Who can resist the allure of historic covered bridges? Walk inside the cool, creaky chambers, damp from the water below, and peer through sunlit slats at the river. In fall, autumn leaves frame these gorgeous landmarks; in spring it's wildflowers. In winter the bridges may be dusted with snow or hung with icicles, and in summer they provide a shady respite from the hot sun. There's a reason Cottage Grove is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of the West.
Cottage Grove is one of the best destinations for seeing the most covered bridges with the least amount of effort. The six bridges include some of the region's most significant bridges including Lane County's oldest covered bridge and the only remaining covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi.
Driving the six-bridge tour route is a simple undertaking that loops through town and around Dorena Reservoir. The approximately 30-mile scenic byway is complete with beautiful picnic sites and many photo opportunities. You can even drive through two of the bridges.
Choose your touring method —rent bikes or drive a car and take in the views along the way. Small sections of the tour can be done on foot or by wheelchair but you'll need additional transportation to visit all six bridges. The covered bridge route starts in historic downtown and leads out and around Dorena Lake. Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the wayside parks.
Covered Bridge Tour Driving Directions
1. Centennial Bridge - From I-5 Exit 174, head west toward downtown, go over bridge and continue on Highway 99, turn right onto Main St. Bridge is six blocks ahead on the right.
2. Chambers Bridge - Continue south on River Rd. Bridge is .3 miles ahead on left.
3. Mosby Creek Bridge - Proceed south on River Rd to Highway 99, turn left and go all the way to Main St. Turn right and continue 3.25 miles. Bridge is on the left at Layng Rd.
4. Stewart Bridge - Continue east on Mosby Creek Rd. Bridge is 1.25 miles ahead on the left at Garoutte Rd.
5. Dorena Bridge - Follow Garoutte Rd 2.5 miles to Shoreview Dr, turn right and go 5.5 miles. Bridge is on the right near junction with Row River Rd.
6. Currin Bridge - Turn left onto Row River Rd and go 8.5 miles. Bridge is on the left at Layng Rd.
After completing the bridge loop, visit the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum to delve into the region's rich history. Finish the day shopping along Main Street at the many antique stores and used bookstores and enjoy a craft beer at one of the local breweries in town.
Cycling The Covered Bridges
Cyclists know that an even more rewarding mode for touring the covered bridges is by bicycle. The bridges are connected by gorgeous bike paths with some flat, smooth sections considered "family-friendly." In 2015, the Covered Bridge Scenic Bikeway became Oregon's very first designated scenic bikeway. The full ride is approximately 36 miles (57.94 km) and of moderate difficulty.
Many businesses in Cottage Grove are bike-friendly and cater to the cycling community. Rainy Peak Bicycles also has rentals, or you can rent bicycles in Eugene and take a bike-friendly LTD bus (Route 98) to Cottage Grove. Several annual cycling events are also based in Cottage Grove. Extend your bicycle tour into adjacent Wine Country for a truly memorable cycling holiday.