The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Travel Oregon recently introduced two new state-designated scenic bikeways, bringing the total number of trails to eight. The move furthers Oregon's position as a premier cycling destination.
The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway in Cottage Grove features an all-ages all-abilities cycling experience. Billed as perfect for families, the 36-mile route includes six covered bridges, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A mix of paved off-street, lakeside paths and low-speed Main Street riding provide diverse scenery and dining opportunities. The route passes Chambers Bridge, the only covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi.
The Twin Bridges Loop Scenic Bikeway, beginning and ending in Bend's historic Drake Park, is rated moderate, with varying levels of traffic and hills. Featuring 36 miles of intermediate terrain, the route promises breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains, rolling forests and high desert scenery. The Twin Bridges Loop gets its name from the two bridges that cross the Deschutes River along the route. Riders pedal through the quaint town of Tumalo, a perfect rest stop to grab a bite to eat.
"Cycling and scenic beauty are both important components of Oregon's $8.7 billion travel and tourism industry," said Travel Oregon chief executive officer Todd Davidson. "Being the first and only state in the nation to have developed a scenic bikeways program provides a strategic way for us to highlight the state's natural assets and cyclist-friendly communities, boosting local economies and creating jobs."
The bikeway program was launched in 2010 with the 132-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. Five more were added in September 2011. Scenic bikeway designations are a community effort that showcase the best riding on existing roads and paved paths in Oregon.