Top 15 Best Bike Trails in and around Portland

Portland is a city famous for its love of cycling and here you’ll find over 350 miles of bikeways/cycle routes. There’s also a huge variety of routes on offer so from leisurely scenic rides to more of a strenuous cardio workout, here are some of the best bike and cycle trails around Portland, Oregon…

1. Eastbank Esplanade – a very popular pedestrian and easy paved bicycle path which takes you along the river

Eastbank Esplanade - Portland

The Eastbank Esplanade is one of Portland’s most scenic routes for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The 1.5 mile-long walkway stretches along the Willamette River. The esplanade starts at the Steel Bridge and ends at the Hawthorne Bridge, connecting to the Springwater Corridor and different neighborhoods on the east side of Portland.

For a scenic cycle along the river as well as a glimpse into urban renewal projects along the way, the Eastbank Esplanade is the route that you should take. Stop along the way to take pictures of the river or check out the unique floating walkway—although you may want to walk your bike for that section.

2. Laurelhurst Park – a beautiful city park perfect for a leisurely and scenic cycle ride with your family

Laurelhurst Park - Portland

Laurelhurst Park stretches over 26 acres in Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood. The park was designed according to the principles of the City Beautiful movement, which emphasized the importance of beauty in public works projects.

Laurelhurst Park features many trails for walking and cycling, including the Park Loop that takes you past the lake. The park is also a center for like-minded community members who enjoy cycling. On the weekends, the Parks & Recreation department helps organize a Bike Gallery that assists with minor bike repairs and helps novices make the most of their machines.

3. Skyline Boulevard – a very popular bike trail with more experienced cyclists

Skyline Boulevard in Forest Park - Portland

Skyline Boulevard in Forest Park is one of the best bike trails around Portland, Oregon. This bike route is not for the faint of heart as it involves a fairly steep incline, but if you are an experienced cyclist and have the energy, the views in the end are more than worth it.

Getting to Skyline Boulevard starts with a steep cycle up through Portland’s famous Forest Park. Once you reach the boulevard, you’ll be rewarded with a gentle road that’s nice and shady thanks to all the trees. You can follow the boulevard out into the Oregon countryside or only take it as far as you need to get gorgeous views of the city. However, a word of caution before you go: Skyline Boulevard is also an active road, although fairly quiet, so you will need to share the road with vehicles.

4. Banks-Vernonia State Trail – a paved bike trail which takes you around the countryside 

Banks-Vernonia State Trail

 

The Banks-Vernonia State Trail is a combination of trails and rails—the trail actually goes alongside an abandoned railroad track. The trail follows 21 miles between Banks and Vernonia, two small towns that are about an hour outside of Portland.

The trail, which is designed for cyclists, pedestrians, and horseback riders, takes you through scenic areas of the Oregon countryside. Highlights along the way include several bridges, views of farmland, and the novelty of riding alongside the train tracks. Be sure to stop in either Banks and Vernonia at either ends of the trail because both are picturesque small towns.

5. McKenzie River Trail – one of the best mountain bike trails in North America

McKenzie River Trail - Portland

If you are passionate about mountain biking, you have to visit the McKenzie River Trail, even though it is a few hours’ drive outside of Portland. This 25-mile trail through rugged terrain is a favorite for mountaineers and lovers of impressive scenery.

The McKenzie River Trail is not for the faint of heart or for beginners. The first few miles are black-diamond rated as you have to navigate through rock gardens. You can also start at the middle of the trail, which is easier to navigate, and still enjoy plenty of gorgeous scenery. Highlights include nearby Tamolitch Pool, waterfalls, and miles of old-growth forest.

6. Fanno Creek – a popular bike trail for the enthusiastic riders 

Fanno Creek Trail - Portland

Fanno Creek Trail is located in the Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District, just a few miles west of Portland proper. This trail is short but popular, in part thanks to its ADA-accessibility, which makes it a good choice for cyclists and pedestrians of all abilities.

The trail follows Fanno Creek and takes you through several different landscapes, including forests and wetlands. Stop at any point along the trail to check out nearby parks, observe the birds, or just take in the scenery. If you are starting at the head of the trail, check out the Garden Home Recreation Center, which offers special programming, including for children.

  • Address: Fanno Creek Trail, Portland, OR, United States

7. Springwater Corridor – the perfect spot for a scenic route through nature

Springwater Corridor Trail - Portland

The Springwater Corridor is another trail in the Portland area that follows an abandoned set of rail tracks. It is part of the 40-Mile Loop, which will eventually connect many of Portland’s major parks and recreation areas.

The Springwater Corridor is worth a trip because of the diversity of its scenery. Part of the trail passes through Portland’s vibrant neighborhoods, but you also cycle through some majestic natural vistas, including buttes and wetlands. The corridor connects several of Portland’s major parks, including the Leach Botanical Garden and Powell Butte Nature Park, so extend your trip with a visit to any of those.

8. Hawthorne Bridge – one of Portland’s oldest bridges safe for cyclists and pedestrians

Hawthorne Bridge - Portland

The Hawthorne Bridge stands out even in a city with as many bridges as Portland. This truss bridge is the country’s oldest bridge with a functioning vertical lift. Its distinctive green and red color makes it easily recognizable along Portland’s waterways.

Although Hawthorne Bridge is a busy vehicle crossing, it is also a popular cycling path for commuters and recreational cyclists alike. Cross the bridge so that you can say you’ve gone over this iconic piece of Portland’s landscape. Extend your journey after you cross the bridge by continuing along the Eastbank Esplanade.

  • Address: Hawthorne Bridge, Portland, OR 97214, United States

9. Terwilliger Trail – offers a beautiful, paved route from southern Portland to Lake Oswego

Terwilliger Trail - Portland

Terwilliger Trail is divided into two segments. One starts in downtown Portland and ends along I-5. The other segment has one endpoint on Terwilliger Boulevard and ends at scenic Lake Oswego after passing through Tryon Creek State Park.

Both sections of the trail offer nice scenic views and plenty of tree cover while still feeling close to city life. It is an easy route for cyclists of all levels, so this is a great option if you want to start taking your bike out on trails but don’t feel confident yet.

  • Address: SW 6th Avenue – Sheridan Street to Slavin Street, Portland, OR 97201, United States

10. Row River Trail – a national recreation trail with beautiful surroundings

Row River Trail - Portland

The area around Portland used to be heavily industrialized, which is why many trails, including Row River Trail, follow abandoned railroad tracks. Besides a railroad track, the Row River Trail is also distinctive because it is part of the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway. The trail takes you past the historic covered bridges of Lane County, which has the highest concentration of them this side of the country.

However, Row River Trail is not just important for its man-made landmarks. Check out the beautiful natural landmarks along the way, including the Cascades foothills and a scenic mountain lake.

  • Address: Springfield Interagency Office3106 Pierce Parkway, Suite E Springfield, OR 97477, United States
  • Row River Trail Website

11. Burnt Bridge Creek Trail – a flat paved biking trail with open prairies field

Burnt Bridge Creek Trail - Vancouver WA

Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, just over the state border in nearby Vancouver, Washington, is a popular destination for cyclists and nature lovers from the Portland area.

The trail takes you through a varied landscape that includes forests, grasslands, and even a few of Vancouver’s residential neighborhoods. The trail is nice and flat, perfect for cyclists still building their endurance.

12. Marine Drive Trail – an excellent path with great views perfect for cyclists with all skill levels

Marine Drive Trail - Portland

Marine Drive Trail is located alongside the scenic Columbia River, which forms some of the most beautiful vistas in the Pacific Northwest. The trail is wide and paved without much changes in elevation, perfect for a leisurely cycle.

Marine Drive Trail takes you right by the river in several sections, giving you uninterrupted views of the water. Different sections of the trail give you access to a beachfront area or take you through wetlands that are home to migrating bird species.

  • Address: N Marine Dr Portland, OR, United States

13. Leif Erikson (Forest Park) – a moderate cycle trail that gives the opportunity to see wildlife

Leif Erikson in Forest Park - Portland

Leif Erikson Drive in Forest Park is a favorite destination for Portlanders looking to get in a workout without leaving their city. Cyclists do have to share the trail with runners and pedestrians, but there is plenty of space for everyone on this 10-mile trail.

The trail is surrounded by trees, offering plenty of shade cover if you are trying to get away from the sun (or the drizzle). The trail has many changes in elevation, making it a bit more challenging, but technically it is very well maintained.

  • Address: NW Leif Erikson Dr, Portland, OR 97210, United States

14. Rocky Butte – part of a natural area with tons of space for cycling

Rocky Butte - Portland

Rocky Butte is one of the extinct volcanoes in Portland. Not many cities in the United States can boast having one volcano, let alone several, but Portland has a few extinct cones and buttes within its city borders. Rocky Butte is the best one for visitors in search of great views of Portland. It is one of the highest and doesn’t have trees on top, offering clear views of the city and the famous peaks of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens.

Rocky Butte is extinct so you don’t have to worry about lava when you go there, although your legs may feel as if they are burning—this is a pretty steep trail!

15. Mount Tabor – a mixture of footpaths and bike trails that will offer spectacular views 

Mount Tabor - Portland

Mount Tabor is another one of Portland’s extinct volcanoes. Unlike Rocky Butte, its slopes are covered in trees, which obscure the views somewhat but make for a more pleasant cycling experience. Don’t forget to check out the picturesque reservoirs or make your way to the top of the mountain for a view of Mount Hood.

  • Address: SE 60th Avenue and Salmon Street, Portland, OR 97215, United States

 

 

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