Cycle Portland, Sightseeing & Road Ride, Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls

There are so many wonderful sights along this bike ride that it is difficult to select just one to highlight. The roads are rough and narrow, and on the return trip between Multnomah Falls and the Crown Point, there are steep drop offs along the road often with no guard rail or fence. The spectacular Oregon woods, incredible waterfalls, and sweeping vistas of the Columbia River Gorge make this bike ride a must.

Traffic

Light traffic along the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Terrain

Varying road quality with steep drop offs and few guard rails on the return trip. This ride is recommended for experienced cyclists who are steady on their bicycles.

Access

By car, I-84E/US 30-E take exit 18 toward Lewis and Clark State Park/Oxbow Regional Park; left onto Crown Point Highway, first right onto E Historic Columbia River Highway, Glenn Otto Park in on the right. Parking available.

By public transportation, take the TriMet MAX Red line east to 82nd. Board Bus #77 Broadway/Halsey to Troutdale to Glenn Otto Community Park.

Food and Drink

There are stores along the ride. At Multnomah Falls there is a gift shop and food vendors. Drinking fountains and restrooms are located at Glenn Otto Community Park, Crown Point Vista House, Bridal Veil Falls, and Multnomah Falls.

Side Trip

There are numerous opportunities to hike along the Columbia River. A ride up Larch Mountain is a good 14-mile training ride for hearty souls. Historic downtown Troutdale has several museums and unique shops. Both Oxbow and Dabney are parks worth visiting on a return trip.

 

More Details

The first landmark is Women’s Forum with a sweeping vista of the Columbia River Gorge. The founding members of the Women’s Forum saved this area from private development and eventually donated it to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The numerous visitors to this location should be eternally grateful for their efforts. Crown Point is next, where the octagonal Vista House is located 733 feet above the Columbia River. Continue your descent on the road that drops behind the observatory. From here the road becomes more rural and traverses through the National Forest.

Next is Latourell Falls with a 224 foot plunge over the columnar basalt. Even on the hottest days of summer the short hike down the trail to Latourell Falls provides cool shade and damp spray. Shepherd’s Dell is next, but is best observed from the state park of the same name. This series of waterfalls is nestled in the woods where the rock formations curve to create several smaller waterfalls. Following is Bridal Veil Falls, which are best observed on the return ride as they descend from the creek that flows under the roadway. These falls are my favorite because they seem as delicate as the lace of a veil, thus the name. If you are going to visit these falls, you will want to lock your bike at the parking lot and walk down. Be careful though, the walkway is gravel and steep in places.

The furthest point of the ride is at Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon. Underground springs from Larch Mountain are the year round source of this magnificent waterfall. There is a popular hike up to the bridge that crosses in front of the falls. And for ambitious visitors, the trail continues up to Larch Mountain where you can see the falls from the top of the ridge. On the return bike ride, be careful of the narrow roads without shoulders. There are some sections where there are no guard rails or barriers protecting you from a precipitous drop off the side of the road. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin just beyond downtown historic Troutdale at Glenn Otto Community Park where there is a parking lot. Head southeast across the bridge over the Sandy River.
  • 0.2 Right onto E Historic Columbia River Hwy/U.S. 30.
  • 3.0 There are drinking fountains and restrooms at Dabney State Park on the right.
  • 4.5 Turn left onto E Crown Point Hwy/E Historic Columbia River Hwy just beyond the center of Springdale; SE Hurlburt Rd is the cross street. It is busy and cyclists should take care when crossing this intersection to stay on the highway.
  • 5.3 Slight left at SE Smith Rd to stay on E Crown Point Hwy/E Historic Columbia River Hwy.
  • 8.5 Women’s Forum is on the left side of the road; best to view the gorge from this location on the return trip.
  • 9.0 Larch Mountain Rd veers to the right. Stay on E Crown Point Hwy/E Historic Columbia River Hwy and descend the hill to Crown Point where the Vista House is located. Enjoy the sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge.
  • 12.0 At the end of the winding hill is a small bridge that crosses over the stream created by the Latourell Falls. Parking is available here.
  • 14.3 Next are the Bridal Veil Falls. The park is located on the left side of the road just before the falls. This is best viewed on the return trip.
  • 17.2 Wahkeena Falls and lake.
  • 18.0 Descend the last short hill to glide into Multnomah Falls. Points of interest here include the falls, the hiking trail up to the bridge across the falls, and the lodge where there are restrooms, snacks, a gift shop, and the visitor center.
  • 21.7 Bridal Veil Falls is on the right. You will come to the falls before the parking area.
  • 23.1 Shepherds Dell State Park has many hiking trails to explore on your return trip.
  • 24.0 Pass by Latourell Falls just before you get ready to ascend the hill up to Crown Point and the Vista House.
  • 27.5 Women’s Forum is on your right as you descend the hill out of Crown Point. The views here of the Columbia River Gorge are magnificent.
  • 35.9 The ride down the hill to the starting point is a wonderful descent. Be sure to be careful of debris on the side of the road and use your brakes often so that your speed does not put you in a dangerous situation. End of ride.
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    Back

    57.04 km / 35.443 mi

    Total Distance

    780 m / 2,558 ft

    Total Ascent

    780 m / 2,558 ft

    Total Descent

    273 m / 897 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Advanced (Black)
    Ride Duration: 1/2 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: 35.9
    Elevation Gain: 2714
    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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