The best paved bike trails around Oregon offer car-free relaxation

Compared with other states, Oregon kills it when it comes to top-notch cycling infrastructure, from scenic bikeways to bike boulevards. However, there is one aspect of our cyclescape that is sadly lacking: extensive multiuse path systems for cyclists and pedestrians, separate from rushing vehicles.

Oregon does have shorter versions of these types of paths, ranging from 15 to 30 miles long, tucked away in different parts of the state. Some aren’t widely known, but all are perfect for a family adventure or a ride with friends who are nervous about riding in car traffic.

Banks Vernonia Trail

If bicycle companies ran TV commercials like car companies do, the Banks to Vernonia Trail would be emblazoned on your brain. This new 21-mile rails-to-trails path west of Portland has smooth pavement, manicured mulch, picnic nooks and beautifully built bridges. Bring a new rider on that trail, and another cyclist will be made that day. The sun-dappled path surrounded by fragrant forest and occasional peeks of Coastal Range foothills is better than any amusement park ride.

Sun river Resort

Folks tend to equate Sunriver with golf. But the resort also has 35 miles of well-made multiuse bike paths. With riverside forests, views of Cascadian volcanoes and a flat, sun-blessed landscape, the property’s smooth trails are ideal for a casual bike ride.

To make it even easier, Sunriver Resort has the┬áBike Barn, where people can rent a variety of bicycles and trailers for the whole family. Plus, Sunriver has restaurants to combat “hanger” — hunger causing anger — and pools, hot tubs and lodging are all in the same vicinity.

One of the trails loops west of the lodge by the marina, where you can grab a bite to eat. Then the path meanders by the Deschutes River. The riverside benches make idyllic water stops or picnic locales.

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