Is it cold? Is it hot? The weather is so day to day it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on out there. We suggest dressing in layers, bringing a water bottle, and acclimating to the outdoors with a fabulous bike ride on one of Oregon’s many splendid paths.
In the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region, try a 2.8 mile trek on the Ruth Bascom Trail’s East Bank Path just before sunset. Cooler evenings offer excellent lighting, mild temperatures, and a storybook atmosphere.
Leaves are falling at the base of the Owosso Bridge, leading up to the primordial-looking Delta Ponds. You may even spot some wildlife!
For an urban ride, take your bike through the streets of downtown and join the weekend fun with Duck Downtown, a Friday night kickoff celebration of the 2015 Oregon Duck’s Football Season. Expect these events before every University of Oregon Football home game in Eugene, there’s one going on right now! Don’t forget to don your yellow and green while you enjoy live music, chances to win prizes, and of course, an appearance from The Duck himself!
If you’re in the mood for something more rugged, try a trip to Westfir and mount up for 15.3 miles on the Alpine Trail. The trees are beautiful through here, and covered with multi-hued lichen that pleasingly contrasts with their ancient trunks.
There’s no doubt about it, whichever mode of transport you use to parallel the Oregon Coast your senses are in for a treat. Seeing waves crash into rocks from your car window is one glorious thing, but to feel the spray of the surf, hear the call of the gulls, and touch the road beneath your feet is something differently special. Wear a helmet and reflective gear, get on your bike and embark on the 4 mile Otter Crest Loop, beginning on Highway 101 at the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint and ending at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area. A highway shoulder ride that is not for the faint of heart, this route brings you closer to the ocean as the old highway winds its way up and down Cape Foulweather along precipitous cliffs. Admire the stonework of the Ben Jones Bridge, and climb steadily through serene forest on a recently paved, silky smooth road. While enjoying breathtaking panoramas, try to spot the first tinges of red and yellow on coastal aspen and maple trees.
East of Salem and close to the amazing Silver Falls you will find Santiam State Forest. Within this natural area access is granted to over 25 miles of non-motorized trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Grab your mountain bike to explore the 6 miles of dirt path that make up the Shellburg Falls Recreation Area and catch sight of the namesake falls. Among this network is the 0.8 mile Vine Maple Trail.
During this segment, be on the lookout for these beautiful, changing trees. Make a night of it, pack a tent and sneak in an end of summer camping experience at the secluded and well-maintained Shellburg Falls Campground, open May to October.
Oh, what a wonderful time to be outdoors! There is no better place in the Greater Portland area to run or bike than the 11.3 mile Leif Erickson Trail in Forest Park, the largest wooded city park in the nation. The trailhead can be accessed from NW Thurman St, winding it’s pretty little way to end at NW Germantown Rd. Mileage is marked by white concrete posts, and though the path was once used by automobiles, it is now only for non-motorized use. Some areas are paved, some are dirt path, and throughout your journey lush greenery surrounds. A brilliant path whether raining or shine, break a sweat and smile at the season’s changes.
Mt. Hood/The Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge sure is magical. Experience it on two wheels and use your own power as you bike Gorge Trail #400 – Eagle Creek to Cascade Locks. This is a 2.6 mile stretch filled with waterfalls and whimsy, providing both paved sections as well as some single track trail. A small feat, taking this beautiful path will end you at Bridge of the Gods Trailhead where you can choose whether or not to continue your adventure. Lush forest, mossy rocks, and riparian trees await.
Eastern Oregon is famous for dusty prairies and majestic sun, be it rise or set. Draw inspiration from the elements and start your day of road cycling at the crack of dawn to end it after dusk. Prepare yourself for the Blue Mountain Century Ride, over 100 miles of pure atmosphere with the wind in your hair and the ground at your feet. This ride is on most people’s bucket lists, so don’t be intimidated by the full stretch. Join in on any part of the Highway 395 expanse, from Heppner to Ukiah, and you’re sure to be blown away by whatever you see.
Try a trek on the beautiful Oregon California & Eastern Woods Line State Trail, rail lines converted to trails for pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle use. The conversion follows the old OC&E and Weyerhaeuser railroads for 105 miles through Klamath County making it Oregon’s longest state park. Pick up the trail from the Klamath Falls Trailhead and follow the paved path for 8 miles to the town of Olene. Get a load of scenic ranch lands, rivers and forested buttes, and experience the historic 1898 steel bridge that spans the A Canal. Bring water, and be ready to double back. This trail is not a loop.