Fort Vancouver to Vancouver Lake

Cycle Portland, Road Ride & Kids Friendly Ride, Fort Vancouver to Vancouver Lake

This bike ride brings you through the historic sites of Vancouver to present day deep-water Port Vancouver. Begin by visiting historic Fort Vancouver and the Pearson Air Museum and travel along the street of carefully preserved houses of Officer’s Row. You’ll leave this behind and ride through the modern-day inter-modal area of Port Vancouver and come to the confluence of the Multnomah Channel and Columbia River where oil tankers await entry to port.


Smooth, well-maintained streets with a short section of hard-packed gravel.


Low-traffic streets with most intersections having crossing lights.


By car, take Route I-5 north toward Seattle. After crossing the I-5 Bridge, take the second exit and follow signs to City Center. On-street parking.

By public transportation, from downtown Portland take Bus #6 to Jantzen Beach Transit Center, transfer to Bus #4 Fourth Plain Eastbound to Broadway and Seventh Street.

Food and Drink

There are restrooms and drinking fountains at Esther Short Park, Vancouver Lake, and at the end of Fisherman’s Bar Trail. Food and restaurants can be found in downtown Vancouver.

Side Trips

Visit the parks along the route, the Pearson Air Museum, Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Library, and the railroad yard along Evergreen.


More Details

Begin at Propstra Square in Esther Short Park under the Glockenspiel and bike ride south toward the bridge. You will quickly come to the entrance to Fort Vancouver where you’ll find the carefully maintained Oldest Apple Tree in the northwest. You will bike ride along Officer’s Row under a mature tree canopy that not only provides welcome shade on a hot summer day, but also frames the magnificent houses, one of which was constructed for Ulysses S. Grant.

As you leave the fort area, you will bike ride through downtown Vancouver heading toward Vancouver Lake. This wonderful park has a beach, picnic shelters and is a popular place for boating and kayaking. There are a number of play structures and plenty of open space for a quick game of softball. Leaving the lake, you’ll travel along the Frenchman’s Bar Trail through farmland. On your return trip, stop on the bridge above the railroad yard and you’re sure to see a train or two loaded with goods. Esther Short Park is the perfect place to end this ride. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a picnic, visit the farmers market, or just sit in one of the local cafés with your favorite beverage. 


Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin at Esther Short Park, at the corner of Columbia and E Sixth streets. Ride south under the I-5 Bridge either on the wide street or on the sidewalk.
  • 0.5 Left under railroad bridge at sign for Fort Vancouver National Site. Ride through Fort Vancouver.
  • 1.1 Right at the end of the path onto E Fifth St.
  • 1.2 Left into the park entrance and ride up the hill.
  • 1.6 Left at the stop sign onto Evergreen Blvd and ride along Officer’s Row; ride through roundabout staying on Evergreen.
  • 2.5 Right onto Columbia St.
  • 2.7 Left onto W 15th St which becomes W Mill Plain Blvd and then becomes W Fourth Plain Blvd for a short distance before becoming NW Lower River Rd.
  • 7.4 Right into Vancouver Lake.
  • 8.1 Reverse direction and ride via the same path to return to the park entrance.
  • 8.9 Left to the opposite side of the road.
  • 9.0 Right to ride along the Frenchman’s Bar Trail which parallels NW Lower River Rd.
  • 10.8 Left to enter Frenchman’s Bar via the bike path.
  • 11.3 Reverse direction at the end of the bike path and return to the park entrance.
  • 11.8 Right onto Frenchman’s Bar Trail.
  • 13.7 Right onto NW Lower River Rd to return along the same road to downtown Vancouver.
  • 17.4 After crossing over Thompson Rd, access sidewalk to cross the bridge; railroad tracks below.
  • 18.0 Return to the bike lane in the street along W 15th St.
  • 18.3 Right at the fork onto one-way section of W 15th St.
  • 18.4 Right onto Columbia St.
  • 18.8 Return to corner of Columbia and E Sixth streets. End ride.
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    29.75 km / 18.486 mi

    Total Distance

    94 m / 307 ft

    Total Ascent

    93 m / 305 ft

    Total Descent

    34 m / 111 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 18.8
    Elevation Gain: 306
    First Aid
    Bike hire
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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