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70-mile ‘Cascading Rivers’ route becomes Oregon’s 12th scenic bikeway

Posted by on July 1st, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Faraday Road along the Clackamas River is part of the route.

Just in time for peak summer riding season, the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission has just approved the latest State Scenic Bikeway. The Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway is a 70-mile route that takes riders from Estacada to Detroit along the Clackamas and Breitenbush Rivers.

Here’s more about the route from its official description:

Water is the dominant force that sculpts this steep volcanic landscape of the West Cascades. All along this route water and rock interact to create a place of dramatic beauty and inspiration. Rivers, rapids, waterfalls, hot springs and lakes captivate and guide the rider. Time is forgotten as a rider looks up to the sky through ancient forests that line the bikeway. Riders may experience glimpses of elk and grouse or rest along the route to a symphony of forest songbirds. The bikeway parallels the Breitenbush River and the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Clackamas River along rocky riffles and quiet pools where native coho, chinook and steelhead seek their ancient spawning beds.

Experienced riders who seek a challenge will love this 70 mile one-way route of forested splendor paired with a 3,125 foot climb from Estacada and 1,985 foot climb from Detroit. A shorter family-friendly ride is available from Estacada on Faraday Road, which is closed to motor vehicles.

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Major campgrounds along the way include Milo McIver State Park, Ripplebrook, Breitenbush (home of the famous hot springs), and Detroit Lake.

Like all Scenic Bikeways, the route was created by local stakeholders who applied for the official designation through a review process run by the Parks Department. Local proponents of this route included the Detroit Business Association, the Estacada and Detroit Chambers of Commerce, Clackamas County Tourism Development, Travel Lane County, the US Forest Service, the Mt. Hood Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, City of Sandy Economic Development office, and many others.

A detailed map with a list of services available to bicycle riders is available at RideOregonRide.com.

This is our state’s 12th official Scenic Bikeway route since the program was established in 2008.

Currently the route is unsigned, but state road crews are expected to have new directional and safety signage installed “later this summer.”

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  • Todd Boulanger July 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Sweet! Way to Go Oregon!!

    Ps. Please also consider adding route stencils too at route changes…perhaps even a themed stencil or logotherm type install.

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    • Suburban July 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Why would you want to put stencils or stickers on a scenic road? Is it to avoid riding with a map?

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    • DNP July 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      I think they will put signs at any turns. The Willamette Valley and Sisters-Smith Rock Scenic Bikeways have them. However, this route is about as easy as it gets as far as wayfinding.

      It is a beautiful road. I road it once on tour and had no problems. Many of the campsites looked very nice, but I was riding straight through to Detroit. The first gas station/general store that you roll up on has some excellent homemade pastries. Blondies and lemon bars were tasty. The All Season’s Motel across the street was great. The manager offered me free rags to clean my bike and suggested I bring it in my room. An excellent welcome after a very wet ride.

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    • matt picio July 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Most of this route is National Forest Service land – so any signage or markings have to be approved by them, and meet the standards required by the Forest Service. It’s unlikely that roadway markings would be approved without concerted effort, despite the (relatively) low cost. If you feel very strongly about them, then I would advise contacting the Mount Hood National Forest and asking for the contact info for their recreation coordinator and voicing your concerns/recommendations. These kind of improvements only happen when concerned citizens voice their opinions and follow the issue through to completion.

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  • Mike Quiglery July 2, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Mmmmm…. Narrow, winding road without shoulders driven by campers, local rednecks and weekend drunks. Mmmmmmm……….

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    • Gregg July 2, 2014 at 9:05 am

      A few years ago I took Trimet from the Woodlawn Neighborhood to Estacada and rode this route to Breitenbush. I had the road to myself almost the entire route, and didn’t see a car for hours. I did, however watch an osprey catch a huge fish (bigger than the bird) and struggle like mad to get it out of the water. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve watched from my saddle.

      There are also plenty of destinations off of this route that are worth checking out (Camping, hot springs, hikes, etc)

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      • Chris I July 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

        What day of the week/time of year was this? I can’t imagine one would have a similar experience on July 4th or 5th.

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    • Chris I July 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

      This area is notorious for rednecks and DUI. I would ride this early on a weekday, but never on a holiday weekend.

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  • AG July 2, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Last week we rode the Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway outside of Bend and found it to be not-so-scenic and a little unpleasant. Heavy trucks – double trailer dump trucks, cement trucks and others passing every five minutes. It seemed that a “Scenic Bikeway” was needed so “voila!”. The last mile the road was closed and there was no signage or detour.

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    • Austin July 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

      If you were seeing heavy construction equipment, maybe they were working on a temporary project near the road? I don’t know, just a thought.
      If that is the case, then it sounds like right place, wrong time for you.
      If that isn’t the case, then… whoops for the route.

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      • AG July 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        I think two sand and gravel yards are located along the route. Also new subdivisions going in. As an everyday training ride it might be okay.

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    • rob July 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      The Twin Bridges ride is not very good, this is true. Unfortunately, it is one of the better rides in the area.

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  • AG July 2, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Oh, and the promised “dancing with the Deschutes” was a quick glimpse as you crossed the two unremarkable bridges and headed up the other side of the valley.

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  • SilkySlim July 2, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Scenic bike to Breitenbush? Count me in.

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  • Gabriel Amadeus July 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Awesome! Been following this for a while now, Estacada is super primed to to bring the bike tourism to their area. It’s so accessible from Portland. There are plenty of scenic low-traffic routes besides 224 to Estacada and the redneck traffic past Faraday Lake isn’t really that bad.

    I’m working on a “scenic dirtway” out in the neighborhood this weekend that links the historic Abbot Rd with the Barlow Trail up the Clackamas and around Government Camp.

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  • fredlf July 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

    So what are the benefits of the Scenic Bikeway designation? Wider shoulders? Extra enforcement against the inevitable country road shenanigans? Extra penalties for drivers engaging in those shenanigans?

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    • El Biciclero July 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

      “So what are the benefits of the Scenic Bikeway designation?”


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  • Joe July 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I love the Scenic Bikeway designations out here in Oregon, but most don’t come with wide shoulders would be nice if all drivers understood bikes can take lane if needed in these areas of narrow. Or have the DMV test get drivers to understand this better ;). * what happenes is most follow to close or pass as wrong time/unsafe speed. dirtways 🙂 awesome buffered

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  • GlowBoy July 2, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Another benefit is that drivers on these roads will get used to seeing cyclists, and nearby businesses will get used to accommodating them.

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  • drew July 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I have ridden this route several times. Faraday road is closed to cars and is a wonderful ride. The road to detroit is low traffic and very scenic with lots of camping opportunities. Try taking a left at the Ollalie lake turnoff for a spectacular climb leading to great camping. Keep going on the dirt road to make a loop. Lots of huckleberries in September.

    Much of the route does have some shoulder. I never had a problem with motorists out there. Highly recommended!

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  • Joe July 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Kinda was ref to http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/BIKE/Pages/index.aspx

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  • gl. July 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    amisigger road keeps me from visiting estacada more often. fast downhill, no shoulder, blind curves.

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  • Tom Moore July 2, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Anyone riding in this area should really also include the loop from Ripplebrook Ranger Station up to HIgh Rocks and down around the east side of Timothy Lake back to 224. The descent down NF-42 back to 224 just rolls along downhill gradually through lush forest for miles and miles and miles…awesome!

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  • Mike bodd July 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    I rode this last sat am on the route early 5 am in estatucky i rode south plenty of water at campgrounds climb not bad at all long but not real steep southbound. I rolled into detroit at 11:15 pretty easy. Very light traffic maybe 1 car per 5-7 min. I had it all to myself and it was abosolutely beautiful. Great road surface too. From there i hit the 22 went east and south till i caught the 126 west and rode on into Eugene breaking my one day distance record at 209. 16:43 in the saddle. Ouch.

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