A Fun, Basic Mountain Bike Trail Near Historic Sutherlin. Oregon
The Cooper Creek Trail offers a nice, easy Oregon ride for the novice or intermediate mountain bike riders. The trail has some nice short climbs and some twisting turns. It has a level dirt surface mostly wide enough to accommodate two riders passing as long as both take care. The area next to the trail is heavily forested and brushy, offering something of a hazard to riders leaving the trail but also serving a barrier to riders tumbling into the reservoir.
Currently, this out-and-back trail begins and ends at the Cooper Creek Reservoir West Parking Lot. In the future, it might extend all the way past the east end of the reservoir as shown on the map. At the West Parking Lot, look for a chain link fence defining the trail next to the caretaker’s home. Ride across the top of the dam and start the trail, provided to you by the Sutherlin, Oregon Rotary Club. Riders should watch for other cyclists and hikers because this is a popular place for many local folks to get some exercise, mainly on weekends.
To get to Cooper Creek Trail, take Oregon I-5 Exit 136 and travel east on Central Avenue through the busy mill town of Sutherlin, Oregon. You pass a large building on the south side of Central Avenue, Murphy Lumber’s plywood plant, a major Sutherlin employer. After about two miles, you reach the central business district with small shops and restaurants. Note some interesting 19th Century buildings in the downtown area. A little further ahead on your right you will see City Hall followed by the community park with its wonderful steam locomotive from early logging days. Go a few blocks more and you turn right on Waite Street (at the First Community Credit Union building at that corner). Follow Waite Street until it comes to a “T” intersection with Southside Road. Turn left on Southside Road and travel about a mile before turning right onto Cooper Creek Road, which is marked with a directional sign. The entrance to Cooper Creek Reservoir West Parking lot is less than a quarter mile on your right. Note that there is a daily parking fee at the Reservoir and you need to pay it even if you are not using the boat-launch ramp or fishing/picnicking area. The parking area also has toilets available near the caretaker’s home.
Our local mountain bike club, the Land of Umpqua Mountain Bike Riders or LUMBR, has adopted this trail and is working with the Sutherlin, Oregon Rotary Club to eventually extend it all the way around the reservoir. If you would like to know more or contribute, look for LUMBR on Facebook.