Most of this route is a designated BLM Back Country Byway and Oregon State Tour Route. Active railroad tracks are adjacent to the road. They follow the original Oregon and California Railroad Company grade built in 1869, and many historic railroad structures can still be seen along the route.
The route starts by leaving Glendale on a county road for about five miles. That becomes BLM-maintained Cow Creek Road for 30 miles, before bypassing the community of Riddle and crossing over the freeway to arrive back at South Umpqua High School.
There is a very slight hill to climb for a short distance before the road reaches Cow Creek, a tributary of the South Umpqua River. The road then follows Cow Creek through conifer and hardwood forested areas. Beware that poison oak is prevalent along this route. Using only designated rest and water stops along the route will avoid exposure to this obnoxious plant.
Panning for gold still occurs in Cow Creek, and a sign 17 miles from Glendale provides information about recreational gold panning. At this Recreational Gold Panning Area, thousands of feet of streambed are open for public gold panning. The remaining streambed is either privately owned or reserved mining claims.
After a rest and a water stop along the route, lunch and a finish line celebration closes our your Go for Gold Adventure!