North Portland Loop - Cycling

Made possible by

Photos

About

Summary

The Portland peninsula bills itself as the “Gateway to nature.” What many Portlanders consider to be one of the furthest, tumbleweed-laden, lawless outposts of the Rose City, is in reality a fine place to get a little fresh air via bicycle. From the bluffs of Willamette Boulevard to the serene Smith and Bybee lakes, there’s a lot to appreciate on this 19 mile bike ride around North Portland.

Written by

Abby Joffe

Distance

19.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

3.7 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

+/- 2 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

No

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Due to the nature of this loop ride, you can start in a myriad of spots, but a great way to begin is by taking the MAX to the Kenton Station and beginning your journey from there. 

From the charming downtown area of Kenton, head south and make your way to Bryant, and onto Willamette Boulevard. The bluffs overlooking the river are home to the University of Portland and a number of grand vistas. Lined with massive western red cedar trees and a number of deciduous species that provide color in fall, you can expect views of Mt Hood, downtown Portland, and Forest Park across the river. 

What Makes It Great

It’s a fast, flat, but scenic ride through a part of town you might not have considered. You’ll have the opportunity to visit two wonderful parks, the largest urban wetland in the country and a pair of ridiculously charming downtown areas in Kenton and St Johns.

The Portland peninsula bills itself as the “Gateway to nature” and with good reason. What many Portlanders consider to be one of the furthest, tumbleweed-laden, lawless outposts of the Rose City is in reality a fine place to get a little fresh air via bicycle. From the bluffs of Willamette Boulevard to the serene Smith and Bybee lakes, there’s a lot to appreciate on this 19-mile bike ride around North Portland.

From the charming downtown area of Kenton, head south and make your way to Bryant, and onto Willamette Boulevard. The bluffs overlooking the river are home to the University of Portland and a number of grand vistas. Lined with massive western red cedar trees and a number of deciduous species that provide color in fall, you can expect views of Mt Hood, downtown Portland, and Forest Park across the river. 

Continuing past the University, take the Peninsula Crossing Trail to Fessenden and continue into another one of Portland’s charming old hamlets, St Johns. Traffic thins considerably as you pass by Pier Park and enter the North Portland industrial area. While this might not be the most scenic stretch, and traffic lanes are wide and the terrain is flat and easily manageable. There is a nice side trip here to Kelley Point Park, which is a pleasant potential rest stop at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers and affords beach access and cottonwood shaded picnic spots.

The road now bends around onto Marine Drive and passes by the Smith and Bybee lakes. This is another great spot to stretch your legs. There are a few places to access the lakes as well as a paved trail with interpretive signs that visit the water. If you do go, lock your bike up at the parking area, as bikes are not allowed on the trail. Continue past the lakes and pick up the Slough Trail back to Denver Avenue in Kenton and arrive back where you started.

Who is Going to Love It

Riders that want some miles without fighting hills or families like they typically would elsewhere will certainly love this ride. This ride has a little something for everybody.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Start where you like and obey the rules of the road.

Location

North Portland Loop

OR,
45.583864, -122.68596

Get Directions