Oregon’s newest Scenic Bikeway showcases the vivid color palette of the Painted Hills. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved designation of the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway in its Feb. 24 meeting in Portland, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and Travel Oregon announced.
The Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway loops through the multi-colored John Day Fossil Beds for 130 miles, connecting the communities of Fossil, Service Creek, Spray, Kimberly and Mitchell. Viewed from a bicycle seat, riders can see millions of years of history revealed in the layers of earth, one color at a time.
The hills get their name from the delicately colored stratifications in the soil—layers of yellows, golds, blacks and reds formed millions of years ago by shifting volcanic islands. A closer look reveals ancient plant and wood fossils.
The Scenic Bikeway program is a superb collection of cycling routes that inspires people to experience Oregon’s natural beauty and cultural heritage by bicycle, and that offers economic and social benefits to the state’s communities and residents.
Scenic Bikeways represent the best of the best road bicycle riding in all of Oregon. The Painted Hills route is no exception. Most of the designated Bikeways, including the Painted Hills, use existing, paved roads. As the 15th designated bikeway in the Oregon Scenic Bikeway program, the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway brings the total mileage of bikeways to more than 1,000 miles.
The Oregon Scenic Bikeways program is the first and only of its kind in the country. Launched in 2005, the program is a partnership between Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
“An independent report from Dean Runyan, showed that bicycle travelers in Oregon stay longer and spend more money. In 2012, they contributed $400 million to the Oregon economy,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “More than $12 million of that impact comes directly from cyclists riding Oregon Scenic Bikeways. These bikeways are helping to support communities throughout the state, particularly boosting rural economies.”
All the information bicyclists needs to plan their ride can be found on RideOregonRide.com, including a printable map, GPS data, camping and other accommodations and amenities along the route.