Blue Mountain Century Scenic Bikeway
In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.
In the middle of the 19th century, the Blue Mountains were a formidable obstacle on the Oregon Trail – often the last mountain range American pioneers had to cross before reaching southeast Washington or passing down the Columbia River Gorge to the end of the Oregon Trail in the Willamette Valley. The range is located in the high, dry and much less traveled country of northeast Oregon.
While pioneers traversed this challenge on horseback, cyclists today can take on the Oregon Trail on their metal and carbon-fiber steeds. Besides the breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains, the well-maintained roads with barely any vehicle traffic make this bikeway a cycling paradise.
A century ride can imply that it can be ridden in one day. This bikeway is not that kind of century. Most cyclists should plan to finish this ride in two days.
The 108-mile Blue Mountain Century Scenic Bikeway is a breathtakingly beautiful loop that starts and ends in Heppner, a full-service community with secure places to leave your vehicle while you ride.
The route is rich in history — Heppner was founded by Irish immigrants in 1887 — and initially follows the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway, rolling through valleys before climbing east through the Umatilla National Forest and then offering a thrill-ride descent to Highway 395, near Ukiah, where you can find overnight accommodations, a grocery store and a cafe. There the route turns north, transitioning from forest to rangeland before heading west along Highway 74 through more of Eastern Oregon’s rolling hills and back to Heppner.
This route offers plenty of climbing — the top of the Umatilla Forest section is more than 3,000 feet above Heppner. But while the hills are long, they are not that steep. Take your time and enjoy the ride, because you’ll have plenty to look at.
Motorized Vehicle Traffic: Low, except for Highway 395, which is busier with a minimal shoulder at best
Seasons: Late spring to fall
Order a free copy of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways travel guide and start exploring the best routes that Oregon has to offer — all from the seat of a bike.
Important Traffic Information: Scenic Bikeway routes often include roads with car and truck traffic. Although the Bikeways are routed on low-traffic and low-speed roads whenever possible, most are designated for cyclists that are comfortable riding in some amount of traffic. For traffic-free riding, please check out the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway section north of Banks and the first half of the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway.