The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (ORPD) and Travel Oregon announced today that the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission approved the designation of the Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway. The bikeway is rated at moderate difficulty and stretches 18 scenic miles between Prineville and Big Bend Campground.
Riders begin the 37 mile out-and-back journey in the historic community of Prineville. The bikeway follows the Crooked River south out of town, giving riders picturesque views of the surrounding llama farms and cattle ranches.
The route leaves the pastures behind as it enters the Crooked River Canyon. The road slips through the canyon’s towering basalt cliffs, gently curving and climbing to a scenic view near Palisades Campground before descending back toward the river. Riders will pedal by Chimney Rock Recreation Site, a popular picnicking spot and fun place to watch local anglers fly fish in the Crooked River.
The final stretch of the Crooked River Scenic Bikeway continues through the canyon and passes by several other day-use sites and campgrounds. Observant riders might spot resident wildlife like deer, great blue herons and golden eagles. The bikeway ends at Big Bend Campground, which has parking, restrooms, water and power.
The ride is best enjoyed during the spring and fall when seasonal colors are vibrant. Most of the day-use sites along the route have restrooms; two have water to refill any empty bottles. The bikeway can also be ridden on clear winter days, rewarding intrepid cyclists with brisk blue-sky rides through the quiet landscape.
The Oregon Scenic Bikeways program features a curated collection of cycling routes that inspire people to experience Oregon’s natural beauty and cultural heritage by bicycle. Launched in 2009, the program is a partnership between Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation and OPRD. It is the first and only program of its kind in the United States.
Scenic Bikeway routes are nominated by local community groups and are designated by ORPD based on scenic quality, road conditions and general riding enjoyment. Newly designated routes are developed by a partnership between OPRD, community groups and local government.
OPRD and Travel Oregon host information online for riders to plan their trip at RideOregonRide.com/CrookedRiver. Resources include printable ride maps, elevation profiles, GPS data, services and points of interest.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department provides and protects outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for enjoyment and education. It served more than 40 million people last year in a system of state parks, historic and natural areas, trails, and other special programs.