When spring arrives, that's when the cycling starts getting good in Portland. True, there are tons of folks who ride year-round in Stumptown, but there's something about spring riding that's near impossible to beat. With no shortage of scenic loops to choose from, here are five perfect rides in Portland and beyond—along with what makes them so special.
1. Hood River to Mosier Trail
Ideal time for a ride: When you want to enjoy the Columbia River Gorge without the crowds
What sets it apart: Everyone knows how beautiful the Columbia River Gorge is, but most enjoy it from viewpoints at the end of hiking trails or from the passenger side of their car. Get out and enjoy a steady stream of gorgeous views with this nine-mile out-and-back trail, which follows a paved, restored segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway. A handful of viewpoints along the way and a trip through the Mosier Twin Tunnels, which offer views of the Columbia River through windows carved into the rock, make it a unique way to see some very familiar sights.
2. Council Crest-Washington Park Loop
Ideal time for a ride: When you want to enjoy the best of Portland
What sets it apart: In a city known for beautiful bike rides, this might be the most stunning. The Council Crest-Washington Park Loop is a tough trek that begins with an ascent up to the summit of Council Crest, the highest point in Portland that offers Instagram-worthy views of North Portland and Mount Hood on clear days. It coasts through the lush West Hills over to Washington Park, passing some of the city’s most posh neighborhoods and scenic vistas along the way.
3. Springwater Corridor
Ideal time for a ride: When you want to escape the city—in a hurry
What sets it apart: The 21-mile Springwater Corridor trail starts four blocks from the Willamette River, just east of downtown Portland. The traffic and noise fade away quickly, though, giving way to a variety of scenic views. The trail crosses Johnson Creek several times, cuts through a handful of parks, traverses open meadows, and goes into forested areas several times along the route.
But the creature comforts of the city are still within easy reach: namely, Cartlandia. The food cart pod, with 30 carts at the intersection of the trail and Southeast 82nd Avenue, might be the best in the city.
4. Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Ideal time for a ride: When you want a unique look at nature
What sets it apart: The Banks-Vernonia State Trail stands out among Oregon bike paths for a variety of reasons; chief among them, the trail was once a regional railroad that has since been converted for general public use by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Elements of the trail's history are still visible at times along the relatively flat, 21-mile trail, including a few sections that cross restored trestles some 80 feet high and 700 feet long.
5. North Portland Cycling Loop
Ideal time for a ride: When you want to explore parts of Portland not known for biking
What sets it apart: Portland’s reputation for excellent cycling sometimes ignore the city’s northernmost quadrant. Get to know the city’s less-explored section with the North Portland Cycling Loop, which involves trips through Kenton and St. Johns, offers views of industrial Portland from the Willamette Bluffs, and includes a trip through the Smith and Bybee Wetlands, just minutes from Hayden Island.
Written by Matt Wastradowski for RootsRated.