Route: 414 miles with plenty of options to tour off further down the dirt roads.
Time: Pack a tent or book a room at one of the places we’ve listed and make a weekend out of it.
Roads: You’ll encounter a lot of gravel on this route. It’s best to leave the shiney, garage-princess bikes at home.
Google Maps Full Route Guide Map Link
Time to get your tires dirty and add “clean air filter” to your list of things to do. On this route, we are going to take you through some of Oregon’s best natural scenery and ride through the states national forests. Starting just outside of Portland, then winding our way south through Eugene. This road isn’t for your shiny cruiser with highway treads, you’re going to be eating a bit of gravel, and if so desired you can take some rutted roads with potholes aplenty. That said, you aren’t likely to find a few of the stops overly crowded, and it might make for a nice weekend to unplug from the digital world.
See See Motorcycle Cafe – Bob’s Red Mill Tour – 8.5miles
Coffee, beer, hot dogs, helmets, riding gloves, and a solid biker atmosphere. Before you get out of Portland, you’ll want to stop by for any meal of the day at See See Motorcycles café and apparel. It’s a collective mix of friendly biker atmosphere and beverage, just the kind of thing you’d expect out of Portland. See See can get you a caffeine fix before you hit the road, or if you show up between 4-6pm any day of the week you can get a hot dog, chips and a beer for $6! It’s all it bit bizarre, but so are a lot of bikers, so you’re likely to fit in nicely ☺
After the refueling of your choice at See See, you can take and stop by the most contrasting of food-orientated places along the drive. You know the face of Bob’s Red Mill grain products, well unlike the tire ambassador Michelin Man, or diabetes inducing face for Count Chocula cereal, Bob’s a real guy. If you’ve always wanted to meet the man behind wholesome whole grains, well that’s probably not all that likely. But, you can take a tour of the wonderful world of milling and learn Bob’s story. Just outside of Portland, in Milwaukie is the Bob’s Red Mill factory. Here you can take a free tour to learn all about stone-grinding and see the process from start to finish. It’s about 90-minutes so you might find yourself getting a bit distracted with your phone for a large part of it. However, everyone does leave with a free sample, and the price is right.
A Yurt At The Olallie Lake Resort. Imag Source.
Bob’s Red Mill Tour – Bagby Hot Springs – Olallie Lake Resort – 103miles
After maxing out your coffee consumption and then trying to hold your attention span together for the stone-ground-grains tour, you can get your rubber back on the road and head off into the hills. From Bob’s in Milwaukie, follow the 224 out towards Three Lynx and Ripplebrook. Then, just after Ripplebrook, turn onto the Collawash River Road and out to the Bagby Hot Springs Trailhead. Roughly 58-miles. The Bagby Hot Springs is a, modified for comfort hot springs. They are fully natural, but some nice folks took the time to built wooden tubs so you can soak away those saddle sores you’ve been dealing with since riding season started. From the trailhead to the actual hot springs location is about a 1.5-mile hike. It’s $5 cash to get in, or you can pick up a wristband with your credit card at the Ripplebrook store before you get here. This adventure will probably be more enjoyed during the week and outside of holidays, as it’s a popular stop in this neck of the woods.
Depending on your definition of fun, you can either camp at one of the many campsites along this road. Or, if you are up for a little bit of washboard and some backcountry dust, you can make your way to some of the lesser traveled overnight spots. The Olallie Lake Resort is one of these lesser traveled to spots with rustic beauty and is completely cut off from the technological world. Roughly 43-miles from the Bagby trailhead, on suspension testing roads, you’ll find the resort. The resort has 10-cabins on offer, all with lake views and 2-yurts available. All accommodation is wood-fire heated and comes with zero plumbing. That said, they do have clean outhouses and outside each shelter is a spigot with drinking water. An exciting way to enjoy the backcountry at its basic level. You can also rent rowboats here and fish. Being as it is the drinking water of the area you are not allowed to swim or use motors on the water.
If you’re more into spas and saunas then backcountry cabins you can skip the turn to Olallie and check into the Breitenbush Hot Springs and Retreat Center. Onsite they have relaxing activities like the natural hot springs, sauna, and options like yoga. Just be sure to read over their website and reviews to confirm it’s up your alley. If vegetarian food, clothing optional soaking, and meditation are your things, spend a night or two. If backcountry beers and outhouses are more to your liking, well, you might want to take the rough road out to Olallie.
Kanes Marina At Night. Image Source
Olallie Lake Resort – Detroit Lake – Marion Forks Fish Hatchery – 45miles
After the overnight options or once you’re done with the forest for a while, you’ll pop out at Detroit. Nothing like the industrial city of Detroit worlds away from here, but a little lake-side town with great summer activities. If you are looking to trade your bike motor for a boat motor for the day, Detroit has you covered. The good people at Kane’s Marina know what it’s like to enjoy the summer season in Oregon and they ‘ll do their best to make sure you enjoy it too. At Kane’s, you can rent Pontoon boats for the day to take you and your riding buddies out for a day of fishing on Detroit Lake, or just cruise around taking in the scenery. Onsite they also sell fishing licenses, have a store, and if you’re just looking to relax lake-side for an hour or two, check out their tavern.
As a fun roadside attraction and a great place to stop and stretch your legs, just 17-miles from Kane’s is the Marion Forks Fish Hatchery. As the name would suggest, this is where they breed and grow fish. You can stop in and walk around the area to see trout in there various stages of growth. Onsite there is also a picnic area, and place to camp if you are looking to spend the night. Overall a sweet little spot to look around and enjoy a bit of the day.
Marion Lakes Fish Hatchery – Black Butte Ranch – Mt Bachelor 86 miles
Back on the road, if you are looking to fill a day or two with activities and you’re more into room service than tent service, you may want to check into the Black Butte Ranch and check out its surrounding amenities. You can stay in the upscale hotel, enjoy upmarket dining, take in a round of golf, go swimming, play tennis, rent bikes and on and on. A stop here will genuinely keep you entertained for a day or two. Remember to pack your credit card, as the bill at this three-star hotel is likely going to be a bit higher than the campground behind the fish hatchery ☺
You have a couple of options as you leave from the Black Butte Ranch with Mount Washington peering down at you. Either follow the road down to Sisters, then take a right on the 242 road out of Sisters and follow that to the Dee Wright Observatory. The observatory is built out of lava stone, right in the middle of what was a lava flow. The stone walls of the observatory are cut to allow for easy peak spotting and identification of the surrounding mountains. The observatories location at the peak of the McKenzie pass gives impressive unobstructed views of many peaks in the area. Between the harrowing ride up and the views from the top, the observatory stop will make for well-photographed memories to take home with you. The road in and out of here has more curves than a gentlemen’s club. If that kind of riding is your thing, take it, and you’ll eventually pop out on the McKenzie highway, and you can follow that out to the city of Eugene.
The other option is to follow the 20 down to Bend, then exit out towards the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. As the road loops around Mount Bachelor, you’ll have the option to do all kinds of hikes, spend the night camping or try your luck at fishing in one of the lakes along the way. From here you can follow the scenic Cascade Byway out until it meets back up with the 58, then follow that up towards Eugene. There is really no wrong choice here, curvy roads and beautiful scenery await!
The whole national forest region around Oregon is a fantastic place to discover. As you can see, in just this one route guide you could spend days getting to know the ins and outs of this one road. If you have the time venture off to more of the area, there is so much to explore. If you don’t have the time, we hope you’ll enjoy this exciting ride through some of Oregon’s gems.
*Note: In the map, Google forces a different route back to Eugene via a more popular route rather than taking the Cascade Lake National Scenic Byway. It’s a seasonal road, but motorcycling is a season pastime, so we’d recommend the Scenic Byway over Google’s choice.