One of the nicest non-motorized trails in the Willamette Valley is located right here in Cottage Grove.
Row River Trail, a National Recreation Trail and home of the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway, is a 16-mile paved and graveled path from downtown Cottage Grove heading southeast past Dorena Lake along Row River to Culp Creek. Beyond the Culp Creek Trailhead is a graveled surface path that extends to the old railroad turnaround.
In 1994 the Bureau of Land Management acquired the abandoned railway to develop a trail for public recreation as part of the Rails-to-Trails program that exists across the country.
Starting in 1902, the original line of the “Old Slow and Easy” steam engines hauled ore, logs and supplies along the Oregon and Southern Eastern line. Later in 1971, an excursion train called The Blue Goose carried passengers between Cottage Grove and Disston, just past the trail’s end, until railway activity became
Today a well maintained, multi-purpose trail exists for multiple types of non-motorized trail enthusiasts (e.g., walkers, hikers, bicyclists, runners, horseback riders, in-line skaters, etc.)
On a sunny day with a few rest stops and some wildlife watching, the approximately 34-mile, round-trip bicycle ride takes between four to five hours.
The trail provides the best of what the area has to see. You can start from downtown at the Row River trailhead or along any part of the trail. One of the best spots is at Mosby Creek trailhead, where you can view Row River off Mosby Creek Bridge, the oldest covered bridge in Lane County. The Mosby Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1920.
Several points of interest can be found along the trail and intermittent signs provide mileage and facility access for parking, toilets and drinking water.
Trail use is free and it’s open for public enjoyment a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour past sunset.
Rising temperatures in the springtime bring Oregon’s fishing enthusiasts out to try their luck on area waterways, and the promise of stunning scenery and plenty of action makes this part of the world a fisherman’s paradise!