Cycle Portland, Sightseeing Ride, Hillsboro to Vernonia

The Banks-Vernonia Trail was awarded the 2011 Tourism and Hospitality Industry Award for its natural beauty and accessibility to Portland. The trail is a 21-mile linear state park along a former railroad line between Banks and Vernonia and has quickly become a favorite of local cyclists. Access the trail by beginning the trip with a 13-mile ride through beautiful farm and wine country beginning at the Hatfiled Government Center MAX station in downtown Hillsboro.

Terrain

Paved streets and multi-use pathway.

Traffic

Low-traffic roadways to the trailhead then smooth multi-use path to Vernonia. Expect to see pedestrians, horses, bicycles, skateboarders, and roller-bladers.

Access 

By car, take U.S. 26 west to Exit 62A NW Cornelius Pass Road S, right onto NE Cornell Road, right onto E Main Street; paid parking in garage or on-street parking.

By public transportation, take TriMet MAX Blue line train to the Hatfield Government Center MAX station.

Food and Drink

There is plenty of opportunity to fuel up in Hillsboro at the TriMet MAX station and at other retail establishments. Just before the trailhead the town of Banks offers another opportunity to replenish water and drinks, and again in Vernonia. At the trailhead, there are restrooms and drinking fountains, plus a bike shop that sells and rents bikes in addition to snacks and drinks.

Side Trip

The Banks-to-Vernonia Trail runs through Stub Stewart State Park which offers camping, cabins, and 20 miles of trails for hiking.

 

More Details

The beginning of this trek brings cyclists through rolling farmland and vineyards. The road is rough but paved and crosses several railroad tracks between Hillsboro and Banks. Off in the distance are the foothills of the Coast Mountain Range. There is only one section of road that is along a busy street, CorneliusShefflin Road, but there is a wide bike lane along this section. The first part of the ride ends in the small town of Banks where the trailhead begins. The Banks-to-Vernonia Trail has been in existence for some time.

Cyclists will enjoy crossing the renovated 700-foot long, 80-foot high railroad trestle as well as the 13 wooden bridges that add to the splendor of the ride. The trail bisects Stub Stewart State Park that offers year-round camping in cabins or tents. The park offers miles of hiking trails and it is not uncommon to encounter horses along the trail. The town of Vernonia is directly across from Anderson Park and offers an opportunity to refuel. Anderson Park has a playground, restrooms and drinking fountains.

The one mile loop around Lake Vernonia is just a short distance beyond the park on the right. This man-made lake is a favorite fishing spot. On the return ride after leaving the Tophill Trailhead, cyclists may be surprised to find that they have a long descent where they need hardly pedal. The elevation rises slowly on the way out and offers a welcome glide into the Banks Trailhead before retracing the roads back through farm country to Hillsboro.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Take the Hillsboro TriMet MAX train to the Hatfield Government Center MAX station (end of the line).
  • 0.03 Exit the station and travel west (left) on NW Main St.
  • 0.16 Right on NW Cornell St.
  • 0.6 Left on NW Garibaldi St.
  • 0.9 Right on NW 10th Ave.
  • 1.4 NW 10th turns into NW Padgett Rd at a bend in the road.
  • 2.3 Turn right to stay on NW Padgett Rd.
  • 3.7 Cross NW Hornecker Rd and dogleg left onto NW Leisy Rd. Railroad tracks ahead.
  • 5.6 Left on NW Wren Rd. Railroad tracks ahead.
  • 6.0 Right on NW Cornelius-Schefflin Rd.
  • 8.9 Left on NW Roy Rd. Railroad tracks ahead.
  • 10.9 Left on NW Wilkesboro Rd.
  • 12.1 Right onto Rte 47; pass under the railroad bridge into the town of Banks.
  • 12.1 Turn right to access the Banks-to-Vernonia Trailhead at the corner of NW Seller and NW Banks roads.
  • 19.8 The trail has a slight incline until about the 20 mile mark just before the descent to the Tophill Trailhead; narrow and steep terrain is made easier to navigate by switchbacks in the trail on both sides of the road.
  • 33.1 Follow the trail without diverting until shortly after Anderson Park.
  • 33.94 Turn right .84 miles after Anderson Park to follow the trail around Lake Vernonia which brings you back to the start in a one mile loop. Follow the trail without diverting to the Banks to Vernonia Trailhead.
  • 54.94 Right out of the trailhead parking lot to the traffic light.
  • 56.14 Left onto Rte 47.
  • 58.14 Left onto NW Wilkesboro Rd.
  • 61.04 Right onto NW Roy Rd. Railroad tracks ahead.
  • 63.94 Right onto NW Cornelius-Schefflin Rd.
  • 64.34 Left onto NW Wren Rd. Railroad tracks ahead.
  • 67.24 Cross NW Hornecker Rd and dogleg right onto NW Leisy Rd.
  • 68.64 Turn left to stay on NW Padgett Rd.
  • 69.54 NW Padgett Rd turns into NW 10th at a bend in the road.
  • 70.04 Right on NW 10th Ave.
  • 70.48 Left on NW Garibaldi St.
  • 70.61 Right on NW Cornell St.
  • 70.64 Left on W Main St and return to Hatfield Government Center MAX station.
  • Trail map

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    106.174 km / 65.973 mi

    Total Distance

    740 m / 2,429 ft

    Total Ascent

    740 m / 2,428 ft

    Total Descent

    313 m / 1,027 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: Full day
    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: 70.64
    Elevation Gain: 5390
    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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