Beginning in Oregon’s world-renowned Crater Lake National Park, the Crater to Coast Route traverses the Umpqua Basin, four million lush and picturesque acres within which only 110,000 people live. Although a rider might be tempted to ride the entire 201-mile route in one day…some of the best cycling in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest…riders will more likely want to segment the trip into two or three days. With many opportunities for lodging and refreshment along the way, the choice is yours!
Leaving Crater Lake, the cyclist travels first north then west, passing Diamond Lake and Mt. Thielson, experiencing the great beauty, natural sounds, and fresh air of the Umpqua National Forest. You may be tempted to slow the fast pace of descent along the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway and marvel at deep green conifer forests sprouting from 9,000-years-old ash-fall cliffs or breathe deeply while watching and listening to the wild, tumbling North Umpqua River as it finds its way west to the sea. Waterfalls, campgrounds, and the world-renowned Steamboat Inn create natural stopping points, inviting the rider to take a break for a bite on the banks of the North Umpqua or to revel in the riverine beauty of this world-class fly-fishing destination.
Continuing west, the rider leaves the Umpqua National Forest and enters the lush forested acres of the Roseburg District of the Bureau of Land Management, and then beyond passes through wide vistas of down-river farms and ranches. The cyclist arrives at the small community of Glide, which marks the unique white-water collision of two rivers, the North Umpqua and Little. Near the Colliding Rivers Wayside, the rider departs the Byway by turning south onto Little River Road and then eventually west onto Buckhorn Road, noticing more farms, ranches, and stands of trees populating a grand sweep of pastureland.
Next comes Roseburg, the mid-point of the route, which offers the rider excellent restaurants, breweries, lodging, and other attractions. The rider can linger here or start the second leg of the route, winding along the Umpqua River’s main stem. Roseburg hosts two bike shops offering repairs and accessories: Canyon Creek Cycles and Waldon’s Outdoor Sports.
Interested in some of the best wines in North America? Overnight in Roseburg and take Cycle Umpqua’s Umpqua Valley Fine Wines Bicycle Tour, a 27-mile loop that visits 11 wineries and a meadery. Then continue on your trek to the Coast.
Riding through the Umpqua Valley, the cyclist passes more award-winning wineries and small historic communities like Elkton and Scottsburg with their own offerings of refreshment and hospitality.
Entering the Coastal Range on the Umpqua River Scenic Byway, the rider experiences broad river views, probably seeing large numbers of waterfowl, and, closer to Reedsport, may stop to view massive-antlered Roosevelt Elk at the Dean Creek elk refuge. At Reedsport, the rider turns south along Route 101 and pedals a few miles along windy seashore and dunes to end the ride at the Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park, an historic site with great rocky views of the Pacific.
Now, your Crater to Coast Epic ride is complete. Start bragging!
Crater Lake is accessible from many directions and roads. For example, if travelling along I-5, drivers can take Exit 30 at Medford and follow signs to Crater Lake, or take Exit 124 in Roseburg and follow Route 138 east, or take Route 97 from Bend to Route 138. Of all the routes, the scenery and riverscape along Route 138 from Roseburg to Crater Lake is the most dramatic and beautiful.