Finding MTB fun in Forest Park

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

No joke.

Is it possible to have fun on a mountain bike in Forest Park? Ask five different people and you’re likely to get five different answers. In the end, I think it depends on what you consider fun.

On Sunday, I ventured out to discover some new (to me) roads and found that the park — despite having only 1/3 mile of singletrack open to bicycles — still has something to offer knobby-tired visitors.

I first considered exploring Forest Park’s northern reach nearly three years ago. Back in February 2010, I joined a park ranger to survey damage of an unauthorized bike trail that had been carved south of where BPA Road intersects with Newton. On Sunday, I returned to that locked gate, which is right off Highway 30 less than a mile north of Linnton. My plan was to stay on BPA Road and connect up to Skyline Rd about 1,000 feet and 2 and 1/2 miles up.

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Getting to know Otto Miller Road – UPDATED

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
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It was nice to finally meet Otto Miller.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

On Saturday I finally explored Otto Miller Road. I say finally, because I’ve heard about it for years; but I just haven’t gotten out to do it. Now that I’m finally riding a bit more and have some legs under me, I figured it was time to find this legendary road and give it a try. And I’m glad I did.

Before I share any more, I should thank Rapha — the awesome bike apparel/lifestyle company based in the UK with its North American headquarters right here in Portland. The first time I heard about Otto Miller was (I think) on a tag inside one of their jerseys. I figured it was some legendary European rider. It wasn’t until a few months later I realized it was actually a road. And they simply loved riding on it.

About 20 miles north of Portland on Highway 30, just as you enter Scappoose, you come to Dutch Canyon Road. Take that about 5 miles west and you’ll find Otto Miller Road. It’s a gravel road that climbs southward for about 3 miles, with a few extra miles of rollers before you make your way back up to the southern tip of NW Skyline.

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