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Rogue River area route offers leisurely cycling

The roads that meander throughout the Rogue Valley offer many opportunities to extend your bicycling adventures if you are willing to load the bike in a vehicle and drive a short distance.

The Gold Hill/Rogue River area offers several routes with moderate traffic and picturesque scenery.

One very pleasant ride, with fairly flat terrain, starts at Gold Hill Regional Park, which is about a half-mile northeast of Gold Hill on Highway 234. The route follows the south and then the north banks of the Rogue River for 19 miles, starting at approximately 1,100 feet in elevation. The first nine miles proceed downhill to about 990 feet elevation; the return trip climbs back to 1,100 feet elevation, for a total elevation change of -3 feet.

Start this ride by cycling from the park back to Gold Hill on Highway 234. If you don't want to ride on the highway, there is a bike path from the park back into Gold Hill.

Turn left on Fourth Street, and then left on Highway 99. Head east, crossing the Rogue River on the narrow bridge.

Shortly after crossing the bridge (mile 1), turn right at the intersection of Upper River Road, Blackwell Road and the access road to the freeway. Cross over the freeway. Take a right turn on Highway 99, heading west.

At mile 4, follow the highway as it goes under the freeway and then along the Rogue River. At mile 6.2, the road ducks under the freeway again.

At mile 8, the Valley of the Rogue State Park will be across the river on your right.

When you reach mile 10, turn right and cross the Rogue River on the new bridge, which takes you into the town of Rogue River on Depot Street.

Turn right on East Main Street, then right on North River Road. You'll soon pass the sawmill and the Russian Orthodox Church, both on the right hand side of the road.

At about two-thirds of your way back to Gold Hill you'll pass the Del Rio Vineyards at about mile 16.4. At mile 18.5 you will be back in Gold Hill and ready to make a left turn onto Fourth Street and then return to the Gold Hill Park.

Cycling this route offers numerous places to stop, rest and grab a bite to eat. If you are not in a hurry, spend some time cycling around the towns of Rogue River and Gold Hill. Both are quaint little towns with interesting sights and are fun to tour at the slower pace of a bicycle.

This route is ideal for those just testing the waters for longer rides and wanting to increase their mileage on a fairly level route. If you have lots of miles under your belt and just want a flat quick ride, with long uninterrupted stretches for working on intervals, then this is a good route to consider.

You can create longer rides from this route by continuing on Highway 99 to Grants Pass and returning, continuing on past Gold Hill Park northward on Highway 234 for a desired distance and return, or by going north at Rogue River on east or west Evans Creek Roads.

The new spring season is just around the corner. It'll be a great time to pursue your cycling with a short drive for some different scenery. Have a great ride.

Bicycling enthusiast Bob Korfhage of Phoenix is a former president of Siskiyou Velo bicycle club.