Bikeway detour: The swinging bridge on Madison Ave. in downtown Cottage Grove is closed till June. When you reach the swinging bridge just turn around and return on the Bikeway route.
Ride Description: The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway features a fun cycling experience of bridges, lake views, foliage, flowers and an historic downtown.
The start of the bikeway is along the Row River Trail, an off-street, paved path which crosses roads at several points. The return route is on a low traffic scenic road with one very short, yet very steep hill with grades of more than 8%. Those wishing to avoid riding with traffic or over such a steep hill can ride the trail as an out and back.
The name of the trail has a bit of a story behind it: the correct pronunciation rhymes with “cow”. It was named "Row" after a dispute between two men battling over cattle and sheep grazing rights during settlement of the valley in the early 1850's.
photo credit: EugeneCascades&Coast
The Row River Trail runs along the Lake’s north side, passing three of the six covered bridges on the route. All three of these bridges are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Four bathroom stops, seven parking areas, and three picnic areas along this part of the route provide many rest opportunities and a chance to get off the bike and enjoy the scenery. A store in the modest community of Dorena provides snacks.
The in-town part of the bikeway includes a ride through The Chambers Bridge, the only covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi that also listed in the National Register, and a ride over a swinging footbridge.
Cottage Grove is a National Register-listed Downtown Historic District. There are number of coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, and a bike shop on Main Street.
Photo Credit: Karen Johnson