Cycle Portland, Road Ride, Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island is a rural sanctuary just north of downtown Portland. It is a favorite weekend bike ride of cyclists because of the flat, low-traffic roads. The island is predominantly farmland, and the interior is home to flocks of migrating birds. Beyond the paved roads on the north side of the island are several beaches. Be sure to bring bike repair equipment as there are no bike shops (and no gas stations) on the island.
Primarily paved roadways. The roads become rougher in Columbia County on the outer end of the island. At the end of the paved roadways there are dirt roads that can be navigated by mountain bike.
Minimal motor vehicles; some farm vehicles.
By car, take US 30 west toward St. Helens. Turn right onto Sauvie Island Road/NW Sauvie Island Bridge. Parking in a lot at the foot of the bridge.
By public transportation, take Bus #17 toward St. Johns.
Food and Drink
There are several places to stop along the route at convenience stores and cafés, but they are a bit of a distance from each other. Be sure to have plenty of water and some snacks with you.
Forest Park, St. Johns neighborhood.
This ride will take you on almost all of the paved roads on the island. The route on the northern side of the island takes you along the Columbia River where you’ll ride next to the dike. The southern side of the island travels along the Multnomah Channel where you’ll ride along the top of the dike and see houseboat communities on one side and farms on the other. The Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is a bird watcher’s paradise. The wetlands are wintering grounds for 1.3 million migrating ducks and geese.
About 50 bald eagles find the island to be their idyllic winter nesting spot and can be seen from November to February. If you are lucky, you may see some of the nesting osprey that have built their large nests atop several of the telephone poles. Be sure to take some time to stop and access one of the elevated structures where you can read some history about the island or take a walk to the interior of the island along unpaved pathways. Fishing, boating, sun-bathing, and cycling bring many people to the island of approximately 2,000 yearround residents.
About four miles beyond the end of NW Reeder Road there are beaches, one of which is a popular clothing-optional beach. The most colorful time to ride on the island is in the summer and early fall, but the island has good cycling year-round. The only time I avoid this ride is in mid-winter when the head winds can be quite strong. There are farms and nurseries, sheep and cattle ranches. Several of the commercial farms allow pickyour-own blueberry and strawberry fields. In the fall, Sauvie Island is a great place for a Sunday ride to pick the perfect pumpkin.
There are many local bike stores offering rentals and guided tours, with some suggestions at: https://www.cyclelifehq.com/en/destinations/usa/oregon/portland
61.1 km / 37.966 mi
97 m / 317 ft
100 m / 327 ft
16 m / 52 ft