Bike Craft in Portland
 

COOL ROUTE: Covered Bridges

This is an awesome scenic bikeway!

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 you’re 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.

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This route comes to us courtesy of the Ride Oregon website.

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