75 Classic Rides Oregon  by Jim Moore

75 Classic Rides Oregon Guide Book

by Jim Moore (The Mountaineers Books)
75 Classic Rides Oregon  by Jim Moore
Whether you’re a visitor trying to pick out the places you want to ride on a vacation, a resident looking to expand your in-state adventures, or even someone who’s just decided to start riding, you’re going to find rides in this book that will deliver the essence of Oregon road cycling. Within a few hours’ drive you can choose from a menu of cycling pleasures: Ride above crashing ocean breakers, high on a coastal cape; pedal smoothly through a silent old-growth forest; roll past fields of bountiful crops and majestic century-old barns; complete a scenic loop around a river in the middle of a bustling city; swoop down through a red-rock canyon in the high desert; spin on sagebrush-lined roads so wide open that you can see 10 miles down them; or climb a mountain pass next to the music of a rushing stream.

© 2012 Jim Moore /The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "75 Classic Rides Oregon" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 75.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 75.

This is one of those rides that’s even better than you remembered. It’s not that there’s one particularly epic thing about it—there are other cool forest roads, other rolling valleys, bigger climbs, and a lot bigger waterfalls in this state—but as you spin quietly through the dark green landscape, you’re just going to feel good. Start at Sunset Park in the southwest corner of Corvallis and take a few jogs to get out into the country on Bellfountain Road. You’ll be in a bike lane or extra-wide shoulder for the first 4.5 miles, rolling out through wide-open crop fields with Marys Peak on the western horizon.
Corvallis, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 58.9
Some rides create memories that don’t fade—a challenging climb, an exhilarating descent, a stretch of streamside splendor, an incomparable view—and this ride has all of them, in that order. I ended up driving this route not long after I had first ridden it, and I whimpered the whole way, dying to be on my bike. This ride displays the mix of ruggedness and serenity that marks southern Oregon’s landscape.
Medford, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 58.4
What makes it so special? It’s a combination of factors. For one, the scenery is unbeatable. In the direction this route is mapped, you follow one gorgeous river up the hill, pick up another one on the way down, and then skirt the shoreline of a sizeable jewel-like lake. It’s a tough climb followed by a truly exhilarating descent. The traffic tends to be quite light, and the road surface is mostly glassy smooth. What’s not to like?
Oakridge, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 63.6
Beauty in scenery is a highly subjective thing. Some appreciate the lush canopy of Northwest forests. Many savor the fertile swells of wine country. Others claim nothing compares to the salty ruggedness of the coast. And then there are those who relish the wide-open spaces of the high desert. Where others see nothing, they see expansiveness and freedom. (A lot of these folks like to ride alone.)
Maupin, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 52.0
If you have any interest in Oregon's history, here's a route that starts on the Oregon Trail and goes to a site of Oregon's version of the gold rush - with tasty scenery in between. Start in downtown Baker City, which hosts the nearby Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. From the city park, jog west on Washington Avenue to connect to State Route 7 through town. You’ll get a good feel for this quiet city in the couple miles it takes to get to the other side of it. Where the railroad overpass bisects SR 7 at the 1-mile mark, take the sidewalk rather than the street; it’s a tight squeeze otherwise.
Baker City, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 59.2
There's an ethos among hardcore backcountry skiing types: You can't go down anything you didn't climb up on your own. No chairlifts for these skiiers. Well you're going to get one of the fastest downhills in Oregon on this ride. Bald Peak is one of those local climbs everyone does at least once in a while to test themselves. The fun thing about it is that there are multiple ways to approach and climb it, each quite different in length, grade, and even scenery. This particular lollipop route gives you the double bonus of climbing Bald Peak twice.
Hillsboro, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 45.1
One of the beauties of the rail trail is that it’s simple to do an out-and-back with the kids or friends—just head out and try to gauge when everyone’s had half enough. If you don’t want to climb much, that’ll be about 5 miles from the Banks Trailhead.
Portland, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 20.65
While they’re not typically a beauty to behold, freeways come from a good concept: an unfettered transportation corridor right through town that you can get on and o? at regular intervals. Well, the good folks of Jackson County have created a bike pedestrian equivalent with the Bear Creek Greenway, a nifty bike freeway that stretches almost 18 miles and connects no fewer than ?ve communities, from Ashland to Central Point. It’s a great resource, one that gets used a lot.
Ashland, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 17.7
I was going to call this route (combined with Frenchglen to Burns, Ride 71) Th e Road to Nowhere, but some folks in Diamond let me know that they don’t appreciate the term “the middle of nowhere” for their location (population 7). So, while this route travels a very remote road, it’s not nowhere—in fact, there are some amazing things along the way.
Burns, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 60.1
The Central Oregon Cascades have a plethora of resort developments; between the numerous fair-weather activities and the proximity to superb skiing at Mount Bachelor, this is prime vacation territory. And most resorts here are built around golf courses, condos,and chalets or trophy homes. But just west of the hubbub, Camp Sherman is a hidden wonderland of rustic authenticity tucked into the eastern base of the Cascades. Five miles o? the highway, it’s a bit inconspicuous; I think the locals prefer that.
Santa Clara, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 21.4
Actually, this is more like two rides; just look at the elevation profile. It’s basically a nosweat jaunt through the pastoral Applegate Valley—punctuated by scaling a sheer wall in the woods. This route is not for those afflicted with vertigo or anyone who doesn’t harbor the sick notion that the steeper a hill is, the better you feel about it after you climb it.
Grants Pass, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 72.6
Both Hood River and The Dalles feature almost magically fertile valleys, where the local fruit in particular is renowned far and wide. This route takes you up through the cherry orchards, delivering views that showcase the fact that the Columbia River Gorge is good for something besides water sports. It’s not a long ride, but it’s a great way to spend an hour on the bike and get a good workout for your legs, lungs, and eyes.
Portland, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 15.65
Corvallis is one of those lovely mediumsize college towns, with an old-fashioned downtown and its iconic courthouse, the leafy campus, plus great parks and schools. It’s the kind of town you can get around in with just a bike—and that extends beyond just errands.
Corvallis, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 12.75
There are so many rides like this in Oregon— start from a small town, go up a big climb through an old forest, come over a pass with views for miles, and rip down the road to another small town—that it can be di?cult to describe them all di?erently. But I know this: I never get tired of them. It’s not that any one thing makes the whole thing perfect; it’s what movie types call mise-en-scene: the way everything in the surroundings comes together to create the desired e?ect.
Cottage Grove, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 59.6
This ride starts in Scio (pronounced like “silo” without the “l”) and offers five different covered bridges, one of which you get to cross twice. Th e route is kind of a drunken figure eight—it takes a little conniving to get you to all these bridges on one ride.
Jefferson, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 49.1
There are other rides in America that might reach this level of awe-inspiring scenery— but none of them is a loop around the edge of a surreally blue volcanic lake nearly 2000 feet deep. So, not to state the obvious, but this is one of the prettiest rides you’ll ever experience. That said, it’s also a bit of a brutal challenge. As the elevation profile reveals, there are really no ?at spots (OK, maybe a short stretch around mile 13, but you get my point).
Roseburg, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 32.6
If just riding around the rim of Crater Lake isn’t your favored strategy—if you want to ride to the lake—this is the prettiest approach. Plus you can ride up to it, decide if you want to ride around it, and then swoop down for miles and miles and end up in the remote and beautiful town of Prospect. Th e route as mapped here doesn’t include circling the lake’s rim, but it’s configured for a seamless connection; see Crater Lake Rim Road (Ride 55).
Medford, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 58.65
Four words you don’t hear very often: 40 miles of downhill. This route gives you the chance to cruise down the road for a couple hours along the idyllic North Umpqua River, then take a quiet forest road up into the sky, grip the handlebars for a scintillating and steep descent, and finish with a pleasant pedal past a lake and on into a historic town. Really, what more could you want out of an Oregon ride?
Roseburg, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 89.4
Sure, one’s a “mountain” and one’s a butte— but the cool thing is that Mount Tabor and Rocky Butte are both actually extinct volcanic cones. How often can you say you rode to the top of two volcanoes in one short ride, right in the middle of a city? And while there’s a moderate amount of climbing involved— all of it compacted into a 1.25-mile climb and a 1.5-mile one—you’ll be paid o? with splendid, panoramic views over the city to rivers and mountains.
Portland, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 18.1
This is a route everyone who lives in or visits Portland should ride, run, walk, or spin in a wheelchair. It provides a wonderful, easy excursion as well as an unusual angle on downtown Portland; instead of seeing the cityscape from above—via Washington Park in the West Hills, a 30th-floor restaurant, or Interstate 5 heading north over the Marquam Bridge—on the Esplanade you’re looking up, but with some splendid foreground for perspective.
Portland, OR - Road Biking - Trail Length: 3.0