Bike the Bear Creek Greenway

Photo: Alex Georgevitch/Jackson County Parks

Ride Southern Oregon’s paved 20-mile bike path from Ashland through Medford.

The Bear Creek Greenway is the Rogue Valley’s arterial urban escape, hiding in plain sight. It’s a paved, multi-use path that takes bikers (and runners and walkers) along Bear Creek, entirely paralleling the Rogue River tributary from the Ashland Dog Park northwest to Dean Creek Road Trailhead, just south of its confluence with the Rogue. It’s a walk or ride that’ll engage the whole family, and certainly the drop-bar cycling crowd, to stretch their legs on two wheels. Locals also gravitate here for bird watching. There’s no wrong way to enjoy the path—riders can start at one of many different parking areas and ride in any direction, but a longer outing is possible by riding the path end to end, connecting the towns of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, and Central Point. Parking, bathrooms, playgrounds and picnic spots are available at numerous points along the path. 

Recommended Route 

The greenway is more of a “choose your own adventure” type of trail. If you’re accessing it from Medford, right in the middle, you can ride an out-and-back in one or both directions. Or, make a full day out of riding the full 20 miles from Ashland to Central Point, stopping at various parks, coffee shops, breweries and restaurants along the way. 

For a longer, more fitness-oriented excursion

Start at the Ashland Dog Park and ride the 40 miles, round-trip to the end of the trail at Central Point and back. There’s access to drinking water and shade roughly every three miles between Mile 4 and Mile 15.

If you’re cruising or have kids in tow

Go shorter and include as many playground stops as possible (there are four on the 5.6-mile section from Medford to Phoenix). Try starting from Bear Creek Park in Medford; it has a large playground, tennis courts, a BMX track, a skatepark, and an off-leash dog area. From there, ride the 1.2 miles north to the playground at Hawthorne Park and back, or 1.8 miles south to Community Park. The majority of the path tightly parallels the tree-lined creek and is quite pleasant, with easy riding and a nice atmosphere. 

Getting There 

There are a variety of access points for the greenway and you’ll be able to find a parking area every few miles. In Medford, there’s a convenient parking lot with easy trail access and caffeine amenities (see below) at Hawthorne Park. More info and map:

Refresh & Refuel 

The greenway also provides the perfect backbone for a Rogue Valley food and beverage tour—trail access to great restaurants and coffee shops abounds. In Central Point, stop at the Rogue Creamery for a cheesy pick-me-up (the grilled cheese is a fan favorite and the creamery claims the world’s best blue cheese). Forage Coffee is adjacent to the parking lot at Hawthorne Park in Medford. In Ashland, tag on an additional 2 miles south of the trail terminus to finish at the beautiful Japanese Garden in Lithia Park.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.