Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway
Scenic Bikeway Itinerary
Oregon State Parks and Recreation’s new Scenic Bikeways program highlights Oregon’s scenic, historic, natural and cultural resources from the viewpoint of a bicyclist. Scenic Bikeway routes are picked specifically with bicyclists in mind by providing safe, recreational, educational, and physically varying bicycling opportunities on low-traffic count roads, bicycle lanes, and designated bicycle paths.
Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway
Relive Oregon’s history, sample the agricultural bounty of the Willamette Valley, pedal through tranquil scenery and make your own history by riding the first official scenic bikeway in the United States.
The Bikeway follows its namesake river as it winds through the Willamette Valley, shaped by the Coast Range to the west and the towering Cascade Mountains to the east.
Cycle alongside fields of Oregon’s world-famous hops, past views of vineyards and through quaint towns. Stop for tastings at wineries and pick up supplies at coffee shops and brewpubs.
The valley’s temperate climate encourages year-round biking (bring rain gear for winter riding; that rain is what makes this area so green). April through November bring sunshine, amazing flower displays, and farmers markets full of hazelnuts, strawberries and marionberries, a fruit unique to the area.
The northern point of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway is Champoeg State Park, where settlers gathered in the 1850s to hold what turned out to be a very close vote that led to the creation of the state of Oregon.
Camp at the hiker-biker sites in Champoeg State Park or arrange to leave your car while riding the 132-mile bikeway, or just head to Willamette Mission State Park and back for a day trip.
The route passes through Oregon’s capitol city of Salem as well as the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge. Honks and calls from wintering Canada geese are the loudest noises heard on this stretch.
Continue south to the picture-perfect town of Brownsville, with a campground conveniently located near downtown.
The Bikeway’s one significant climb is the pass south of Brownsville, which rises 600 feet in elevation. The route continues through the quaint town of Coburg before reaching its southern terminus at Armitage County Park and campground just outside Eugene.
How to Ride the Route: The entire route is marked with bikeway signs. Some bicyclists may want to ride a short section of the route. Recommended short rides include:
- Champoeg to Willamette Mission is a great 30-mile round trip. Both state parks have group camping facilities that allow inexperienced bicyclists to try an overnight bike tour. Carry your camping equipment on your bike the short distance of 15 miles to the next campsite.
- Albany to Shedd is a very flat and scenic 42-mile round trip.
- Armitage County Park to Coburg is a 13-mile round trip.
One-way Complete Ride
Riders can start at Champoeg for a multi-day ride. Call the park, 503-678-1251, for overnight parking arrangements. Riders can continue past the official end of the route, then continue to the Eugene Amtrak station and take the train back to Salem. It is a 30-mile ride back to Champoeg. Amtrak passenger train service stops regularly in Eugene with daily trips to Salem, Portland and California. Trains have a limited number of spaces to carry unboxed bikes. Amtrak reservations for passengers and bicycle storage space are recommended. Not all trains can accommodate unboxed bikes. Tandem, recumbent or other unusual bikes must be boxed. Folding bikes are sometimes allowed as a carry-on. For more information call Amtrak at: 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Here are an overall route cue sheet and maps for individual segments of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, as well as detail maps for some of the more urban sections: