UPDATED OCT 3, 2019
Portland’s bike scene is one of the best in the US. Mountain bikers, day cruisers, and hill hoppers alike can dirty their tires on a new trail any day of the week. All you have to do is pick a direction and hit the road.
This is one of Portland’s newest parks, and arguably one of the coolest. This 25-acre slice of green in East Portland is a mountain biker’s paradise — and for good reason. Think single-track trails, a skills area (including a pump track and jump line), and a gravity area that makes use of the area’s natural topography. But this isn’t just any green space in the city; it's its own urban island, sandwiched between I-206 and I-84 and accessible from the I-205 multi-use path. Gateway Green is totally worth navigating the highways to visit — and hikers and walkers are welcome, too.
Tour the city’s south side along this 30-mile route boasting some of the city’s best river views. This mostly flat route passes through the charming Lake Oswego (which has some great breweries if you fancy a pit stop). A portion of this route also runs along Terwilliger Boulevard, known for its picturesque view of the three bridges crossing the Willamette. And if you’re in the mood for a shorter ride, opt for the six-mile path along the Willamette Greenway Bike Trail, which has a similar vantage of the sparkling Willamette without the long trek.
A perfect post-work getaway, this paved path is part of the nine miles of trails within Powell Butte Nature Park. This particular trail, though short, just happens to be our favorite because of, well, the mountain view. Pedaling toward a far-off Mount Hood is a great motivator, don’t you think? But don’t stop there. A number of single-track trails wind through open fields and grassy nooks, and while they may be simple, they offer a lot to explore. Our favorite part might be the post-ride rest — kicking back in the company of the Cascade Mountain Range is as good as it gets.
There’s a lot to savor on this ride. Beginning at the Salmon Springs Fountain, follow this route 13 miles through historic Southeast Portland neighborhoods, where the streets are bordered by trees and the homes have character. Ride along a combination of off-street paths and bike lanes, all the while catching glimpses of the Willamette River. Prepare to share the road with an abundance of fellow bikers and runners, though. But hey, maybe you can make a new friend at one of the crosswalks.
Biking isn’t about the destination (it’s the journey!), but we won’t say no to a river view with Mount Hood looming in the distance. Take your bike for a casual coast along this 24-mile route. Beginning at the bustling Kenton MAX Station, this route leads to Kelley Point Park, where you can take a break and bum in the sand at the park’s beach. Catch your breath near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers before returning on the loop. A final stretch of this route runs through North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood, home to Occidental Brewing… just in case you need to refuel.
Coast along the Columbia River with the wind in your hair and views of Mount Hood in the distance. This 17.6-mile trail begins at Kelley Point Park and ends at the Portland-Troutdale Airport. It butts up against the mighty Columbia River, and its wide trails make it perfect for experienced and recreational riders alike. Finish your ride at Blue Lake Park or continue on a larger loop around the Eastside of Portland. Just don’t forget a hat or sunscreen — there’s little reprieve from the sun on this route.
This ride will take your breath away — literally. We’re talking 15 miles of quad-killing hills and crazy climbs that will set your lungs on fire. (This is not the spot for an easy weekend cruise). You can take your mind off the muscle burn with views of the mountains and Downtown Portland. Luckily, many downtown breweries aren’t far from this route, and that works out well because you’re going to need some good grub after this one.
If you tackled Portland’s West Hills with ease, then this ride will be a piece of cake. An 11-mile loop with minimal elevation gain, this loop might just be the “rest day” ride you need. The relaxing route includes mostly bike paths with a few street sections mixed in. Oh, and it’s best done on a Sunday, paired with brunch.
This route has some serious views. First, head to Northwest Skyline Boulevard, known for its city vistas and beautiful nearby homes. You can reach Skyline by starting at Wallace Park in Northwest Portland and making your way along Cornell Road. Once you make it to your destination, you'll be treated to a bird’s eye view of Stumptown. On the return ride toward Portland, cruise across the Sauvie Island Bridge for a quick out-and-back trip through gold-and-green fields. Soak in the beauty of the farmland with—you guessed it—Mount Hood as the backdrop.
The first linear rail trail in Oregon, this route has a lot of historical significance for the state. More than a century ago, this 21-mile trail served as a rail line for timber and freight, supporting the state’s thriving lumber industry. The tracks have long been dismantled, and this spot now carries bikers, hikers, and walkers along its green pathway, which winds through miles of lush forest. Though it’s a bit outside of the city (roughly 26 miles west), we think it’s well worth the drive.
When you're in the mood to hop on your bike, zone out, and pedal until you can't anymore, this 50-ish mile trail around the east side of Portland is the move. It's relatively flat, which means no monster hills to contend with, and along the way you'll get an eyeful of the city's sights, sounds, and scenery. No worries if 50 miles seems a bit daunting, you can easily cut down the distance by taking the I-205 path.