The Row River Trail is part of the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway. Small-town charm, a lake at the foot of the Cascades, and a mostly flat path escort you past Dorena Dam and historic covered bridges. Lane County has more covered bridges than any county west of the Mississippi River.
The trail follows the route of the former Oregon Pacific & Eastern Railroad line, running along the scenic shore of the Row River and Dorena Reservoir and paralleling Row River Road for most of the way. Nearby, you'll find quaint covered bridges and the historic Bohemia mining area. The 3-mile section of trail from Cottage Grove to the Mosby Creek trailhead is managed by the city of Cottage Grove, while the remainder of the trail is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Cottage Grove has a downtown commercial historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Willamette Valley was one of the great farming areas of the 1880s. In the early part of the 20th century, the area relied on the "Old Slow and Easy," more formally known as the Oregon & Southeastern Railroad, to transport goods and people from Cottage Grove to Disston, just past Culp Creek.
From the Cottage Grove trailhead, 3 city miles deliver you to the beautiful Mosby Creek trailhead. After another 3.5 miles, you'll arrive at Dorena Dam, which prevents the flooding of towns downstream. You'll pass Row Point, which displays the colorful, protected remnants of the native prairie, eventually reaching Harms Park Trestle—featured in the movies Emperor of the North and Stand by Me.
Smith Creek provides habitats for a host of flora and fauna and was once the site of an early settler's orchard; you'll see the remains below Smith Creek Bridge. You'll then pass through post-dam Dorena before completing your tour at Culp Creek—1 of more than 20 early-1900s mill towns that popped up along Row River, sprouting from the short-line railroad from Cottage Grove to the Umpqua National Forest.
To reach the western trailhead, from Interstate 5 in Cottage Grove, take Exit 174 toward Dorena Lake. Keep right at the exit ramp, following signs for the city center, and merge onto Row River Road. After 0.6 mile, turn left on State Route 99, and go 0.7 mile. Turn left onto Main Street; the trailhead will be on the left.
To start outside the city at the Mosby Creek trailhead, from I-5, turn left (east) off the Exit 174 ramp onto Row River Road. Drive 0.7 mile east on Row River Road. Turn right onto Currin Conn Road. Immediately afterward, turn left onto Mosby Creek Road. Go 2 miles southeast on Mosby Creek Road, and then turn left onto Lang Road. Take a quick left into the parking lot. Parking is also provided at smaller trailheads along the way, including Culp Creek.