Cottage Grove Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to visit, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more in Cottage Grove.

If you’re looking for a destination with a small-town charm, outdoor adventure, and fascinating history, Cottage Grove in Oregon is the perfect place for you. This picturesque city is located in the beautiful Willamette Valley, surrounded by lush forests, serene lakes, and stunning mountains. In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll take you on a tour of the best places to visit, the top things to do, where to stay, what to eat, and many more.

Introduction to Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove is a charming city with a population of around 10,000 residents. It is situated south of Eugene, the second-largest city in Oregon. The city has a rich and colorful history, which can be seen in its well-preserved historic buildings and landmarks. Cottage Grove offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban amenities, making it an ideal destination for travelers of all ages.

List of Places to Visit in Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove is home to several attractions that highlight its history and natural beauty. Here are some of the top places to visit:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

If you’re a history buff or passionate about architecture, you will find plenty of points of interest in Cottage Grove. The following cultural attractions should be on your must-visit list:

  • Bohemia Gold Mining Museum: This museum showcases the rich history of gold mining in the Bohemia Mining District. It features exhibits, artifacts, and photographs documenting the life and times of the area’s early pioneers and gold miners.
  • Cottage Grove Museum: Provides visitors with a glimpse of the city’s past through its extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents. It also includes exhibits on the timber industry and transportation.
  • Historic Downtown: Take a stroll through Cottage Grove’s downtown, which holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find many buildings with intricate architectural details and unique shops.

Natural Attractions of Cottage Grove: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Cottage Grove boasts a stunning natural landscape with plenty of outdoor activities that will get your adrenaline pumping. Here are some of the best natural attractions to check out:

  • Row River Trail: This trail runs through covered bridges, scenic vistas, and babbling creeks, offering a picturesque hike or bike ride.
  • Dorena Lake: Popular for fishing, kayaking, and swimming, this beautiful lake is surrounded by lush greenery and stands as one of the most serene views in Cottage Grove.
  • Chambers Railroad Bridge: This historic bridge is one of the few remaining covered railroad bridges in Oregon. You can walk across the bridge and view the beautiful Willamette Valley below it.
  • Cottage Grove Reservoir: This reservoir is a great spot for fishing, boating, or simply relaxing in nature.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove has no shortage of hiking trails and biking routes that take you through lush forests and stunning vistas. Here are some of the best hiking/biking trails:

  • Mt. David Trail: This challenging trail takes you to the top of Mount David, where you can enjoy the stunning view of Cottage Grove and the surrounding valleys.
  • Ridgeline Trail: This 12-mile trail offers ample opportunities for hiking, running, and mountain biking. You’ll see beautiful wildflowers and stunning views of the mountains.
  • Columbia Plateau Trail: This flat trail features a gentle slope, making it ideal for biking. It stretches from Cottage Grove to Pacific, following the old rail route.

Best Things to Do in Cottage Grove: Activities and Tours

Cottage Grove has a wide range of activities and tours that cater to all kinds of interests. Here are some of the best things to do in Cottage Grove:

  • Covered Bridge Scenic Bikeway: Take a 36-mile bike ride through seven of Cottage Grove’s historic covered bridges and scenic countryside.
  • Bohemia Mining Days: Join the city’s biggest event, which celebrates Cottage Grove’s gold mining heritage. Bohemia Mining Days offers live music, gold panning contests, and other fun activities.
  • Cottage Grove Speedway: This high-speed motorsports park features exciting weekly races that take place from April to September.
  • Oregon Aviation Historical Center: This museum features a collection of vintage aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits that highlight Oregon’s aviation history.

Week-Long Itinerary for Cottage Grove

If you’re planning to stay in Cottage Grove for a week, here’s an itinerary that will help you cover the best of what the city has to offer:

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum, then explore the historic downtown.
Day 2 Hike to the top of Mount David, then relax by the Cottage Grove Reservoir.
Day 3 Take a bike ride through the scenic Row River Trail.
Day 4 Visit the Oregon Aviation Historical Center and learn about Oregon's rich aviation history.
Day 5 Take a day trip to Eugene and visit the University of Oregon and the Lane County Farmers Market.
Day 6 Explore the Columbia Plateau Trail, then relax by the Dorena Lake.
Day 7 Attend a race at Cottage Grove Speedway and enjoy some high-speed entertainment.

Food and Drink Scene of Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove offers several dining options, ranging from gourmet to casual. Here are the must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Prime Rib: This classic steakhouse dish is done well by local restaurants.
  • Fish ‘n Chips: Enjoy fresh-caught fish at one of Cottage Grove’s many pubs.
  • Pork Adobo: This Filipino stew is a favorite at the locally-owned, Pacific Island-inspired restaurant.

Local Beverages

  • Craft Beer: Cottage Grove’s brewpubs are well known for their quality brews. The beer scene in this area is a must-try for beer aficionados.
  • Pinot Noir: Willamette Valley is known for producing excellent Pinot Noir, and several vineyards near Cottage Grove offer wine tastings.

Where to Stay in Cottage Grove: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Cottage Grove has a great mix of places to stay, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury accommodations. Here are some of the best places to consider:

  • The Village Green Resort: This hotel has a beautiful garden view and offers spa services and an onsite restaurant.
  • Best Western Cottage Grove Inn: Budget-friendly and convenient, this hotel offers free breakfast and an outdoor pool.
  • Bohemia Park B&B: This guesthouse has a cozy, vintage atmosphere with a peaceful garden setting.

What to Buy in Cottage Grove: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Cottage Grove offers plenty of souvenirs and local products to bring home as a memory of your trip. Here are some of the best things to buy:

  • Handmade Jewelry: Several local artists and craftspeople sell beautiful handmade jewelry.
  • Honey: Cottage Grove’s many honey producers offer flavorful honey made from local flowers.
  • Local Wines and Beers: Take a few bottles of Willamette Valley’s famous wine and craft beer home with you.

Local Culture and Customs of Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove’s locals are known for being friendly, welcoming, and proud of their town’s heritage. They are environmentally conscious, and the town hosts several events and festivals that reflect this attitude. Visitors should be aware of Cottage Grove’s smoking laws, which prohibit smoking in public parks, streets, and sidewalks.

Best Time to Visit Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove has a mild climate and is a great destination year-round. Summer and fall are the best seasons to enjoy outdoor adventures, while winter and spring are perfect for enjoying indoor cultural experiences.

Do’s and Don’ts of Cottage Grove

Here are some tips on what to do and not do when visiting Cottage Grove:


  • Do explore the city’s historic downtown and covered bridges.
  • Do take advantage of the outdoor activities available, such as hiking and biking.
  • Do try the local foods and beverages.


  • Don’t smoke in public places, as it’s prohibited.
  • Don’t litter. Cottage Grove is committed to protecting the environment, so visitors should help keep it clean and beautiful.
  • Don’t forget to bring appropriate clothing for the variable weather.

Safety and Health

Safety in Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove is a safe city, but visitors should be aware of the following:

  • Be careful when hiking on unfamiliar trails and follow trail markers.
  • Take precautions against ticks and mosquitos during outdoor activities.

Health in Cottage Grove

Visitors should take standard health precautions when visiting Cottage Grove, including:

  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  • Be aware of allergic reactions to pollen during spring and summer months.

Getting to Cottage Grove: Transportation Options and Logistics

Cottage Grove is approximately 25 miles south of Eugene, accessible from several major highways, including Interstate 5. Here are some transportation options to get to Cottage Grove:

Airports Near Cottage Grove

The nearest airport to Cottage Grove is the Eugene Airport, approximately 25 miles away.

Bus Stations Near Cottage Grove

Greyhound Bus Lines and the Bolt Bus both have stops in Eugene, which is a 30-minute drive from Cottage Grove.

Other Options

If you prefer driving, major car rental services are available in Eugene, and the city is accessible by Amtrak train service.

How to Get Around in Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove is a small city, and most of the major attractions are within walking distance. Biking is another great option, with plenty of well-marked bike paths throughout the city and surrounding areas. Taxis and rental cars are also readily available.

Where to Go Next from Cottage Grove: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Cottage Grove serves as an excellent starting point for exploring other nearby destinations, including:

  • Eugene: The University of Oregon and Lane County Farmers Market are just a few attractions in Eugene, which is only 30 minutes away.
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area: Head to the stunning dunes along the Pacific Ocean and enjoy miles of hiking trials and thrilling ATV rides.
  • Crater Lake National Park: This stunning national park is just a three-hour drive from Cottage Grove and features the deepest lake in the country.


Cottage Grove is a hidden gem with a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and modern amenities. It is an ideal destination for solo travelers, couples, and families. With this guide, you can make the most of your stay in Cottage Grove, covering all the best places to visit, adventures to embark on, and cultural experiences to enjoy.