The Oregon Coast on Two Wheels

Great road trips don’t always involve four-wheeled vehicles—sometimes two wheels are all you need. Traveling by bike has its own set of challenges: more planning is required, shorter distances are covered each day, and a strong headwind can really influence your plans. But in return, road bike travelers get a unique view of the countryside, the satisfaction of miles well-earned, and a great set of strong, defined legs!

The Oregon Coast offers everything needed to create a doable and memorable road biking excursion. The first essential ingredient? Good roads with a defined route. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has developed a coastal road biking map, laying out all bikers need to know for a safe, successful ride. Road descriptions, including shoulder width, alternate routes, and the locations of parks for rest breaks are all included.

Some bikers ride self-supported, meaning they pack all their gear and clothing in panniers, and haul it with them on their bikes. Other biking groups use a support vehicle, meaning that one rider drives ahead to a designated spot, while the bikers hit the road on two wheels. Either way, plenty of vacation rentals along the coast make planning the trip convenient. In September and October, temperatures usually stay in the sixties or down into the fifties, and smart packers will be ready for drizzly days.

The Oregon Coast has no shortage of the second essential ingredient for an excellent biking road trip—gorgeous scenery! After all, bikers spend hours at a time taking it in, and the Oregon Coast has much to offer, from the seals playing in the surf to the craggy, rugged shoreline. If you ride the coast from north to south (which ODOT recommends, to avoid riding into the wind) here are some must-see spots along the way:

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Walk the hardpack sand beach for miles, under the watchful eyes of the seals drifting along in the surf. Haystack Rock is one of many geologic anomalies along the coast, and at sunset, you won’t find a more picturesque backdrop for photos.

Tidepools at Yaquina Head
The coast grows wild and rugged as you follow the route south, with flat sandy beaches giving way to rocky inlets shrouded in mist. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is worth a visit, just to check out the enormous prism and candlepower. The real treat is at low tide, when the tidepools reveal the community of sea creatures within. Sea stars, urchins, anemonies, and sea grass are just a few of the species that make up this alien-like world. Tidepools are fragile, so take care to do no damage, and take nothing except photos.

Devil’s Churn at Cape Perpetua
The most impressive spot to witness the power of the Pacific. Cape Perpetua is the highest point on the coast, and offers a spectacular view, but the real drama takes place along a fissure in the rock along the Trail of Restless Water, where crash waves explode up through the rock, leaving visitors with a whole new respect for what tidal forces can do.

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