Cycle Portland, Road Ride, The Simpsons Ride

Matt Groening, creator of the popular television series, The Simpsons, grew up in the West Hills of Portland and named many of his characters after local streets. Take this bike ride to explore his childhood neighborhood and get to know both the Simpsons characters and the city in a whole new way. Challenging hills and breathtaking scenery lie ahead as you ride through urban forests, to the working waterfront, and through quaint residential neighborhoods. Character references are provided in parentheses.

Terrain

Smooth, paved streets, many with bike lanes, in downtown and North Portland. Steep hills and narrow roads in the West Hills.

Traffic

Urban traffic can be heavy at commuter rush hours. Low traffic throughout the West Hills neighborhoods and up to Council Crest Park.

Access

By car, take U.S. Route 26 to exit 72 toward Zoo/Forestry Center. On-street parking.

By public transportation, from downtown Portland take TriMet MAX Blue or Red line trains toward Hillsboro or Beaverton and disembark at Washington Park.

Food and Drink

There are many convenience stores, cafés and pubs located in downtown Portland. Restrooms are available between the TriMet MAX stations in Washington Park.

Side Trips

Duniway Lilac Park, George Himes Park, Council Crest, PSU campus, the Pearl District, and downtown Portland are all readily accessible.

 

More Details

The Oregon Zoo is located very near Matt Groening’s childhood home and this is the starting point of the bike ride. He attended Ainsworth Elementary School and Lincoln High School both located in the southwest quadrant of the city. Travel up through the West Hills to the summit of Council Crest before taking the steep plunge down Montgomery Drive (Montgomery Burns, evil boss) into downtown Portland. Along the way take time to stop and look out over the five mountain peaks at Council Crest Park and marvel at the thick moss clinging to the trees along Fairmount Boulevard.

You will quickly move from urban forest to downtown commercial district and cross both NW Kearney (Kearney Zywicz, bully) and NW Flanders (Ned Flanders, next door neighbor) streets before turning onto Lovejoy (Reverend Timothy Lovejoy). Cross the Broadway Bridge and head toward north Portland to cross N Van Houten Street (Milhouse Van Houten, Bart’s best friend) before you pick up the Peninsula Crossing Trail. A short ride through the New Columbia neighborhood will bring you to N Woolsey Street. Come back through downtown via Broadway and begin the second set of challenging hill climbs when you take a left onto Terwilliger Boulevard (Sideshow Bob Terwilliger, evil sidekick of Krusty the Klown).

More hills are ahead as you ride through the Oregon Health and Science University campus and up Marquam Hill. The lush green forest will once again surround you along Fairmount and Humphreys boulevards on your way back to Washington Park. Under-achieving cyclists will find themselves huffing and puffing up the steeper hills at the end of this ride, but both Bart Simpson and Matt Groening would cheer on those who accept the difficult challenge of the West Hills.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin at the TriMet MAX station at Washington Park and ride down SW Knights Blvd past the World Forestry Center and the Children’s Museum and continue along SW Zoo Rd.
  • 0.4 Right onto SW Canyon Court.
  • 1.0 Left onto the bike path at the stop sign on the corner of SW Westgate Dr and ride up to Sylvan.
  • 1.2 Left at SW Skyline Blvd crossing the bridge and riding on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the traffic.
  • 1.3 Cross the highway entrance ramp and SW Humphrey Blvd to continue onto SW Hewett Blvd.
  • 3.0 Left onto SW Patton Rd.
  • 3.1 Right onto SW Talbot Rd.
  • 3.3 Left onto SW Talbot Terrace.
  • 3.4 Right onto SW Greenway Ave.
  • 3.7 Right onto SW Council Crest Dr to ride around the Council Crest summit; exit the park.
  • 4.3 Right to continue on SW Council Crest Dr.
  • 5.0 Left onto SW McDonnell Terrace then left onto SW Fairmount Blvd.
  • 6.3 Right onto SW Talbot Rd then right onto SW Greenway Ave.
  • 6.7 Left onto SW Patton Rd then right onto SW Montgomery Dr.
  • 7.5 Jog left at SW Myrtle St to continue on SW Montgomery Dr, then jog left again at SW 21st Ave to continue on SW Montgomery Dr
  • 8.7 Left onto SW 12th Ave.
  • 9.9 Right onto NW Lovejoy St.
  • 10.2 Left at the traffic light to cross the Broadway Bridge.
  • 10.6 Left onto N Larrabee Ave which becomes N Interstate Ave.
  • 11.3 Right onto N Mississippi Ave which becomes N Albina Ave.
  • 13.0 Left onto N Ainsworth St.
  • 14.2 Right onto N Willamette Blvd. 16.8 Right onto N Carey Blvd. Continue onto the Peninsula Crossing Trail at the corner of N Princeton St.
  • 17.6 Right onto N Fessenden St leaving the Peninsula Crossing Trail.
  • 18.3 Right onto N Woolsey Ave.
  • 19.5 Left onto N Willamette Blvd.
  • 21.0 Left to continue on N Willamette Blvd.
  • 21.7 Right onto N Interstate Ave.
  • 22.2 Left onto N Skidmore St.
  • 22.9 Right onto N Vancouver Ave which becomes N Wheeler Ave after crossing Broadway, and cross the MAX tracks.
  • 24.7 Left onto NE Interstate, cross NE Oregon St with the traffic light and continue onto the sidewalk.
  • 24.8 Right onto the bike path at the green fence to cross the railroad tracks and ride down the switchbacks onto the East Esplanade, cross the Steel Bridge, and ride along the Waterfront Bike Trail.
  • 26.0 Right onto bike path just before the Hawthorne Bridge up to the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk; turn right at the top of the path onto SW Main St.
  • 26.6 Left onto SW Broadway.
  • 27.3 Slight left onto SW Sixth Ave at the traffic light, then right at the next traffic light to continue on SW Sixth Ave.
  • 27.5 Left onto SW Terwilliger Blvd.
  • 28.2 Right onto SW Campus Dr at the entrance to the Oregon Health and Science University campus.
  • 29.0 Continue straight where SW Campus Dr becomes SW Gibbs Rd.
  • 29.3 Left onto SW Marquam Hill Rd.
  • 29.6 Left onto SW Fairmount Blvd.
  • 32.0 Left onto SW Talbot Rd, cross SW Patton Rd onto SW Humphrey Blvd.
  • 33.6 Right onto the sidewalk at Sylvan to cross the highway.
  • 33.7 Right onto the SW Canyon Court bike path, slight right at the bottom of the hill to remain on SW Canyon Court.
  • 34.5 Left onto SW Zoo Rd.
  • 34.8 Left at SW Knights Blvd to return to the TriMet MAX Station.
  • 34.9 End ride.
  • Trail map

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    51.79 km / 32.181 mi

    Total Distance

    660 m / 2,165 ft

    Total Ascent

    664 m / 2,179 ft

    Total Descent

    324 m / 1,064 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: High
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 34.9
    Elevation Gain: 2800
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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