Cow Creek Back Country Byway
Bureau of Land Management, Oregon.
Get ready for a beautiful drive through history as you follow the winding Cow Creek Back Country Byway. The route is 45-miles long and parallels Cow Creek most of your journey. This rustic two-lane road is a great alternative to Interstate 5 and connects the towns of Riddle and Glendale. Along the byway are interpretive signs that talk about the history of the long forgotten town of West Fork, the historic railroad, and gold mining in the area. The Island Creek day use area is a great stop to stretch your legs, pan for gold, or have a creek-side picnic during your drive. Skull Creek Campground is a free first-come, first served campground offering up 5 sites for weary travelers.
Know Before You Go:
- The railroad is still active and follows the original Oregon and California Railroad Company grade built in 1869.
- Portions of the surrounding forest land were burned in the Douglas Complex Fire in 2013.
- Be respectful and do not trespass on private mining claims marked along the creek.
- Stay alert on the blind corners as logging trucks are common.
Point of Interest:
Spring is the best time to view the abundance of wildflowers. In summer, visitors can swim, fish, and pan for gold in Cow Creek. In autumn, enjoy the glorious changing foliage and the elusive salmon spawning.Cow Creek Back Country Byway Brochure
Explore Oregon Recreation: Cow Creek Back Country ByWay
- Auto Touring
- Day Use Area
- Environmental Education
- Historic & Cultural Site
- Horseback Riding
- Information Site
- Interpretive Programs
- Observation Site
- Off Highway Vehicle
- Water Sports
- Wildlife Viewing
Interstate 5 from the north, take Exit 103 (Riddle) and head west on Riddle Bypass Road, eventually turning into the Byway route. Interstate 5 from the south, take Exit 80 (Glendale) and follow county road 263 to county road 39, and finally county road 164, which becomes the Cow Creek Road.