Southern Oregon gets two new State Scenic Bikeways

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Photo by Muuqi Maxwell courtesy of RideOregonRide.com

Cyclists have two new State Scenic Bikewayswith this week's approval of two more in southern Oregon by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. The Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway, based at Ashland, and the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway, based at Port Orford, are both long, winding routes into the mountains.

The Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway incorporates 5,000 feet of steep and winding climbing through oak savannah into fir forests, showcasing the ecologically diverse ecosystem of the region.

The 55-mile Bikeway starts in Ashland, a town famous for theater and fantastic dining that’s also a great base camp for many outdoor recreation opportunities. This region is so ecologically significant that 62,000 acres of it is designated as the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

This route climbs oak-dotted mountainsides, offering spectacular views of the Bear Creek Valley below and of Pilot Rock, a 25 million-year-old volcanic plug, standing sentinel over the valley. In spring, wildflowers cover this savannah ecosystem as red-tailed hawks soar overhead.

Above the oak savannah, the Bikeway enters the Cascades ecosystem, with tall pines and Douglas firs providing welcome shade on the way to the 4,551-foot Greensprings Summit. Riders can opt for a 5-mile out-and-back to historic Tub Springs State Wayside, where they can fill water bottles from a cold, pure mountain spring, just as emigrants traveling the Applegate Trail did in the 1800s.

Near Hyatt Reservoir you’ll see views of 9,000-foot Mount McLoughlin, with glimpses of osprey and bald eagles nesting.

Just when you think the climbing is over, there is one final 3-mile climb through the wildflower-covered alpine meadows of Lily Glen and Buck Prairie before a thrilling, winding 13-mile descent back to Ashland.

Bike campers can plan a two-day adventure by staying at one of several campgrounds near Hyatt Reservoir or Howard Prairie Lake.