The 216-kilometer Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway has the distinction of being the first designated scenic bikeway in the USA.
For wine lovers, though, it’s more than just a pretty path. The bikeway passes through Oregon Wine Country, which was named the 2016 Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. Start your itinerary in Eugene, and prepare for three days filled with charming towns, picturesque countryside and mouth-watering cuisine.
Day 1: Eclectic Eugene to Quaint Albany
Eugene has the perfect Willamette Valley vibe: eclectic, down to earth and outdoorsy. In downtown Eugene, grab a seat on the outdoor patio for breakfast at Studio One Café. The French toast and eggs Benedict are to-die-for delicious. With your energy stores up, you’ll pedal an hour to Agrarian Ales, a farm-to-table brewery that grows all of its own hops and many of its menu ingredients. The 85-kilometer ride to historic Albany will revive your appetite, just in time to stop for lunch at Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant, known for traditional Hungarian fare and a hearty buffet. Affordable accommodations are available for an overnight rest.
Hop harvesting at Agrarian Ales, a brewery in Eugene
Day 2: Onward to Salem
The ride to Salem is marked by quiet, rolling terrain surrounded by dreamy pastures and vineyards. You’ll pass through a section of Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migrating Canadian geese, with a stop at Ankeny Vineyard just outside the refuge. Try their Pinot Noir or Maréchal Fochs, order a pizza and explore the grounds. Look for the old pioneer cemetery, where Salem’s first shopkeeper is buried. As you enter Salem, stop for a photo of the Art Deco state capitol building. Save room for dessert, because the berry shortcakes at E.Z. Orchards Farm Market are practically required eating – they’re that good. It’s the perfect dessert and end to a fun-filled day.
Grapevines lining the road at Ankeny Vineyard in Salem
Day 3: Gourmet Food and Wine in Dayton
Ride past Willamette Mission State Park, site of the West’s first mission for Native Americans, and cross over the river into Dayton, where the Joel Palmer House Restaurant is a must-try. Nearly every dish incorporates local wild mushrooms and truffles, and the ever-changing wine list features selections exclusively from Oregon. Visit the award-winning, environmentally conscious Stoller Family Estate, whose gravity-flow wine production carefully preserves the flavor of their sustainably grown grapes. Cap off your trip with an overnight stay at the Vintages Trailer Resort, where vintage camping trailers and RVs have been updated with hip, retro décor and luxury amenities. You’re just 60 kilometers from Portland International Airport for your return flight home.
Portland International Airport (PDX) serves as the ideal gateway to the Willamette Valley. From the airport, head south to Eugene via rental car or mass transit to begin your Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway tour. Once in Eugene, bike rental shops are readily available.
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