Why it’s great: The state’s newest scenic bikeway charts 50 miles of Willamette Valley splendor. Officially designated by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department this May, the ride links Hillsboro’s Rood Bridge Park to rustic Vernonia. In between, a cinematic landscape unfolds: low-traffic blacktop roads wind among oak-dotted horse pastures, fir-fringed hills, a pioneer cemetery, barns, and grain silos before joining the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, a 21-mile, car-free bikeway that bisects L. L. “Stub” Stewart State Park. Not up for the century-distance round trip? The bite-size (and relatively flat) 24-mile out-and-back tour between Hillsboro and Forest Grove comes loaded with excellent birding at Fernhill Wetlands and enticing pit stops like Unger’s Farm Store and Oak Knoll Winery.

Don’t forget: While quiet backroads abound on the route, wide shoulders do not. Riders should be comfortable in traffic. Two crossings—Highway 47 and Highway 6—require extra caution. For turn-by-turn directions for the route go to oregon.gov/oprd/bike/pages/TVSB.aspx

Post-ride watering hole: Ochoa’s Mexican Grill  On weekend afternoons, the aroma of sizzling onions and jalapeños fills the air within a two-block radius of this neon-orange Hillsboro taqueria. Order plates of juicy pastor burritos with sweat-inducing house sauces and chopped cilantro, then pick through a cooler of icy Negro Modelos and Victorias. 943 SE Oak St; 503-640-4755; no website 

Trailhead directions: Follow US 26 to exit 69A and merge onto Highway 217. Take exit 2A and turn right onto Canyon Road. In 6.8 miles turn left onto SE Brookwood Avenue, followed by an immediate right onto SE Witch Hazel Road. In less than mile turn left onto SE Rood Bridge Road and look for the park entrance on your left. No fees or permits required.

Check out our slide show of images from the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway by clicking the photo below!

Pastoral scenes along the bike-friendly route.
Image: Brian Barker