Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Biking Oregon's Row River Trail

The paved Row (as in cow) River Trail runs for 16 miles.  It follows the right-of-way of the Oregon, Pacific, and Eastern Railway which started in 1902 and carried ore and logs and later passengers, and was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management in 1994 and developed into recreational use.

It runs along and gives outstanding views of the scenic shoreline of Dorena Reservoir and dam as well as the Row River.  Legend has it that two ranchers fought (had a "row") over grazing rights back in the 1850s, giving the river its name.

The paved trail in good condition. You can start in the town of Cottage Grove, but the trail basically follows Mosby Creek Road, so starting at the Mosby Creek Road lot gets you right into the good scenery. (Click to enlarge map.)

The trail runs gradually uphill from each end, with the highest point being just higher than the Dorena Dam.  When you reach the dam, look for a gravel path that heads uphill a bit more to get you over a rise, and then takes you to an overlook above the dam and lake, providing this view...

The section along Lake Dorena and leading to it is glorious, putting this trail in my top 10 for scenic beauty of the 140+ trails I’ve biked across the country.

Two lovely covered bridges add to your enjoyment, one spanning Crosby Creek and other the Row River (built in 1920 and 1925.) Both are near the trail and easily accessible.  


From I-5 in Cottage Grove take Exit 174 toward Dorena Lake. At the end of the offramp, turn east on Row River Road. Drive one mile east on Row River Road and then turn right on Currin Conn Road. Immediately after this turn take a quick left on Mosby Creek Road. Go two miles southeast on Mosby Creek Road and then turn left on Layng Road. Just after this turn take a quick left into the Mosby Creek Trailhead parking lot.

Parking is also provided at several lots along the lake, accessed via Row River Road.


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