A Multi-Day Journey on the Old West Scenic Bikeway
Scenic Bikeway Itinerary
In 2013, we at Ride Oregon partnered with Path Less Pedaled to create a series of short, inspirational videos featuring our Oregon Scenic Bikeways. For each video, we sent a small group of cyclists out to experience our Scenic Bikeways and the towns they pass through. Scenic Bikeways are more than just bike rides; these routes, suggested by local proponents, offer a chance to experience community and beauty all across Oregon.
On the 174-mile Old West Scenic Bikeway, you’ll find low-traffic rural roads, incredible mountain views and friendly small towns. Don’t be surprised if you can’t ride through one without stopping for conversation or local fare! This bikeway makes a great two-day or three-day trip — or make it longer if you’d rather take your time. Plenty of lodging options include three state parks, five additional campgrounds and two bike hostels. Here’s where our crew stopped to stay, play and dine:
Begin in John Day. While you’re there, don’t miss taking a glimpse into Oregon’s rich multicultural history at Kam Wah Chung State Park, a former Chinese medical clinic, general store, community center and residence. You can also fuel up at the Outpost before you start your ride — they offer a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.
Spin along the quiet highway for 13 miles until you arrive in Prairie City. Need a coffee break — or a bike repair? Stop into Roan Coffee Company. And don’t forget to watch for bald eagles as you leave town. Break again at Bates State Park in Bates (mile 30) where you’ll find beautiful mountain scenery and campsites.
When you’ve wound along the John Day River all the way to Long Creek (mile 83) you’ll have worked up an appetite, and the Stampede Restaurant is a great place to stop and eat. Twenty miles west of Long Creek after a beautiful and thrilling descent, you’ll find yourself in Monument (mile 104), where you can stock up on provisions or have a meal at Boyers Market. Our team chose to get back to nature, camping out at the BLM campsites along the North Fork John Day River, between Monument and Kimberly.
Once you’re past Kimberley, you’ll begin riding through the amazing John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (starts at mile 126), one of the top three paleontology sites in the world. Stop at various viewpoints and attractions, then ride on. Our crew ended the day at Dayville’s Fish House Inn (mile143) after refreshing supplies and having a bite at Dayville Mercantile store. If you want to add a few more miles to your day, you’ll also find lodging at the Bike Inn in Mt. Vernon (mile 166).
To finish off a glorious Eastern Oregon journey, savor the final eight beautiful, high-desert miles from Mt. Vernon back to John Day and your transportation.