque lake, and scenic views offered by this Bikeway are hard to beat. There are six covered bridges in total and an additional railroad bridge for a stunning look back into historical architecture officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway is a 36-mile loop open year-round but doesn’t have to be ridden in its entirety to be experienced. Younger riders may not be able to make the entire 36-mile circuit but can certainly enjoy as much as possible. You’ll start in charming Cottage Grove, heading east out of the historical gold-mining hub onto the Row River Trail which will only have pedestrians and bikes – no traffic – which is ideal for younger riders.

Views of Dorena Lake will keep the family inspired to keep riding into the small town of Dorena where you can stop for snacks, lunch, or a bathroom break. Be sure to carry plenty of water, food, and sunscreen using a bike pack such as the Himiway Rear Rack Bag. The loop will turn you around and send you back to Cottage Grove by dinner.

Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway: Moderate

Next up on our list of suggestions is the moderately difficult Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway. This route is certainly a change of pace and environment from the Covered Bridges ride, as it is in central Oregon near Redmond, and offers some farmland mixed with canyons and sweeping vistas sure to inspire any rider. As the name implies, you’ll start in Sisters, Oregon, and head east toward Smith Rock State Park.

The view of the Cascade Mountains on this route cannot be beaten. The quiet canyon road, with copper cliffs and golden hills, will be a delight as you come to Smith Rock. Restrooms and a water break can be found at both the start and end of this trail at the free parks. Pack a lunch or stop in the small town of Terrebonne.

This is anything but a flat ride but the 37-mile pathway won’t prove too difficult for the novice rider. With help from a long-range e-bike such as the Himiway Zebra, you’ll be able to use the pedal-assist technology to make it to one end and back on a single charge.

McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway: Challenging

Finally, our extreme challenge is the McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway. We’ve chosen this route because the starting location is the same as the Sisters to Smith Rock starting location. However, instead of heading east out of Sisters, you’ll head west towards Mt. Washington.

The reason for the extreme rating of this bikeway is the ascents you’ll encounter to reach your destination. There are steep climbs, and even with an e-bike, these may prove to be a little challenging. The destination is none other than a Dee Wright Observatory at the summit with excellent views of lava-rock walls and lush forests, an enthralling juxtaposition.

This 38-mile Bikeway is a secret among locals due to its privacy from motor vehicles at certain parts of the year. If you plan your ride before the roads open to cars, you’ll have the whole pathway to yourself. Experience the incredible diversity of terrain and awe-inspiring forces of mother nature on this challenging bikeway.

Safety Tips for Oregon Biking

  • While riding any of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways, we recommend you wear a helmet and make use of a rear-view mirror to assist with traffic.
  • Only ride single file on vehicle roads and obey all rules of the roads. In Oregon, bicycles and e-bikes must follow the same laws as traffic.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic and be sure to wear bright, visible clothing to ensure you are seen by motorists.

Enjoy Your Trip!

With these tips and plans, you’re sure to enjoy a biking trip to any e-bike route you choose. If Oregon isn’t an option for your travel itinerary, we’ve also got a great list of riding activities you can do at home to keep you busy. Happy riding!