The Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway winds through sage, juniper and basalt palisades towering above the Deschutes and Crooked rivers. (Pictured: Lake Billy Chinook by Steve Terrill)

Oregon cyclists have two more reasons to raise their water bottles and cheer. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) recently unveiled two new official scenic bikeways — Tualatin Valley and Madras Mountain Views. Located in the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon respectively, these routes offer two more ways to see the state’s beauty from behind the handlebars.

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway comprises more than 50 miles of riding along the rural back roads of the northern Willamette Valley and includes the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, a 20-mile route closed to traffic. Take in views of the Coast Range, family farms, vineyards and wildlife along this route, which passes the Tualatin River in spots.

Alex Phillips, OPRD Bicycle Recreation Coordinator, says the ride offers excellent proximity to local farms. “You go past the vineyards and there are tons of different farms along the way. When we were riding it we could smell the strawberries on the fields.”

With the MAX Light Rail from Portland stopping 1 mile from the start and a bus from Portland to Banks (the Ride Connection), carless options are good. Campsites at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park make this ride a great first timer’s bike tour, Phillips says.

Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway, a moderate, 30-mile loop in Central Oregon, starts in the charming downtown of Madras and winds through sage, juniper and basalt palisades towering above the Deschutes and Crooked rivers. “It is the best place for views of the Cascades in Central Oregon,” Phillips says. Riders enjoy views of Sisters, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson as well as local farms growing grass, onion and carrot seed as well as garlic, potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, lavender and mint.

Phillips says the Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway is one to keep in mind for winter riding, too. “You can ride that bikeway when other parts of the state aren’t great for riding. There are so many more warm days in Madras. Even if there is snow in Bend, sometimes you can ride it.”

The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program highlights the best of the state’s scenic, historic, natural and cultural experiences. Oregon currently has 11 official scenic bikeways. Visit RideOregonRide.com for route details, or download or order a free Oregon Scenic Bikeways guide.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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