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How to Road Trip to Oakridge Without a Car

Published: May 07, 2021

 

This is a renowned mountain biking destination, but Oakridge-Westfir is also excellent for fishing, birding, hiking, snowshoeing and sightseeing. Follow the Middle Fork of the Willamette River up into the mountains on a picturesque journey passing farmland, lakes, historic covered bridges and old growth forest. In Oakridge, a community of outdoor enthusiasts enjoy craft beer at the local pub and cast out lines at Greenwaters Park.

Lane Transit District (LTD) public bus operates the Diamond Express which connects Eugene to Oakridge-Westfir, Monday - Friday. It does not run on Saturday and Sunday. During the week there are morning and evening departure times from downtown Eugene, and return times from Oakridge in the morning and late afternoon. You can plan a brief day trip or make arrangements for a night or two at a local hotel or lodge. If you go up late Friday, plan to stay for the entire weekend with a return on Monday morning.

Please note: If you miss the return bus ride — or if the bus already has its maximum number of bicycles loaded and you have a bike — you will have to spend the night (or the weekend) and catch the next available bus back. Be on time, and be prepared with a back-up plan for unexpected overnights.

At a rider's request, you can disembark in Westfir, however; the Diamond Express routinely stops at Ray's Food Place just off Highway 58 in Oakridge. From here you are fairly close to the Oakridge Bike Shop and Willamette Market Mercantile where, if you didn't transport your bike, you can rent a demo bike. Due to pandemic protocols, the bike shop's hours are limited and advance reservations are required.

There are dining options and motels along the highway in Oakridge. The walk to the popular local pub is approximately a mile up and into town. Greenwaters Park is also approximately a mile east further along the highway.

To get to mountain biking trailheads, coordinate with a local Oakridge outfitter or lodge. Westfir Lodge offers a range of guided adventure packages along with lodging adjacent a historic covered bridge and one of the best trailheads for hiking and biking. With their food market and home-like atmosphere, you can be assured of comfort there.

Bus Travel Tips

  • Plan your excursion carefully, as many Oakridge destinations may not be easily accessed from the bus stops, and shuttle arrangements with local businesses may need to be coordinated.
  • Pack food and water. While there are excellent restaurants and several markets in the vicinity, your ease of reaching them without a car over longer distances may be challenging. Additionally, river-area stores and restaurants often operate on limited or irregular schedules. 
  • Pack or wear layers as weather conditions may change quickly. Make sure you have rain gear.
  • Make sure you have any needed permits and licenses before you go. The ranger station, or vendors selling licenses, may not be open. Permits may not be available at trailheads. Pre-purchase before heading out.
  • Buses are bike-friendly, so take your mountain bike! But be aware that only a limited number of bikes can be transported on each bus. That means, potentially, there may not be room for you on the return bus, prompting an unplanned overnight.
  • Lane Transit District buses are wheelchair accessible.

Get Inspired By These Oakridge Adventures

While the following road trips are car-based, you may be able to appreciate these experiences as a sightseer or make arrangements with outfitters for a tour.

Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.