Willamette Bridges Tour

Cycle Portland, Road & Kids Friendly Ride, Willamette Bridges Tour

Portland is a city of bridges with 10 crossing the Willamette River. Each provides beautiful vistas of the city and points beyond. This ride will bring you over the two most distant bridges – the St. Johns and the Sellwood bridges. Along the way plan to enjoy several parks, popular bike paths, and see the waterfront from both sides of the river.

Terrain

Smooth, well-maintained street and paths.

Traffic

Low-traffic streets and bike paths.

Access

By car, from Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, travel east on SW Sixth Avenue. This road will put you directly in front of Union Station where the ride begins. On-street parking.

By public transportation, take the TriMet MAX Green line toward Clackamas Town Center to the corner of NW Sixth Avenue and NW Hoyt Street. Easily accessible by foot from Pioneer Courthouse Square by walking down SW Sixth Avenue (becomes NW Sixth Avenue after crossing Burnside Street).

Food and Drink

There are restrooms and drinking fountains at Union Station, the East Esplanade near the Hawthorne Bridge, along Waterfront Park, and again at Willamette Park.

Side Trips

Ride the OHSU tram up Marquam Hill; ride the full length of the Springwater Corridor; visit Saturday Market, the University of Portland, and the downtown areas – quaint downtown St. Johns, colorful Sellwood Center, and Portland City Center

 

More Details

 Beginning at renovated Union Station, travel along NW Naito Parkway where Saturday Market is in full swing on weekends. The traffic will be light as you ride the bike lane to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Plan to encounter pedicabs, children splashing in the fountain, and lots of waterfront visitors. Along the south-side bike path there are many interesting storefronts. Ride under the Oregon Health and Science University tram that travels up Marquam Hill. There are a couple of tricky turns on the south side – one where the bike path ends at a parking lot and one after leaving Willamette Park.

Look for the Willamette Greenway Trail signs and you can’t go wrong. When in doubt, follow the signs to Sellwood. Just beyond the park, ride along the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic. At the end of this narrow section, you will take the lower road half-way down the hill to access the narrow and steep switchbacks that bring you to the Sellwood Bridge. Ride or walk your bike on the sidewalk. There is a sign indicating that bikes are in the roadway, but most people ride or walk on the sidewalk. The view of Portland from the Sellwood Bridge is magnificent. After crossing the bridge, ride back toward Portland via Springwater Corridor along the east side of the river to the Steel Bridge.

Here you will leave the river for a while to ride north to St. Johns where you’ll cross the most elegant bridge in Portland – the St. Johns Bridge – and have another sweeping view of the city. Return to Portland through the northwest quadrant of the city. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Left out of Union Station onto SW Fifth Ave toward downtown Portland.
  • 0.2 Left onto NW Everett St.
  • 0.5 Right onto NW Naito Parkway along waterfront.
  • 1.2 Left at SW Salmon St into Waterfront Park.
  • 1.6 Right onto SW Harbor Way cul-de-sac.
  • 1.7 Left onto SW Montgomery St; at circle continue to river via sidewalk.
  • 2.1 At dead-end, retrace steps short distance; left onto path.
  • 2.2 Right at SW River Parkway, then left onto SW Moody Ave.
  • 3.2 Continue straight onto path at The Willamette Shore Trolley Bancroft St station.
  • 3.4 Bike path ends; left along narrow sidewalk to riverfront; right on bike path.
  • 4.6 Enter Willamette Park.
  • 5.1 Exit park via SW Miles Pl.
  • 5.3 Right at end of path, cross tracks up to road.
  • 5.4 Left on sidewalk toward Sellwood.
  • 5.6 Take lower road; half way down access trail to cross bridge. Use sidewalk in opposite direction to traffic.
  • 6.0 Left onto SE Grand; left onto SE Spokane St; immediate right onto Springwater Corridor.
  • 9.1 Springwater Corridor bike path ends; straight along SE Fourth Ave.
  • 9.2 Left onto SE Caruthers St to access Eastbank Esplanade at cul de sac.
  • 11.0 Right before Steel Bridge up switchbacks; left along the sidewalk to traffic light; cross diagonally onto NE Lloyd Blvd.
  • 11.3 Right onto NE Wheeler Ave following green bike lanes.
  • 11.5 Right onto NE Williams Ave.
  • 13.0 Left onto NE Skidmore St.
  • 13.9 Right onto N Concord St to access corkscrew bike/pedestrian crossway, and right upon exit to continue on N Concord.
  • 14.5 Left onto N Killingworth St.
  • 15.1 Right onto N Willamette Blvd; left through bike access to continue on N Willamette Blvd along bluff.
  • 19.0 Right onto N Philadelphia St to cross St. Johns Bridge via sidewalk.
  • 19.8 Left onto NW Bridge Ave.
  • 20.2 Continue straight onto St. Helens Rd.
  • 24.1 Right onto NW Ward Way St.
  • 24.2 Left on NW Vaughn St.
  • 24.7 Right onto NW 24th Ave.
  • 24.9 Left onto NW Raleigh St.
  • 25.4 Right onto NW 19th Ave.
  • 25.5 Left onto NW Overton St.
  • 26.0 Right onto NW Ninth Ave.
  • 26.3 Left onto NW Hoyt St.
  • 26.5 Left onto NW Sixth Ave.
  • 26.6 Return to Union Station. End ride.
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    40.789 km / 25.345 mi

    Total Distance

    276 m / 905 ft

    Total Ascent

    276 m / 906 ft

    Total Descent

    63 m / 207 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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: 26.6
    Elevation Gain: 1078
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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