We just heard from the Portland Water Bureau that a construction project on NW Saltzman Road means the lower trailhead will be close to all users — including bicycle riders — from April 3rd through June 2nd. Fortunately the closure is only in effect during weekdays between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm while crews are in the area. The project will construct and replace 1,570 feet of water main pipe on the road.
This access point into Forest Park off Highway 30 is vital. It’s relatively uncrowded and unlike most other fire roads in the park, Saltzman has a nice and gentle grade up to Leif Erikson Drive. It also provides a safe and carfree alternative to getting up and over the West Hills. In the past I’ve led groups of families on Saltzman en route to overnighters in Vernonia.
Saltzman begins as a paved road and then goes past a handful of houses before coming to the gate and trailhead. Everyone who enters the park at this location to walk, hike, or run, drives to the gate and parks on a dirt shoulder.
With so much pent-up enthusiasm for riding after a wet winter, losing this access point — even for limited hours — will be a real bummer. We’ve asked the project team if there’s any possible way a narrow path for bicycle users could remain open during the project. We’ll update this post when we hear back.