Bike Route Report: NoPo Kelley Point Park Loop (Video)

I had so much fun creating that video on local bike path conditions a few weeks ago, I decided to do it again. I’m calling this series Bike Route Report and it’s a fun way for me to share routes, highlight the good/bad/ugly conditions along them, and offer some background and insights about the infrastructure along the way.

This episode’s route is one that’s near and dear to my heart. It starts at Peninsula Park and does an 18-mile loop up to Kelley Point Park (where the Willamette and Columbia rivers meet north of downtown St. Johns). This is one of the best routes in Portland and it has been a staple for me for many years.

In this video, you’ll learn about and see up close: The protected bike lanes on North Rosa Parks Way, the conditions on N Willamette Blvd as we wait for the big changes coming soon, how to connect to the 40-Mile Loop under the St. Johns Bridge, the protected bike lanes on N Lombard, the dicey intersection and bridge on Columbia Blvd, the multi-use path out to Kelley Point, the massive new car storage lot at Terminal 6, the off-road trails at Smith & Bybee Lakes park, the Columbia Slough Trail, and more.

Here’s the route:

If you’ve got info to share about this route, feel free to leave a comment. And thanks for riding along with me! If you like the video, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can also browse all our past videos.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Aaron
6 months ago

I really liked this video, thanks for making it! The little tips you dropped about the single track by Smith and Bybee, the St. John’s bridge, etc. were great. I moved to NoPo this year and have done this loop maybe a dozen times so far but after watching this video I immediately edited my route to include some of the stuff you pointed out. Just traveling through the main marked cycling routes as a newcomer it’s easy to miss those things!

I also enjoyed the discussion of the infrastructure and what’s to come. I love riding on Rosa Parks and the protected lane there has been key to making my dog feel comfortable riding with me. I have recently started trying to acclimate her to the less-safe feeling N Willamette Blvd and she is definitely scared riding there still but it’s good to know that’ll get a similar treatment to Rosa Parks in a couple years.

Please keep doing these. Not only is it getting out info that’s helping people like me discover some hidden gems in the city but it seems like the bike network has cleaned up a lot this year and people need to know so that they can get back out there and start reclaiming the MUPs for their intended purpose. I would love to see a mini-report on Peninsula Crossing Trail’s condition since they shut it down a couple months ago for improvements. I haven’t felt comfortable crossing through there again yet but it’s one of the best car-free paths in NoPo and I would love to ride it more.

Mark Linehan
Mark Linehan
6 months ago

The way to avoid the “dicey intersection and bridge on Columbia Blvd” is to take North Time Oil Road from the top of the hill on North Lombard. Turn right at the intersection of North Rivergate Road onto the bike path that takes you over a new bridge back to North Columbia Blvd. It’s a much nicer route and not much longer.

Starbreaker
Starbreaker
6 months ago

Thanks for the video! I do this loop about once a month and never knew about that little gravel section by Smith & Bybee Lakes.

Also, I usually continue down past the lakes on Marine Drive but cross to the north side of the street at Portland Road and take that wide MUP with nice views of the boats in the harbor to the Expo center, then cruise up N Expo road and link back up with the Slough trail.

Riding under N Denver Rd there by PIR is always a questionable decision as you never know how many people are living under there or if you can even make it through. It is better now but for about 2 years, I would just cross the street using the beg button.

Going under I-5, as you pointed out, can also be a little dicey as that area can get very inhabited with burned out cars, trash and people. And there is always a lot of questionable activity in that area where the Slough trail meets Vancouver, so be on guard.

I will definitely take the trail through Farragut Park next time.

Jo
Jo
6 months ago

Yes, a go-to ride for me too for sure….for many years.
Like Starbreaker, I too have at times avoided going under N Denver when I’m alone. I also noticed the extra sand and garbage in the slough trail cut through.
I tend to find this loop more enjoyable on weekends due to much less traffic on Marine and all the driveways.
Once you get to Vancouver Ave, it’s easy to connect to the Marine drive path area you documented earlier, riding all the way out to 205 and then head back inland. Starting at my house in NE, I can make my own version of the “40 mile loop” quite easily and even throw in a Rocky Butte lap for a little elevation.

Charley
Charley
6 months ago

I did that route all the time when I lived in N Portland! Two notes:
1. I wish I had known about that dirt road/single track up by Smith and Bybee!
2. If I recall correctly, the Slough path was actually paved when I started riding it. It deteriorated significantly during ththose years, though. Did they scrape off the pavement and gravel it? Awesome, if so.

Aaron
6 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Some sections of the Slough path still have what seems like dilapidated pavement in the center line. I think the pavement on the two sides just ended up disintegrating completely leaving behind two parallel gravel single tracks with an occasional strip of pavement in the middle. I hop onto the middle pavement sometimes when I need a break from the gravel path.

Jackie Wayman
Jackie Wayman
6 months ago

This was an amazing ride! Armchair bike travel….awesome.

TJ
TJ
6 months ago

Good video. Love the slough paths. Since WFH, I ride slough path 4-5 days a week at dawn or dusk in the summer; 3-4 days winter from STJ. Weekday route, I access via crossing Columbia at Portsmouth. When less FRT on weekend, I will start through Pier Park and take lane on Columbia until bike lane at rail bridge (traffic non-existent). Via doubling back, looping Marine Drive levee path, or skipping sections I can ride for 12-19 flat fun fast primarily car free miles with few crossings. Between these paths and Forest park via Springville. I am able to get scalable quickly car free rides in close to home around work, family duties, and weekend ski or mtb trips with kids. A major win for our neighborhoods out here.
+Dear, coyote, water, views, mixed terrain.
-Marine Drive at Portland Rd crossing.
-Columbia at Portsmouth crossing.
-Water treatment trains.
-Campers and cars on path, though much improved. Wave, smile and squeeze by.
-Off-leash dogs, though most owners are cool.

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
6 months ago

One way to avoid the missing bike lane on Willamette between the slough and the Saint Johns bridge it to take a right at Buchanan and head over to the Central Greenway. Take Central until it t-bones into the north end of Pier Park. A left there will take you over to the protected bike lane on Lombard. There are no bike lanes on this alternate route, but the streets are much much quieter. Central also has one diverter that helps block cut-through traffic. It could use a couple more, though.

EP
EP
6 months ago

Great to see this route posted. I used to ride from Kenton to KPP and back several times a week, back in 2008-2009. I definitely miss those after work rides along the slough, it really is a special place. The bridge over to the waste treatment plant makes for an interesting ride back along Columbia to Kenton to mix things up a bit.

Funniest ride out there was in September of 2009 when Hempfest was at KPP. I had no idea it was happening, went for the normal ride and kept seeing people walking along marine drive. Guess the expo center shuttles were infrequent or cost too much, not sure why else you’d walk the 5 miles! Once I got to KPP, there were a thousand people there! I asked a staff member about bike parking, as this was the era where every event seemed to have it, they said “oh, there’s the park bike rack by the bathroom but it’s behind the fencing, backstage.”

I think I saw three other bikes at Hempfest, all locked to trees. Kinda odd that demographic wasn’t into biking.