Reedsport to Coos Bay / North Bend
The First Part of the Cycling Trip
Reedsport is the beginning of the bicycling trip through the southern Oregon coast. Bicyclists entering this area have either been bicycling along route 101, or, less commonly, come down through Route 38.
Cycling from Reedsport to Coos Bay / North Bend is about 25 miles (40 km) and is relatively flat. This section includes the lower half of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which is the major attraction along this route. Prior to starting this portion of your trip, be certain to stop at the Dunes Information Center, located in the middle of Reedsport at the traffic light of Routes 101 and 38. The fishing village of Winchester is immediately along Route 101 and is worth a stop for a bite to eat and a view of the quaint harbor.
At the southern end of this section, the bicyclist will have to transverse the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge. This bridge is a very pretty, offers a nice view of Coos Bay, and is just under a mile bridge in length. Unfortunately, the historic bridge is narrow and does not offer a bike path. Cyclists are required to walk across the bridge. North Bend and Coos Bay are located immediately south of the bridge and they are the largest cities along the coast. This area offers the typical challenge of city traffic to bicyclists.
Cycling from Coos Bay to Bandon, the next part of the trip.
When selecting a campground along this route, be forewarned that many of the campgrounds are oriented towards ATV’s. Many of the ATV campgrounds are essentially parking lots which is fine for an RV, but less than ideal for a tent. ATV campgrounds can be noisy because of the engines.
Suggested campgrounds include: Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park, Bluebill Campground, Eel Creek Campground, and William M. Tugman State Park. Spinreel Campground has tent campsites but is oriented towards ATV’s.
Hotels are located in Reedsport, Winchester, and just before the Coos Bay Bridge. Coos Bay / North Bend has perhaps the largest selection of hotels along the coast.
The Umpqua Discovery Center is located less than a mile (1.5 km) from the Dunes Information Center and is an easy short cycle trip through town.
A bit further, is the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area. Located about 3 miles (5 km) east on Route 38, the site offers a great chance to see a herd of Elk. Usually, the best time to see them is when it is a bit cooler and they are sometimes nowhere to be seen during the middle of the day. If you have not seen elk, this is a must.
The Umpqua River Lighthouse and Umpqua River State Park are located less than a mile off of Route 101 and are highly recommended. The best way to get to the lighthouse and park is to cycle the 4 miles south of Reedsport, then make a loop from Winchester Bay (see Winchester Bay while you are there where there are several nice seafood restaurants), by turning on Salmon Harbor Drive (located between 8th and 10th streets). Follow Salmon Harbor Drive to the Lighthouse and park. Then cycle Lighthouse Road back out to Route 101. Total distance for this loop is about 2.5 miles (4 km). Note that the Salmon Harbor Drive continues into the Oregon Dunes National Park and dead ends. The Umpqua River Lighthouse is also a prime area for whale watching.
If you are serious about seeing the Oregon Dunes, the best way is to rent an ATV. While it is possible to hike portions of the dunes, they are so massive and difficult to walk in, that it is better not to hike. If not willing to rent an ATV (a mistake) there are several overlooks along the way.