Just because we’re about to launch into the worst weather month of the year doesn’t mean we can’t dream of sunnier days. And the recent debut of two new scenic bikeways makes those fantasies that much easier. Last week, the Oregon Park and Recreation Department and Oregon Travel Commission announced the addition of the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway, near Cottage Grove, and the Twin Bridges Loop, near Bend. We give you the Cliff Notes on the two new routes, which bring the total number of state-designated scenic bikeways to eight. For detailed information, including maps and directions, about all of the routes, visit oregonscenicbikeways.org.
Twin Bridges Loop
Beginning and ending at downtown Bend’s Mirror Pond, this moderate loop traces 36 miles of undulating terrain. Four miles out, you’ll hit Shevlin Park, a 652-acre, ponderosa pine-studded preserve along Tumalo Creek. From here, you’ll climb north and west past llama farms, hayfields, and jaw-dropping views of the Cascades. The town of Tumalo, at the 25-mile mark provides the perfect place to fuel up for the remaining 10 miles. An americano from Bend’s boutique roaster Bellatazza or a snack from Farmer John’s Produce ought to give you plenty of power for the mile-long climb out of town … and the final few miles back to Bend.
Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway
With 17 miles of traffic-free riding, Cottage Grove’s moderate bikeway seems destined to become a hit with families. You’ll share the road with cars for a brief stretch in historic downtown Cottage Grove, but once you hit the Row River Trail—a paved multiuse path running along an abandoned railroad line—you’ll be car-free for more than 15 miles. Hugging Dorena Lake’s northern shore, the Row River Trail passes three covered bridges, all of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and delivers you to the quaint community of Dorena. Stop into Kirk & Family Mercantile for a quick snack before heading back to Cottage Grove, this time, perhaps, along the lake’s southern shore. You’ll have to share the road with your four-wheeled friends if you go this way, but you’ll also snag a glimpse of one more covered bridge.