Launched in 2005 and unique in the United States, Oregon’s Scenic Bikeway program mixes culture, jaw-dropping scenery and wonderful cycling for an unforgettable pedaling experience. The newest addition to this trail system is the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway.
Anchored in the quaint fishing town of Port Orford, this Bikeway offers 60 miles of moderate trails shaded by lush, old-growth forests. Scenery along the way includes the Elk River as well as stunning views of the rugged coastline and historic Cape Blanco Lighthouse.
The Bikeway, which can be cycled in one day or broken into sections, allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of the Coast as well as the charms of Port Orford. Here, you can refuel with a strong cup of coffee and great eats, rest and rejuvenate at a locally owned B&B or peruse a local art gallery. Make time to check out one of the town’s most iconic features — a dolly dock where boats in the commercial fishing fleet are hoisted in and out of the harbor by a huge crane.
For an in-town cycle, the perfect starting point is the historic Battle Rock Park, with views of Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve, a protected habitat for marine mammals and nesting shorebirds.
Test your lungs along a 17-mile stretch of the Bikeway that traverses the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest along the Wild and Scenic Elk River. You’ll peddle through old-growth forests and past pools teeming with native salmon and trout. Explore the Elk River Fish Hatchery, or brave the cold water for a dip in one of many swimming holes.
A steady, gentle climb out of town terminates at Cape Blanco State Park, home to Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Built in 1870, it’s the oldest working lighthouse in the state. Because of its vulnerable location, Cape Blanco bears the brunt of fierce winter storms. Massive windswept Sitka spruce trees are visible evidence of gusts measured as high as 184 miles per hour!
Another out-and-back ride takes you a few easy miles to Paradise Point State Recreation Site, where you can cruise right up to a sandy beach with postcard-perfect views. Or explore Port Orford Heads State Park, home to a historic Coast Guard lifeboat station that has been converted into a museum. On a clear day, you can see all the way north to Paradise Point, the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Cape Blanco.
Click here for online maps and other tools to plan an unforgettable ride.
Photo by Timothy Scahill