Guest Author | 02/14/2022 | Biking, Downtown Corvallis, Historic Places, History, Outdoor Recreation

Cycling Downtown Corvallis & the Riverfront Commemorative Park

One of the great things about Corvallis is that it's highly bike-able, and exploring Corvallis' downtown area by bike is a great option.

Didn't bring your bike? No problem. You can rent one while you're here.

A great resource to have on hand as you bike downtown Corvallis is the Corvallis & Benton County Bicycle Guide. You can pick up a print guide at Visit Corvallis' office at 113 SW 3rd Street, Suite #101, in downtown Corvallis (our entrance faces into the Free Public Parking Lot on 2nd Street, across from the Majestic Theatre), or you can download a .pdf guide here.

Riverfront Commemorative Park, Downtown Corvallis, Oregon, by Reed Lane PhotographyRiverfront Commemorative Park, Corvallis, Oregon, by Reed Lane Photography

Looking for a leisurely ride? There are few better places to spend a casual day on the bike than along a river trail. Corvallis delivers with its inviting downtown Riverfront Park and nearby Crystal Lake Sports Park paths.

The Riverfront Commemorative Park (map) is a fantastic starting point for many riding opportunities. The linear park itself extends a half mile. On one side is the Willamette River, and on the other is the historic downtown district with its shops, restaurants, bike shops and covered bike parking to help meet your needs.

Ride the paved trail along the park and enjoy the people watching. This is a community gathering place. You’ll find joggers, walkers and people who simply choose to sit in the park and read a book on a sunny day.

At the end of the half-mile stretch, stop and take a look at your map to sort through your options. To reach Crystal Lake Sports Park (map), continue riding south over the smaller Mary’s River and along 3rd Street. Turn left (east) on Crystal Lake Drive and follow the road in to the sports park.

The sports park is divided into two parts. The northern area is dominated by ball diamonds and soccer fields. Your riding trail passes between the playing fields. On game days, this may be a little crowded. When games are not in session, this is an open ride.

The southern segment, known as the Kendall Natural Area, is a peaceful ride along the Willamette River. The paved surface is in excellent condition. The park ride totals 2 miles one way.

Once you reach the end, turn around and reverse your route. It’s a dead end trail. On your return to the intersection of Crystal Lake Drive and 3rd Street (map), your map will show you an additional path west to Avery Park (map) along Avery Park Lane. By taking this option, you can extend your ride in a variety of directions.

Or, head back north to the Riverfront Park where you can park your bike and grab something cool to drink.

New Morning Bakery, downtown Corvallis, Oregon - A view of New Morning Bakerys storefront on 2nd Street in Corvallis, Oregon2nd Street, downtown Corvallis, Oregon

Consider starting your ride downtown by the river (map). There’s plenty of parking available and the limited vehicle traffic on 1st Street allows you some space as you get started. Plus, you’re already in the historic downtown business district.

Your first key historic site is the Benton County Courthouse on NW 4th Street between Jackson and Monroe streets (map). The courthouse, built in 1889, is the oldest courthouse building in Oregon that still serves its original purpose.

Now pick a bike-laned street on your map and head west toward the Oregon State University campus. Here you’ll find tree-shrouded streets and bikeways to help you weave in and around an architectural treasure trove of old and new buildings across the campus. Weekends are the best days to explore from September through May, while the college is in session. You can even take a spin around Reser Stadium (map) and Gill Coliseum (map), the school’s football and basketball structures.

Once you’ve seen the Oregon State campus, make your way north to Monroe Avenue on the edge of campus (map). Monroe Avenue provides an easy, gradual downhill ride back to downtown Corvallis and the riverfront. You’ll also see a variety of food and drink options should you have the urge.

As you ride toward the river, watch for Central Park on your right (map). This is the site of many community events throughout the year. Turn in and discover play structures for children, resting benches and the city’s popular Central Park Gazebo.

By the way, the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library is located across the street from Central Park in the 600 block of Monroe Avenue (map).

Central Park also abuts the Avery-Helm Historic District, an older neighborhood and one of several Corvallis locations on the National Registry of Historic Places. (College Hill West and Oregon State University are some others.) The Avery-Helm neighborhood extends from 6th to 2nd streets and Jefferson to Van Buren avenues. Avery-Helm is the unofficial getaway to the downtown area.

Now that you’re nearing the end of your ride, keep a sharp eye out for a place for a drink and a bite to eat. You have plenty of choices!

Article and featured photo by Dan Shryock. Keep up with Corvallis news, events and happenings by signing up for our email newsletter.

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113 SW 3rd Street, Alley Suite 101
Corvallis, OR 97333
(Entrance facing 2nd St public parking lot)
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