Cycling through beautiful landscapes, immersed in nature and far from city life makes for a memorable and revitalizing experience. That tactile feel of wind brushing your skin, mixed with the calm, ambient undertone of nature as you whiz down the road is an unforgettable feeling. If you're an avid cyclist, you recognize the importance of finding truly special routes to ride.

The Eugene, Cascades & Coast region provides cycling enthusiasts with some of the most scenic routes Oregon has to offer. Our outstanding cycling amenities include three Oregon Scenic Bikeways fully or partially within Lane County. These officially recognized routes offer cyclists unique experiences featuring scenic views, historical landmarks, and interesting destinations that riders love to see.

 

We are excited to announce that Cycle Oregon and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are considering the Aufderheide Drive (Forest Service Rd 19) as the latest addition to the Oregon Scenic Bikeway program!

 

About our state's Scenic Bikeway program:

The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program, established in 2009 by Oregon Parks and Recreation, markets and promotes cycling routes that offer cyclists a unique and enjoyable experience – often featuring scenic views, historical landmarks, or interesting destinations.  Oregon became the first state to develop a statewide Scenic Bikeway Program in 2009, which now includes 17 designated bicycle routes across the state.  The first official Scenic Bikeway is our own Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, recognized for its gently rolling hills throughout our world-famous wine country. Throughout the past 15 years, we've worked with Travel Oregon in marketing our share of the state's scenic bikeways – as part of an overall effort to market Oregon as North America’s premier cycling destination.

 

How routes get nominated:

Routes that fit the Scenic Bikeway program, are routes that:

  • Showcase the Oregon’s outstanding natural and built environments

  • Feature a variety of pleasant sensory experiences

  • Present varying recreational challenges for cyclists

  • Promote cycling as a healthy outdoor recreation

  • Follow routes that combine low traffic, slower vehicular speeds, and good cycling facilities (lanes, shoulders, signage, etc.)

Anyone who believes their area has a route that meets these criteria can nominate said route through an application. The applicant must garner letters of general support from local governing bodies from a local proponent group. Local proponent groups are a collection of local business owners, cyclists, forest service staff, and recreation tourism professionals. The proponent group will be engaged in the application process for Scenic Bikeway status and afterward will undertake promotional, marketing, monitoring, infrastructure, and reporting tasks connected with the bikeway.  

Since Travel Lane County is the local promoter of the Aufderheide becoming a Scenic Bikeway, we are the lead proponent and have actively developed and implemented plans for the proposed route.

 

Why we're designating Aufderheide Drive:

Road cycling is a proven, popular activity in Lane County, and our proponent groups believe this designation can further attract visitors, boost local businesses, and encourage everyone to explore the outdoors by bike. Back in 2014, researchers studied the economic impact Oregon Scenic Bikeways had on our state's bicycle tourism and found that:

  • Cyclists spent $12.4 million on food, retail, entertainment, and other accommodations when riding Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways.

  • Cyclists traveling to a Scenic Bikeway on average spent $693 per overnight trip

We recognized the Aufderheide Drive for its spectacular views of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, creeks, and rivers – connection to landmarks like the Terwilliger Hot Spring and Cougar Reservoir – and bridge between Oakridge, Westfir, and the McKenzie River communities. As a historic Willamette Forest Service road, riders will find old-growth forests, mountain meadows, and abundant wildlife. The Aufderheide has over five campgrounds and more than 25 trailheads along its 60-mile stretch, giving users an endless array of places to explore. The Aufderheide is already designated as a National Scenic Byway and Scenic Waterway, which would make its designation as a Scenic Bikeway a recreational trifecta and give it the recognition it deserves.

 

How you can get involved:

Our proponent group is actively writing the Aufderheide Scenic Bikeway plan, which will be reviewed and approved by the Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee. This committee is composed of cycling advocacy groups, statewide transportation planners, federal land managers, and other state-level agencies – who ultimately vote on approving our plan and designating the Aufderheide Drive as an Oregon Scenic Bikeway.

 

We're hosting a webinar with Oregon Parks & Recreation and Cycle Oregon to share our efforts to designate Aufderheide Drive as an Oregon Scenic Bikeway designation – and we'd love for you to attend! 

 

Click here to register

 

Webinar attendees can expect to learn about the criteria for scenic bikeway designation, hear about plans to market the route, ask questions, and provide feedback. We encourage residents, local business owners, and cycling enthusiasts to attend and learn more about the Oregon Scenic Bikeway program. We’re excited at the potential to market, promote, and enjoy this bikeway – and we hope you will be too!