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Oregon Motorcyclist - Motorcycle Roads in Oregon

"You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world." - William Hazlitt






Rd 27 - Cow Creek Loop


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Ride Report

Date Reviewed: 06/06

Length: 45 miles

Technical Difficulty: Medium - due to some unmarked decreasing radius corners.

Location: The route's southern end begins at Exit 80 on I-5 (N42 44.790 W123 22.343). At this exit, head west on Glendale Valley Rd. The road splits in Glendale. Stay right and follow the truck route. Cow Creek Rd exits Glendale with the name Reuben Rd.

The route's northern end begins at Exit 103 on I-5 (N42 58.391 W123 20.312). Head west and follow Cow Creek Rd out of Riddle.

Click for Garmin Track of this route.

Connects with: I-5, Canyonville-Riddle Rd, and Union Creek Rd.

Amenities: Gas may be found at both ends of this route. However, the Glendale station appears to get much less use. Odds are that the Chevron Station at I-5's Exit 103 has the best quality gas.

Places of Interest: A gold panning area, scenic canyon country, and an amazing road.

Review: Cow Creek Loop, called Rd 27 on some maps, was recommended by Tekkamaki from Myrtle Creek Oregon. Thanks for clueing us into an awesome road!

For pure fun, this two lane road is second to none. The pavement is near perfect. The corners are amazing. Traffic is virtually nonexistent. As if this weren't enough, consider the scenery. While the beauty is somewhat diminished by aggressive clear cut logging, one rides through canyons and along the prettiest little river. The scenery is quite similar to what backpackers find along the Rogue River.

The preferred direction for this ride is from Glendale in the south to Riddle in the north. This recommendation comes partly because the southern section holds the tightest corners. The extremely curvy southern section is best attacked while fresh. Additionally, riding from the south places the sun at your back.

As if to belie the true nature of this loop, the initial miles between I-5 and Glendale are rather boring. Glendale Valley Rd cuts a straight swath through small fields and old houses. Observant riders will note that at Glendale, the valley appears to close. The road does not remain straight for long.

The fun really begins while heading out of Glendale on Reuben Rd. The road manages to feel over built and under built at the same time. With perfectly banked corners and very smooth pavement, the road feels over built. Whatever rock was used for this pavement should be exported throughout Oregon. The bike stuck like glue. However, this narrow road has minimal shoulder, no run-off, and manages to feel under built. Watch out for some decreasing radius corners. Since no corners on this road are marked, plan on mid turn braking.

As stated previously, the road has almost no traffic. In twenty miles, not a car was seen. It felt so remote that for one group of pictures, I parked the bike halfway in the road and climbed a small hill. On this southern section, Cow Creek Rd feels like a private race track. Keeping my speed sane was the ever present thought that I could lay alongside the road for hours before help arrived.

At some point, the road joins Cow Creek. It seems odd, but the road actually straightens after becoming a river run. Of course, straightening is a relative term. In this case, it means that second gear corners become third gear corners. Cow Creek itself is a thing of beauty and several potentially good swimming holes were spotted.

I'm a personal fan of Benchmark Maps. For Oregon, nothing else comes close. However, even the best cannot be perfect. While Union Creek Rd appears to be entirely paved on their atlas, it has a lengthy section of dirt. Two pictures of Union Creek Rd are shown below.. If you own a GS, V-Strom, or similar bike, Union Creek makes a great connecting road.

Just over 20 miles into the ride is a recreational gold panning sign. This 1300 foot segment of the river has been withdrawn from commercial permits so that amateurs can try their hand. My next visit to this road will include a gold pan. Not surprisingly, it was in this area that car traffic increased. About two cars were encountered in the remaining 21 miles of the ride.

The route ends in Riddle's beautiful valley country. It was here that I wanted to turn around and try the road a few more times. Cow Creek Loop is that good.

Rider Comments

"Persevere up Union Creek Rd., past Dutchman's Rte and the road more traveled becomes Buck Springs Rd, a paved one-lane crest road with great views of the clearcuts, which in the fullness of time delivers you down into Camas Valley, the Casablanca of eastern Coos County. Gravel doesn't eat tires up; running against the wind on the Interstate eats tires up." - Mark Tierney, Bandon, Oregon

"This route is one of many gems in the Umpqua Valley. The views and the road are both spectacular. One of my favorite afternoon jaunts." - Brian H., Roseburg, Oregon

Oregon Motorcyclist - Motorcycle Roads in Oregon

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