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Two chances to get sneak peek at new Gorge bike path

Posted by on September 4th, 2013 at 11:43 am

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-53
The new bridge over McCord Creek
is a highlight of the State Trail.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced that a newly paved section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will officially open to the public on October 31st. But there are two ways you can get a sneak preview and earn bragging rights as one of the first people to ever ride across this exciting new path segment.

ODOT and the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department are hosting a special dedication ceremony for the new section of path on September 14th. The event is part of three days of “Historic Highway Revived” festivities based in the small town of Cascade Locks. Why Cascade Locks? Well, the small town of about 1,150 people is about to see a bicycle tourism boom. Once the State Trail officially opens, people will be able to ride from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without making one pedal stroke on the busy, noisy, and dangerous shoulder of Interstate 84. It’s 27 miles of cycling bliss on winding, tree-covered, scenic roads — many miles of which are completely carfree.

Last month, a select group of lawmakers, politicians, and advocates got a sneak peek at the new, 1.6 mile section of path between John B. Yeon State Park and Moffett Creek that makes this exciting new connection possible.

The dedication ceremony is at 11:00 am on Saturday (9/14) at the McCord Creek Bridge. For more info check out HighwayRevived.com.

If the pomp and circumstance of an official ceremony isn’t your cup of tea, another option is the Cascade to Crown Bike Ride on Sunday, September 15th. ODOT says they’ll keep the path open as a special nod to that ride, but will close it again and continue construction activity through October.

We can’t wait for this path to be open for good. The ability to ride from Portland, out to Marine Drive, east to Troutdale, and then all the way to Cascade Locks without riding on I-84, is a major milestone for bicycling in our region.

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  • Ethan September 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

    How much of the route (if any) will be on the narrow portions of the Old Historic Highway? The lack of shoulders west of Mult Falls, combined with some motorhomes and other tourist traffic, could deter some riders.

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    • dave September 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      It deters this rider, and I consider myself pretty “strong and confident” or whatever the jargon is. I’ll ride those Barbur bridges a 100 times before I go past Crown Point on the old highway. I might do it one way on a quite day, but the prospect of climbing back up those narrow sections while Johnny Porsche rides my ass – no thanks.

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      • Sunny September 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        Are there any sharrows on this portion? If there aren’t then there should be, if only to remind drivers to slow down. Maybe they should be pennyfarthing sharrows to go along with the historic nature of the highway.

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  • Alain September 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

    This looks wonderful. Look forward to riding it.

    I am ready for a similar trail to Mt Hood, and the proposed trail to Tillamook.

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  • kittens September 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Beautiful bridge.

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  • Patrick September 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    From Portland to Cascade Locks NO portion of the route is on an interstate anymore. BTW you can ride the route NOW (I rode it at the end of June) if you pass through the construction after 5 or on a weekend. There was some gravel and I had to walk the bike over one gravelly portion but it is VERY nice.

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  • Psyfalcon September 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Is there a map? I’m still getting confused by whats Old Highway, existing trail, new trail, and interstate.

    We’ll be interstate free out to Cascade Locks, but there are trails + interstate out to the Dalles?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Maps are here… But here’s an easy guide: The Interstate has tons of cars and big trucks going 70+ mph. The old highway is narrow, quaint, scenic, and has slower and fewer cars and trucks. The old trail is bumpy. The new trail is smooth.

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      • Champs September 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

        That’s a big 404 for anything resembling a map of HCRH *or* Rick Astely.

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    • Jessica Horning September 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/columbiagorgebikemap.pdf

      ODOT is working on a revised bike map for the Gorge, since so much has changed for cycling in the area since this pamphlet was published.

      I used this cue sheet from PBOT’s website the first time I rode from Portland to Hood River and it was easy to follow: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=322056

      I will warn you, if you continue from Cascade Locks to Hood River you still have to ride on the shoulder of I-84 in 2 sections. MP 51 to MP 54 around Shellrock Mountain is particularly scary. Thankfully, we’ve got plans to build a trail to close that gap next!

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      • Todd Boulanger September 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        Yay! ODOT!

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  • Jordan September 4, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    We are thinking about riding to Cascade Locks on the weekend of Sept 20th and 22. Will the trail be passable then?

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    • Joseph E September 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      It looks like it will be under construction. Probably no construction work on the weekend, but there may be fences up or construction equipment in the way on the trail.

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  • GlowBoy September 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I too am a little concerned about conflicts on some of the narrow twisty roads, but I’m excited about this new path. This means that I will, for the first time, be willing to ride to the Gorge without using a car. Can’t wait.

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    • A.K. September 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Anecdotes and all that, but in all the times I’ve ridden to the Women’s Forum, Larch Mountain, or Multnomah falls from my place in SE, I never had anything bad happen on the historic highway.

      One or two cars have passed me a little close, but that is the only bad thing I can recall. Most people pass with plenty of room, and I generally find the traffic level to be reasonable even on nice days.

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      • Sunny September 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        Exactly, all the pushy people take 84 while the kinder, gentler folks take the scenic route. Then there’s the elderly in giant RV’s who are just plain unawares or racer boys trying to stick a drift.

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      • Don J September 5, 2013 at 7:05 am

        I agree. Having ridden over that route one way on another for the last 20+ years, I’ve never had a problem with cars even on the narrowest spots. Having logged 1000′s of Km’s out in that area, it’s way more likely to have negative interactions on Marine Drive (if not on the MUP) or between Corbett and Sandy through the Bull Run watershed.

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  • Dabby September 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    While in Cascade Locks take your Mt. Bikes and your family to the EASY Climb Trails located on the east end of town.
    This trail is proven Skoot-able by the gravity/age challenged.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cascade-Locks-Mountain-Bike-Trail/110542775688713

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  • Todd Boulanger September 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I got to ride the new trail last month and it was a big improvement! It removed a very nasty on highway section. (Though I do generally prefer to ride flat interstate shoulders vs. less trafficed routes with lots of elevation changes.)

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