View Full Version : Champoeg to Eugene

02-04-2010, 05:40 PM
Anybody ever take the bike route from Champoeg Park to Eugene? I see it's 135 miles, probably at the top of my one-day ride mileage. It looks fairly flat. Any critiques out there? Thanks so much.


02-05-2010, 07:57 AM
DR, a couple of thoughts on the route that i think shave a few miles off the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway route -

- south of Salem you can cross the river at the Buena Vista Ferry (assuming it's running) - there's a good back way in to Albany via Buena Vista / Springhill Rds., where you re-cross the river into Albany. Riding the ferry is a treat, and this way looks like it saves just a few miles.

- once you're on Peoria Rd. on the east bank of the river, south of Corvallis, you can just fly straight on down to Harrisburg. It's a pleasant, reasonably low traffic route, as i recall. From Harrisburg you follow Coburg Rd into Eugene. This route saves at least 10 miles over the WVSB route - but you miss Brownsville, which is a pretty little town.

- one final mile-shaving possibility is, if you're thinking of overnighting at Champoeg, is to camp at Willamette Mission State Park at the Wheatland ferry). They have overnight camping group sites only right now (about $70 a night, works for a group ride), but they're allegedly working on adding hiker/biker camp spots - you might check with State Parks to see where they're at with this. Willamette Mission is a fabulous place to stay, *really* quiet once the day-users clear out.

02-05-2010, 11:43 AM
I've ridden from Lake Oswego to and/or from Albany a few times, roughly following that route. Once I combined the Canby, Wheatland, and Buena Vista ferries all into the same ride. Make sure the ferry is running and not shut down due to high water this time of year. Camping at Willamette Mission SP might also be a problem if there is high water. Take maps. You'll see some signs for the route, but unless it's a lot better that it used to be you don't want to depend on the signs to tell you where to go.

The area south of Salem is a bit hilly as I recall, depending on what route you follow. If you're in good shape, start early, and assume your in for an all day ride, it seems reasonably within reach.

02-05-2010, 02:19 PM
Once I combined the Canby, Wheatland, and Buena Vista ferries all into the same ride.

that's the Oregon Ferry Trifecta!

02-05-2010, 09:34 PM
I did the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway last year as well. I took the short-cut that avoids Brownsville (just like Jeff suggested), but for the most part I kept pretty faithful to the most current route.

As for Willamette Mission, I heard a rumor that the park rangers will allow through cyclists to camp there. Don't know if its a fact, maybe next time I'll try. (and I hope they build a hiker/biker site soon!)

The biggest problem I had with the route (besides the lack of signage through Marion County, at least when I biked it in August of 2009) is there's NO LEGAL PLACE TO CAMP between Champoeg and Willamette Mission to Brownsville, which is a distance approaching 100 miles! I don't think most people want to push a century between campgrounds. I was fully prepared for the possibility of stealth camping, but I found a motel room in Albany for cheap (and it was starting to rain.) Hopefully they'll figure out something, ideally between Salem and Albany.

02-06-2010, 07:00 AM
...there's NO LEGAL PLACE TO CAMP between Champoeg and Willamette Mission to Brownsville, which is a distance approaching 100 miles! I don't think most people want to push a century between campgrounds...

yep, indeed, something is really needed here...Corvallis used to have a City park that allowed camping, but they ended that some years ago.

Anyone know of any privately-run campsites in this area?

02-21-2010, 09:53 PM
…there's NO LEGAL PLACE TO CAMP between Champoeg and Willamette Mission to Brownsville, which is a distance approaching 100 miles! I don't think most people want to push a century between campgrounds…

Don't forget about camping at places that aren't necessarily campgrounds. I have personally always had great luck with churches, both in Oregon and California.

During my 2009 Spring Break (end of March, beginning of April), I made a short trek from my home in Vancouver to Eugene and back. Three days down: Home–Champoeg, Champoeg–Adair Village, Adair Village–Eugene. Two days back: Eugene–Silver Falls, Silver Falls–Home.

I camped my first night at Champoeg State Park. This is the route that I then took to Adair Village:

Helmick Road south out of Monmouth was a real treat, looking to have been an old alignment of 99W. A low traffic route with views of parallel 99W, on what looks to be the original concrete roadway, no less.

I had called up the pastor at the Prince of Peace Church in Adair Village about a week in advance asking permission to camp on their lawn. He kindly allowed me to do so, and mentioned that he knew others who had before as well. Humorously, I was not told that this church also has a school on their property, which resulted in the odd wake-up call of a school bell (While Washington state has spring break, Oregon is back in school). While there were no bathrooms, a quick ride down the road to the county park resolved that issue.

I can't speak as highly of my next day, however:

Peoria and Coburg Roads basically amount to over 30 miles of the exact same thing: fields. And if you have any aversion to hills, you're in luck.

As much as I would recommend cycling to Silver Falls State Park, I would hold that off until the Summer months. It's a beautiful climb from the south, but at nearly 1,600 ft, I had light snowfall even in April.

A few months ago, I also rode from Eugene to my home in Vancouver in one day's ride of 130 miles. I just got on I-5 from the Beltline Highway, and then didn't get off until downtown Portland. There are multiple rest stops along the way which provided conveniently placed bathroom facilities and picnic tables. The Santiam rest stop even has a nice waterfront picnic area. I also did the entire ride many mph above my average cruising speed thanks to the interstate wind, if you will. Nothing like a 5:45 century!

Not everyone enjoys cycling on the freeway though, and there are numerous other routes in the Willamette Valley to suit almost any kind of touring cyclist.

02-22-2010, 03:50 PM
Nothing like a 5:45 century!...Not everyone enjoys cycling on the freeway though...

um, yeah. I'll do it for short stretches, but not 100 miles - that just sounds wretched to me. I can't quibble with your time, tho. jr, you are indubitably an intrepid cyclist!

And i have it on good authority that Willamette Mission State Park (just north of Salem, at the Wheatland Ferry) will have a hiker/biker camp open starting this summer. Other than the (mostly vacant) group camping sites, there is no overnight camping now, and i'm here to tell you that it's a fantastic, beautiful, quiet camping spot once the day trippers clear out.

Plan your summer bike trip there now.