Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway
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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.
RIDER ALERT (9/15/14): Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway is temporarily closed due to wildfires in the area. Learn More
The Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway follows the woven Clackamas and Breitenbush rivers in a 70-mile route from Estacada to Detroit. Water is the dominant force that sculpts the volcanic landscape of the West Cascades. All along this route, water and rock interact to create a place of dramatic beauty and inspiration. Rivers, rapids, waterfalls, hot springs and lakes captivate and guide the rider. Time is forgotten as a pausing rider looks up to the sky through ancient forests that line the bikeway. Where there is water, there is life. Riders may experience glimpses of elk or a fluttering grouse or rest along the route to a symphony of forest songbirds.
The bikeway parallels the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Clackamas River along rocky riffles, quiet pools and reservoirs. Beneath the waters, native runs of coho, chinook and steelhead salmon seek their ancient spawning beds. Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson smile down upon the exploring cyclist.
Experienced riders who seek a challenge will be most attracted to this 72-mile route of forested splendor paired with a 3,125-foot climb from Estacada and 1,985-foot climb from Detroit. A shorter family-friendly ride is available from Estacada. Those coming from the north or through Portland Airport will be able to utilize the Portland TriMet system all the way to Estacada. Free parking is available in both Estacada and Detroit. The U.S. Forest Service offices in both Detroit and Estacada offer campsite information and road condition reports. This route is closed during late fall and winter.
Remove the stresses of civilization with a walk through the towns of Estacada or Detroit. Both are full-service towns with many options for eating. Both towns are situated on tranquil waters and are similarly rooted in historical attachments to water power, mountains and forests.
Important Traffic Information:
Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway
Motorized vehicle traffic volume is low to moderate in late spring and fall, but higher on weekends and holidays during summer months. Most of the route through the national forest is narrow, steep and winding with limited to no shoulder. Watch out for truck traffic, fallen rocks or trees, and possible damaged road surface conditions and slippery surfaces during wet or icy weather. In the winter, Road 46 is not maintained for travel. Much of the route is closed by snow in late fall to early spring. Roads are only maintained from late spring to fall. Check Road 46 status with local Ranger District offices. Highway 224 conditions can be found on ODOT’s Trip Check website. Cell coverage is extremely limited.
All Scenic Bikeways
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.
Camping and hot showers are available at Milo McIver State Park (start of the bikeway) and Detroit Lake State Park (end of the bikeway). Milo McIver State Park offers hiker-biker sites for a reduced rate.
Order a free copy of the Oregon Scenic Bikeway guide, and start exploring the best routes that Oregon has to offer — all from the seat of a bike.