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Some of our Favorite Local Ride Routes

Our Rubber to the Road film series is a collection of our favorite bike rides in and around Portland, Oregon. These short films give insight of the routes along with tips on bikes, equipment, and getting there. 

Sauvie Island Ride

Bike Recommendations: Road & Hybrid

The heart of this ride is a flat 12-mile lap around Sauvie Island, home to farm fields and wildlife preserves, and you’ll discover incredible views throughout. It’s a straight shot out of town along Highway 30 to get to the island and back making this an ideal road ride for training or just riding fast with friends. 

Waterfront Loop Ride

Bike Recommendations:  Hybrid,  Kids Bikes or pretty much anything!

There's no better way to explore Portland than by bike and this casual route will show off all the best of this great city. This is a perfect route for beginners or for a cruise with friends. There's plenty of places along the way to eat and drink or for great photos. RCB staffer Andrew Baxter reveals the route aboard Momentum Street, one of the most popular bicycles from the River City Bicycles Outlet store.

Leif Erikson Drive Ride

Bike Recommendations: Gravel, Mountain Bike, Hybrid &  Kids Bikes

Leif Erikson Drive is wide trail running the length of Forest Park just to the west of downtown Portland. An automobile road in the early part of the century and now closed to motor traffic, this 11.2 mile trail extends from NW Thurman St to NW Germantown Road. Elevation gain from point to point is approximately 350 feet. Concrete mile marker posts note every 1/4 mile. This relatively smooth dirt and gravel road is ideal for a car free ride and can be ridden on just about any bike though for novice riders we recommend wider tires. This is a multi-use trail with a high density of walkers, runners, and dogs in the first two miles from the Thurman Street trailhead. Leif Erikson is a great route for a quick escape from the city into the woods without venturing too far from home.

Thrillium MTB Ride

Bike Recommendations: Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Thrillium is very easily on our short list of the Portland area's premiere downward-sloping trails. It features a great mix of bike-park-esque features included but not limited to gap jumps, sizable berms and rock gardens- but it also includes a fair amount of natural, rougher sections as well. Though some of the jumps are some of the biggest you'll find in our general area, all of them- as well as other challenging features- offer ride-around options which makes the trail friendly to intermediate-level riders. Thrillium isn't an overly difficult trail but it can be fairly challenging if you're trying to drop it at full gas and have ambitions to clear every feature along the way.

Stub Stewart MTB Ride

Bike Recommendations: Gravel / Cyclocross, Any Mountain Bike & Kids Bikes

L. L. “Stub” Stewart Memorial State Park is a 1,654-acre Oregon state park located 34 miles west of Portland. It’s a quick trip by car and the park offers just under 8 miles of mountain bike trails for all skill levels along with sites for picnicking, camping, cabin rentals, and access to the paved Banks-Vernonia trail. Purpose-built cross-country trails can be linked together for a nearly endless flow of riding and there’s two ferried trails designed to test riders with berms, jumps, drops, trail gaps, and a wallride. Bring a picnic and enjoy great views from the Hilltop Day Use Area in between or after runs. 

Fairmount Loop Ride

Bike RecommendationsRoad & Hybrid

Fairmount Loop is the perfect in-town road riding escape for a lunch ride, some quick training, or for those days when you don't want to be too far from town. There are many ways to climb up to the loop from town and all will offer a bit of a challenge for your legs. The loop itself is mostly flat with just a few little rollers and lots of swoopy turns. Exit off the loop and climb up to Council Crest for the best view of the city by far. A quick roll back down the hill and you're at your favorite coffee spot in no time at all.

Vista House Ride

Bike Recommendations: Road, Hybrid & Touring Bikes

The ride east from Portland to Vista House takes in views of the Columbia River, Portland Airport, and plenty of quiet country miles. The views of the Gorge along the way are spectacular. The Vista House itself has a lot of history. Construction began in 1916 and was completed in 1918, as a memorial to the Oregon pioneers. It also served as a comfort station for those traveling on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The octagonal stone structure towers 733 feet above the Columbia River and now serves as an interpretive center. There are water fountains inside and bathrooms also downstairs. (The staff there however, may have you remove your shoes to help preserve the marble floor inside.) This 60-mile ride is a Portland road ride classic and we recommend it for intermediate+ riders. 

Banks-Vernonia Ride

Bike Recommendations: Road, Hybrid, Kids Bikes or your moms cruiser!

The Banks–Vernonia State Trail is a 21-mile paved State Trail running primarily north–south, between the towns of Vernonia in and Banks, Oregon. The route can be accessed from either town, though we like the trailhead parking center in Banks best. Banks-Vernonia is nearly entirely flat with only small sections of climbing or descending as it passes through L. L. Stub Stewart State Park. The trail crosses 12 bridges including the Buxton Trestle, a 600-foot-long former railroad trestle that takes riders across a ravine at over 80 feet high.

Powell Butte Ride

Bike Recommendations: Gravel / Cyclocross, Any Mountain Bike, Hybrid & Kids Bikes

Powell Butte Nature Park is a 608-acre park centered around an extinct cinder cone volcano. You'll find forested trails, meadowlands, and an urban creek with remnant populations of native salmon and steelhead. It's a fantastic natural area located close to the city and easily accessible by bicycle. Car parking is available though we highly recommend riding the Springwater Corridor trail out and back. The park holds about 8 miles of multi-use trails so be on the lookout for hikers and even horses on most days. Morning rides are the best due to low traffic and incredible views of Mt Hood to the east. Trails are closed when muddy.

Gateway Green Ride

Bike Recommendations: Gravel / Cyclocross, Any Mountain Bike & Kids Bikes

Short and fun trail intro options for everyone in the city! Gateway Green was an enormous undertaking that was in the works for almost twelve years before opening in 2017. It just got some major additions in 2020 that the video doesn't show yet! The amount of work that went into making this a reality- both physically and politically is impressive to say the least. Special thanks to the Northwest Trail Alliance, Portland Parks and Recreation, and all the volunteers who put countless hours into this project to make it a reality. Gateway Green is the Portland area’s first, extensive, 25-acre mountain bike-specific park which lies just on the other side of I-205 from Rocky Butte and just a few blocks away from the Gateway Transit Center. It’s incredibly accessible by either the 205 bike path, or the Blue, Green and Red MAX lines, and is only seven miles away from River City. For more information on the park, be sure to visit, and we hope to see you out there soon!

Explore Our Community By Bike

We love riding our bikes as much as you do! Take a look at the community rides and events that we support, and feel free to share your ideas with us. Join our list to stay informed.

For more local ride suggestions visit our archives or buy the books, Volume 1  & Volume 2, for written directions and descriptions. Proceeds from the books are donated to the, The Street Trust (Bicycle Transportation Alliance) and the Community Cycling Center.