Covered Bridges 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.
Here’s a fact not many people know: Lane County has more remaining covered bridges than any county west of the Mississippi River. So what could be better than a ride that celebrates several of them — along with some small-town charm, a beautiful lake at the foot of the Cascades and a smooth, mostly flat rails-to-trails bike path from downtown out past the lake?
The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway follows the Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Tour Route and is appropriate for almost any rider. You can do an out-and-back on the Row River Trail path and stay traffic-free, or for variety you can go out on the path and back via roads including one good climb, if you like that sort of thing (you can also easily bypass the climb). This is a refreshing, naturally beautiful ride youre sure to enjoy, and a great chance to check out Cottage Grove, an historic town with a handsome old downtown and lots of activities and attractions.
From parking areas in downtown Cottage Grove at the Community Center or Bohemia Park, visitors can travel 17 miles of smoothly paved off-street path along the north side of Dorena Lake, passing three of the six covered bridges on the route. All three of these bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dorena Bridge is a popular wedding site, for those visitors wanting a bit of romance in addition to scenery. Four bathroom stops, seven parking areas, and three picnic areas along this part of the route provide many rest opportunities and a chance to get off the bike and enjoy the scenery. A store in the modest community of Dorena provides snacks and refreshments.
Visitors comfortable riding on the shouldered roadway can ride the 17 miles back to Cottage Grove on the road, and view another covered bridge. Those who want to bypass the Garoutte Road hill can return to the bike path at the western end of the lake. Two campgrounds and one bathroom stop provide recreational and rest opportunities.
Within Cottage Grove, visitors share low-speed Main Street with cars through the National Register-listed Downtown Commercial Historic District. A number of coffee and ice cream spots, restaurants, pubs, shops, and a bike shop face Main Street and offer refreshment or services. At the western end of downtown, the Bikeway includes views of two more covered bridges and a footbridge. Of note is the Chambers Bridge, the only covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi also listed on the National Register.
Several area parks offer services: Schwarz Park near Dorena Lake has a campground and restroom facilities; Bake Stewart Park and Wilson Creek Park also offer restrooms.
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.
Check out A Family-Friendly Outing on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway, an itinerary based on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway video.
Important Traffic Information:
In addition to visiting TripCheck.com, please contact the Lane County Bureau of Land Management office at 541-683-6600 for current information about road conditions.
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.