Post STP: Bike Portland
If you’re biking the popular Seattle to Portland (STP) this weekend, maybe you can extend your visit to the Rose City and enjoy some of its many cycling amenities. Between city routes, nearby wine country destinations and a bucolic rural trail, there is plenty to keep you pedaling.
Here are four favorites:
- Ride the “Bridge of the People.” The recent Tilikum Crossing Bridge, which opened last September, moves a lot of people across the Willamette — but none of them are in cars. It’s open only to transit, cyclists and pedestrians, and is the longest such bridge in the U.S. It connects the developing South Waterfront neighborhood in southwest Portland with Hawthorne and Ladd’s Addition, two of my favorite quirky southeast areas.
- Take the Springwater Corridor Trail. From the east edge of the new bridge, ride south and you can track the Willamette all the way out of the city. Well, almost. The trail veers inland around a country club, but does take you through Sellwood Park. Then it connects to the Trolley Trail, another recent network expansion that came along with the new transit serving the area. With a few on-street sections, the trail takes you all the way to Oregon City. Go there just to admire its picturesque bridge.
- Visit Champoeg and the wine country. If you’re that far south, why not continue on to Champoeg State Heritage Area, on the river west of I-5 near Newburg. OK, it’s a pretty long ride, about 35 miles from central Portland, but along with its significance in Oregon heritage (site of the state’s first government) it has hiker-biker camping! And it is the northern terminus for the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, otherwise known as the wine country route. (Insider tip: If you’re asking locals for directions, stifle their giggles and yours and pronounce it correctly: “shampooey.” Seriously.)
- Retreat to Banks-Vernonia. Here’s a rural trail much like Snohomish County’s Centennial Trail, but with a useful central point: a park with a campground. The Banks-Vernonia State Trail is 21 miles of wooded bliss with towns at each end and the aforementioned L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park in the middle. Park at Banks, nearer to Portland, or the more picturesque Vernonia, closer to the Columbia River, and take a day ride into the park and back. Or score a campsite (non-reservable walk-in sites for $11 are often used by the hiker-biker set) and stay the night, biking to one end for dinner and the other for breakfast.
Whether you stay in the city or venture to these rural parks, extending your visit to the Portland area is a good way to savor the STP. And put a little oil on that bike chain.
Here are a few images of sights along “The B-V”: