Oregon Designates Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway in John Day River Territory
Oregon’s newest Scenic Bikeway traverses the strikingly scenic high desert canyon of north central Oregon, known as the River Canyon Country. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved the designation of the Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway during its June 14 meeting in Salem, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and Travel Oregon announced today.
This 33-mile loop winds along the Deschutes River en route to the Bikeway’s namesake, Sherar’s Falls, where the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs fish for salmon, as they have for thousands of years: from wooden scaffolds using traditional dipnets and setnets. Riders will follow a section of the White River and pass White River Falls State Park, one of Oregon’s secret hideaways, where a short walk leads to views of the river’s 90-foot plunge over a basalt shelf.
The small, vibrant town of Maupin, located on the banks of the Deschutes River, serves as the Bikeway’s start and finish. Maupin offers all the ideal pre- and post-ride amenities: a walkable downtown, friendly locals, restaurants, lodging and camping.
This ride is best enjoyed in spring and fall, and even on some winter days. In springtime, wildflowers dot the hillsides, including lupine’s purple sprays and arrowleaf balsamroot’s pops of yellow. Come winter, central Oregon can be a dry, temperate reprieve while the rest of the state shelters from rain and snow. Tucked in the protective rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the region boasts 300 days of sunshine and less than six inches of rain per year.
The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program is a superb collection of cycling routes designed to inspire people to experience Oregon’s natural beauty and cultural heritage by bicycle, bringing economic and social benefits to the communities and residents along the routes.
Local bicyclists propose new bikeways and the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission designates routes based on scenic quality, road conditions and general riding enjoyment. Only the best routes meet the selective criteria developed by the State Scenic Bikeway Committee.
Once designated, OPRD pays to install directional signs along the route. OPRD and Travel Oregon post information online at RideOregonRide.com/SherarsFalls for riders to plan their trip, including printable ride maps, elevation profiles, gps data, services and points of interest including, Travel Oregon’s Bike Friendly Businesses recognition program.
The Oregon Scenic Bikeways program is the first and only of its kind in the United States. Launched in 2005, the program is a partnership between Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation and OPRD.