Tasty Adventures on the Great Umpqua Food Trail

Joni Kabana,  Photographer
August 7, 2018

Heading out on a Southern Oregon road trip and need a great cup of coffee, an amazing farm-to-table dinner or a tasting room with a view around Roseburg? Now you can pull out the Great Umpqua Food Trail map to find about 70 stops just a short detour off the highway that focus on local ingredients that were grown, raised, harvested or created in Southern Oregon’s “Great Umpqua” region — named for the watershed and the lush valleys through which the river and its tributaries flow.

Choose a section of the trail for a day (or week) of food adventure: wineries, breweries and farm-to-table restaurants, farmers markets, farm stands, seafood sellers, u-pick farms, bakeries, cafes and guest ranches. The trail is anchored in Roseburg, with three different sections to explore: to Reedsport along Highway 138, also known as the Umpqua River Scenic Byway; around Roseburg and Winston; and northeast along the North Umpqua River to Idleyld Park, just past Glide. Here’s some of what you’ll find along the way.

A farmer from Norm Lehne Garden & Orchards grins proudly at her produce during the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market, located on the Great Umpqua Food Trail
Greet the day with a rainbow of produce at Umpqua Valley Farmers Market.

Umpqua-Grown Itinerary

Roseburg to Winston

Farm-fresh feasts await on this scenic journey through the heart of Umpqua Valley.

Greet the day with a rainbow of produce at Umpqua Valley Farmers Market. Ready-to-eat options include savory dips from Blue Nile Authentic Hummus, organic kombucha from Omgrown Family Farm and Thai-styles dishes at The Dragon Wagon.

Venture west of Roseburg to the farms and fields of Umpqua Valley. Gourmet jams and pies steal the show at Kruse Farms, among a large inventory of food and gifts. Across the way, try small-batch mead at the friendly tasting room of Oran Mor Artisan Mead, then mosey next door to Season Cellars for acclaimed wines made from a variety of grapes. The sips continue at Delfino Vineyards, a family-owned boutique winery featuring artisan wines and acres of photo-worthy vines.

The tiny community of Lookingglass enjoys quiet fame for its country store built in 1875 and still in operation. On Thursdays, from spring to the holidays, the Lookingglass Grange Farm Market hosts an array of talented food and craft vendors. A quick trip south, sip award-winning tempranillo at the famous Abacela Winery and learn about its sustainability efforts.

Ripe fruit and vegetables are aplenty at Brosi Sugar Tree Farms, where U-pick fields offer big discounts. Reward your efforts at Freed Estate Winery, a vineyard whose accolades for wine are matched by a fun tasting room atmosphere inspired by the tropics. Cap the day with an incredible farm-to-table dinner experience at Parrot House Restaurant, housed in a historic house, featuring ingredients of the Umpqua Valley, and cheers the region’s bounty.

Blue skies and yellow vines make a picture-perfect moment at Bradley Vineyards in Elkton, along the Great Umpqua Food Trail.
Sip estate wines at Bradley Vineyards, the town’s longest-standing, family-owned vineyard.

Sip to the Sea Itinerary

Elkton to Reedsport

Travelers reap the rewards of this river route known for wine, berries and seafood.

Your journey begins in the enchanting butterfly pavilion at Elkton Community Education Center. The student-operated Outpost Cafe has smoothies and pastries to fuel your day. A hand-hewn replica of historic Fort Umpqua is just steps away, down the trail through the native plant park.

Cool coastal mountain valleys make the Elkton AVA a distinctive wine region. Sip estate wines at Bradley Vineyards, the town’s longest-standing, family-owned vineyard, and Brandborg Vineyard & Winery, where pours can be enjoyed with a downtown patio view. Across the street, Tomaselli’s Pastry Mill & Cafe reinvents homestyle cooking with specialty pizzas and sandwiches, plus mouthwatering baked goods like elk claw, a local favorite.

Continue west (with a designated driver if you are drinking) to River’s Edge Winery for small-batch pinot noir and a glimpse of the winemaking process taking place just behind the tasting bar. The Umpqua River Scenic Byway shows the way to Grilled Berry Cafe, tucked into the Riverbanks Speedy Market, featuring fresh takes on southern Cajun classics. Enjoy the food at Scottsburg Park’s serene picnic area overlooking the river.

Just before the Pacific peaks over the horizon, stop at Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area and marvel at herds of Roosevelt elk before dusk. As the ocean air saturates your senses, head to dinner at Harbor Light Restaurant, serving local seafood as well as hearty steaks and pot pies. End the evening at the copper bar of Defeat River Brewery in the heart of Reedsport.

A bartender pours beer under a "drink local" sign at Backside Brewing, one of the stops on the Great Umpqua Food Trail.
At Backside Brewing, comfort food complements a sizable selection of craft beers, including special brews with notes of coffee or peach.
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Rambling Rivers Itinerary

Roseburg to Idleyld Park

A wild river leads through the woods to a variety of local epicurean delights.

Start the morning right with fresh coffee and sandwiches at Darkroom Espresso, also an art gallery, and stock up on locally made treats for the road. Head north to U.S. 99, where outdoor escapades await along the North Umpqua Wild and Scenic River at the Winchester Dam Fish Ladder, on forested hiking trails and in Colliding Rivers Park, where two mighty rivers converge.

Arrange a tasting at River Ranch Oregon Olive Oil, where riverside orchards yield aromatic olive varieties that are masterly captured in liquid form.

A short jaunt to Susan Creek Falls is well worth the detour, rewarded by a satisfying lunch and Oregon spirits at the historic Steamboat Inn in Idleyld Park. Save room for a slice of warm berry pie, with enough time to admire the rushing river from the patio.

Follow the currents west to Roseburg for a slew of tasty dinner options. At Backside Brewing, comfort food complements a sizable selection of craft beers, including special brews with notes of coffee or peach. The wood-fired pizza is one of a kind at Old Soul Pizza, with creative toppings and cozy digs in downtown. Raise a glass to the day with wine and charcuterie at Cooper Ridge Vineyard, arguably one of the best views of the Umpqua Valley, perched high above the river.

When you go:

Take your tour any time of year, but make sure to check hours of operation at each business before you go and know the perks of each season — blueberries and peaches are at their peak in August; pumpkins in late September and October, and less-crowded wine touring during the winter months. For a personalized experience, make an appointment for a tour when possible, such as at Helios Farms. Before you go, check road conditions and make sure to fuel up, since gas stations can be harder to find on country roads. It’s a good idea to spend the night in the area; great options include The Painted Lady Bed & Breakfast and Tea Room in Myrtle Creek, a remodeled historic home famous for its five-course breakfast; and the Big K Guest Ranch in Elkton, which serves up home-cooked meals and offers hunting and fishing excursions. And be respectful of farm animals and equipment when visiting; always supervise children and remember that farms are private property. Lastly — don’t forget to bring home a taste of your journey to share with friends!


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About The
Author

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters and other online content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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