Family Biking: Join Kidical Mass for a weekend camping trip to Oxbow Park

Kidical Mass PDX rides to camp, 2014.
(Photo: Andy Schmidt)

Who doesn’t love a last-minute weekend adventure? We’ve got a few spots left for our annual Kidical Mass PDX family group camping trip this weekend and we’d love to have you come along. There are even still some scholarships available (email kmasspdx[at]gmail[dot]com for scholarship information). Keep reading for all the details!

Kidical Mass PDX lunch stop at Gresham Main City Park, 2013.
(Photo: Andy Schmidt)

It’s happening this weekend. Here’s the gist from Kidical Mass PDX:

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

We’ll leave from Woodstock Park (at the play structure by SE 47th Ave and SE Harold St) in Southeast Portland at 10am Saturday morning and ride approximately 20 miles (picnic lunch stop halfway in Gresham’s Main City Park) to beautiful Oxbow Regional Park, where we’ll camp, swim, and sit around by the fire. The ride will be at a leisurely pace suited to family biking, and will mostly be on off road trails and quiet country roads.

We’ll ride back together the next day. There’s a big hill coming out of Oxbow, and we will have a truck and trailer to pull bikes and gear up the hill. There will also be several carseats installed in the truck, so we can haul families as well.

Each site is $20, and please bring cash to give to the ride leader day of. Please bring extra for firewood while we camp.

Oxbow Park play structure.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

The campground

I took a day trip out to Oxbow in March and found it to be spectacular! It’s enormous and has everything one could want when camping with kids: play structure, visitor center, lots of paths, restrooms, a refreshing river, a paper kids’ activity guide, and trees galore. But note: no pets or alcohol allowed.


The route

Why do campgrounds always involve a big hill?! I used my road bike for my test run and needed to stop and rest early in the climb back up the hill. Some families will probably bike the hill in the morning, but for those who don’t want to we’ll have vehicle support. I think I’ll personally send my reasonable kid and all the gear up in the truck and pedal up with my more adventurous kid.

Other than the pesky hill, our only other tricky spot is an uncontrolled crossing of Highway 26 at mile 14.5 (I’ve got it marked with a caution icon on our route map) which might take a long time while waiting for a break in traffic. Much of the trip is along the Springwater Corridor Trail and the country roads are quiet ones.

Most of us will bring all our food from home, stopping for a picnic lunch in Gresham’s Main City Park halfway along. However, there’s a bagel place close to Main City Park and for bagel needs even before reaching Gresham, we’ll pass by Cartlandia three miles into our trip. And at the other end of the ride, Weece’s Market is three miles before Oxbow Park. It’s small, but it’ll do the trick!

Camping tips
Next year we’ll be organized enough to finally do that family bike camping workshop/meetup we wanted to organize last year, but this year will be the usual: make new friends on the day of the trip, remember how to use our camping gear since it’s our only trip of the year, and share snacks, hot water, books, and toys with our new friends. Check out my packing list and family bike camping tips on my Family Ride blog.

If you’re able to join us this weekend, check out the details below:

KMPDX Camping Trip 2019
Saturday, June 22 10:00 a.m. – Sunday, June 23
Meet at Woodstock Park Playground
Camp at Oxbow Regional Park in Gresham, OR
Facebook event page
Eventbrite registration page **Registration required
Route on Ride with GPS

Thanks for reading. Have you been bike camping? With kids? At Oxbow Park? Please share your advice!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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Madi Carlson

Madi Carlson

Madi Carlson (@familyride on Twitter) wrote our Family Biking column from February 2018 to November 2019. She's the author of Urban Cycling: How to Get to Work, Save Money, and Use Your Bike for City Living (Mountaineers Books). In her former home of Seattle, Madi was the Board President of Familybike Seattle, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting bicycling as a means for moving towards sustainable lifestyles and communities. She founded Critical Lass Seattle, an easy social group ride for new and experienced bicyclists who identify as women and was the Director of Seattle's Kidical Mass organization, a monthly ride for families. While she primarily bikes for transportation, Madi also likes racing cyclocross, all-women alleycats, and the Disaster Relief Trials. She has been profiled in the Associated Press, Outdoors NW magazine, CoolMom, and ParentMap, and she contributed to Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue.

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Marshall Habermann-Guthrie
Marshall Habermann-Guthrie
5 years ago

This is awesome. My child is only 6 months and I’m south by Salem, but would totally do something like this in the future. At the least, I may have to borrow the idea for my local folks. Have fun everyone.

5 years ago

As an added bonus, Metro has opened a couple of new nature play areas (in addition to the nature play inherent to camping) —

ghost of John Tilton Hack
ghost of John Tilton Hack
5 years ago

“Why do campgrounds always involve a big hill?!”

Can’t account for all of them, but the ones near a river are usually gonna be in a valley! 😉
Water flows downhill after all. That’s why Matt Foley’s van is always “down” by the river.

This is Fluvial Geomorphology Nerd, over and out.

5 years ago

So cool, wish I could make it! Oxbow is a great park. My buddies and I sometimes ride there to train on that hill. It used to have a huge pothole in the middle of the road near the bottom of the hill (the steepest bit). I think they’ve filled it in now, but it was hard to see at 5:30am. Couple guys lost water bottles after hitting it and one friend almost came off completely.

There are some nice back roads to get there from Gresham, but you’d have to get *through* Gresham first, so not sure if that would be any less stressful than crossing 26 @Stone Rd. If Orient was nicer to ride on, getting off the Springwater where it goes under Hogan/242nd and then taking Palmquist over to Orient wouldn’t be too bad, then you could hop onto Dodge Park Blvd from there. Probably shorten the trip a little too. Anyways, hope it’s a great time!

Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
5 years ago

“Quiet country roads.” Are any of those still remaining, or are they simply a bit less congested than Portland’s roads?

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
5 years ago

Have lots of Bike FUN! And make some bike camping memories. used to have a lot of posts on this park (freq. destination).

Jeff Bernards
Jeff Bernards
4 years ago

I did the first Oxbow camp out on Pedalpaloozas original Bike Summer 2002. That followed with 11 Oxbow camp outs. Call Sue at metro to get the private site along the rive, tell them your part of Jeffsbike buddies. Go Luck, Oxbow is a treasure.