Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 7th, 2019 at 12:15 pm
At the end of last month the Portland-based nonprofit Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA) announced a groundbreaking partnership with Weyerhaeuser Company that opened up 3,100 acres of off-road riding just 14 miles from downtown. While still raw and relatively undeveloped, the Rocky Point Recreation Area is the best and most expansive place for mountain biking and gravel grinding that doesn’t require an hour-plus drive for Portland residents.
Since we posted our story at the end of July, NWTA’s lease has become effective and the group has released more information about how to access the area. In order to start riding and exploring out at Rocky Point, here’s what you need to know:
You must be a NWTA member in good standing. Membership plans start at $39 per year. You can join online here.
Once you’re a member, you and anyone else associated with your membership (like kids or spouses) need to sign a release of liability waiver.
Once you’ve got a membership and a signed waiver on file, you’ll need to get an ID band for your bike. You can pick those up at NWTA monthly meetings or at Fat Tire Farm (2714 NW Thurman St) or Cyclepath (2436 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) bike shops. Why is this ID band necessary? “This is primarily a self-enforcement mechanism,” NWTA writes in a FAQ. “If someone is riding at Rocky Point without an ID band, they are either trespassing and putting your privilege at risk.”
Before heading out, be sure to check the current access status to make sure the area is open for public use (Weyerhaeuser has the right to close the site for forestry operations, high fire risk, and so on). (Also read the official terms and conditions of the lease while you’re at it.)
The parcel itself is about 5 miles long north-to-south. The closest access points are off NW Skyline Blvd about 1.3 miles north of the Logie Trail Road intersection (at what’s known as Cable Trail Trailhead on Google Maps). The main entrance as per NWTA is on NW Rocky Point Road about a mile up the hill from Highway 30 (map)
Depending on the rider, it could take anywhere from an hour or two to get to the parcel by bike. Highway 30 is the flattest and most direct connection; but it’s also the loudest and most stressful. While there’s good reason it’s called “Dirty 30,” the highway isn’t that bad once you get north of Sauvie Island. Just be prepared for sections of narrow and debris-strewn shoulders. If you have the legs and the time, you can avoid Hwy 30 and take Skyline all the way, then drop down Rocky Point Road or pop into via any one of the Weyerhaeuser gates along the way.
Public transit is an option. Service is limited, but it’s doable.
Put your bike on a line 16 TriMet bus, get off at Sauvie Island, and you’ll be only about 7.5 miles away from the riding area. Or you could try the Columbia County “CC” Rider line 1. This is part of the NW Connector regional transit service with service between Portland and St. Helens. These buses will carry your bike and there’s a Hwy 30/Havlik Drive stop that puts you just a few miles north of the Rocky Point Road entrance. The bus leaves SW Salmon between 5th and 6th nine times between 5:43 am and 6:39 pm and gets you to the Havlik stop in about a half-hour. Unfortunately, service is only available on weekdays!
Keep in mind there aren’t any parking lots to access this site. You can get directions to the main entrance on Rocky Point Road (which is just a gravel turnout) by entering these coordinates into your GPS machine: 45.696252, -122.882228. View the official map and look for parking at turnouts near the yellow diamonds (gates)
I hope this helps encourage you to get out there and ride!
NWTA says a more detailed map of the bike trails and roads will be released soon. If you have any questions or concerns, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And stay tuned. I plan to head out for an exploration and will report back ASAP.
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