City Escape: Salem, Oregon

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This loop northwest of Oregon’s state capital is a nice mix of curvy roads and great scenery. It features the conifer-rich forests that the Beaver State is known for, but also adds a coastline stretch and several interesting natural and man-made attractions along the way. The weather on much of this route is moderated by the ocean, but the Tillamook State Forest gets its share of snow in the winter, making this a three-season ride.

Length

Approximately 191 miles

Meet-up Spot

Annette’s Westgate Cafe serves generous portions and makes for easy access to the beginning of the route. Find it at 1311 Edgewater St NW, Salem, OR.

Lunch Stop

Roseanna’s Cafe, 1490 Pacific Ave, Oceanside, OR, is a nice, rustic restaurant on the waterfront. Prices are reasonable for the area and parking is relatively easy to find.

Scenery (4 out of 5)

If green is your thing, then the scenery on this route is for you. Dense forests give way to scenic fields with a generous sampling of rivers mixed in. On the western leg, there are nice glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. The Tillamook State Forest is intensely beautiful.

Difficulty (4 out of 5)

Nice tight curves can be tricky on the coast and in the Tillamook Forest. Because of the density of the roadside growth, there is an extremely limited sight distance in the forested sections, so it is important to anticipate slow traffic and wildlife around each corner. 

Road Conditions (4 out of 5)

For most of this route, the roadway is well-surfaced and carefully maintained. There can be water and runoff debris in the low spots.