Clackamas River Cruise

Length: 38 Miles
Direction: Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 1974 ft
Highest Point: 507 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X23 or equivalent

DirectionsSee full ride directions
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Views of Clackamas RiverNote: While the Oregon City Bridge is under construction, cyclists may need to wait for a shuttle to get them across the Willamette River.

Riding along the Clackamas River is one of my favorite ways to cruise around town. This is a great ride for meandering along, or for a hard training session. Begin the ride near River City Bicycles on the Eastbank Esplanade bike path under the Hawthorne Bridge. Follow the well traveled commuter route through Ladd’s Addition and onto Clinton St. This will take you through the neighborhoods of South Tabor and onto Woodward St, eventually leading to 92nd Ave.

The I-205 bike path has been largely closed south of Division St during 2008 for the construction of more MAX rail lines. If the path is reopened, hop on for this section just east of 92nd Ave heading south. However 92nd has proven to be extremely safe with a bike lane provided for nearly the entire distance.

Sunnyside Rd will send you east towards Damascus and Carver, where you’ll arrive at Clackamas River Dr, once over the river. The river offers peaks and snipets of itself as you ride along for about 6 miles. This will lead to Oregon City, and the end of the Oregon Trail. Stop in at the information center if you wish and snap a photo of the structure. It resembles a circling of the wagons. Oregon City has a number of shops and an espresso cart also if you need a pick-me-up for the way home. Cross over the Willamette and take a look at the locks to your left.

After passing through Lake Oswego, the Tryon Creek path awaits, as well as a water stop at the information center if you need it. This path is truly the nicest in the city. Heading north on it does mean you will largely be climbing, but the distractions of the forest will keep you motivated.

Hop onto Terwilliger Blvd for the trip into downtown. Terwilliger leads to 6th Ave. There are some MAX rail lines to keep an eye out for. Always cross tracks perpendicular to keep safe. Hop onto the Hawthorne Bridge back to the Esplanade and your done!

Enormous propeller on the Eastbank EsplanadeKeep an eye out for this fella during business hoursThe Locks of Willamette FallsTryon Creek Trail is the nicest in the city

6 Responses to “Clackamas River Cruise”

  1. Lukin Says:

    Great ride. solid directions. The stretch on sunnyside rd into happy valley contains good clear paths but is “strip mall” boring. Otherwise incredible ride. The turn off on “Market” didn’t have a road sign but was easy to figure out. The ride along the river was fantastic. I made the HUGE mistake of skipping the tryon creek end and went 43 into Portland. Inconsistent shoulder, sometimes down to a few inches. super dangerous w/the curves. Thanks for taking the time to put these together!

  2. Dave Says:

    The Clackamas River Road portion of this is horrible for bike safety, although its a gorgeous stretch of country road. I did it today starting at Oregon City, in and out half hour each way. Thank God i didn’t bring my 12 year old – this is NOT FOR KIDS!!! You might have been on such a road – no real shoulder at all, and cars [ mostly SUV and giant trucks] zooming by, plenty of blind turns and nowhere to go if cars come both directions, etc. i found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. i crossed the road frequently to take advantage of any bit of shoulder to escape to in case cars passed in both directions. the paved part of shoulder was 0 to 5 inches wide.
    the unpaved part varied, but squeezed down to 12 inches by some telephone poles, mailboxes, and guardrails. most of it had some small shoulder, but lots of shoulder was super skinny and quickly dove to deep ditches, or in some places a wrong move would send you hurtling down 30 to 80 feet of river cliff onto rocks. on the one good downhill, i couldn’t enjoy it bcs three vehicles were behind me wanting to go faster.
    if you don’t mind skinny country roads, or coming to a stop on a sloping narrow shoulder , then maybe this ride is great. for me, i won’t be back, on a bike.

  3. Jacob Says:

    hi Dave,

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy the route. I’m unclear if you were crossing the road and riding on the left side? I wouldn’t recommend riding into oncoming traffic in pursuit of a small shoulder however. Stick with the rules of the road. Personally I love the ride. The vast majority of rides in this series do not contain a shoulder or bike lane. They are country roads. So you do have to pick what is within your comfort zone. I’d suggest using the satellite view when looking at the maps and possibly determine what a road is like before trying it out.

  4. Jeff Says:

    I’ve really come to enjoy this ride. I haven’t found it to be bad at all. Motorists haven’t been an issue and while yes there are big trucks, etc… they have all passed safely and I’ve not felt in danger at anytime.

    I haven’t wanted to wait for the shuttle while the Oregon City is under construction, so I’ve opted to cross on the 99 bridge and ride that back into town. You do need to be aware as not all motorists pay attention to bikes on this stretch and the road is a little messy, but it’s a nice alternative route.

  5. Randy Says:

    Totally agree with Dave. I’m a pretty strong rider, and did a version of this yesterday leaving from Sellwood. The amount of traffic and the size of the trucks on a Saturday morning traveling on Clackamas River Road does not make for a pleasant ride. There was a group of cyclists who had taken the lane traveling West while I was going East which seems totally prudent. As a group it might be OK, but for a solo cyclist with the amount of traffic and zero shoulder I’ll ride elsewhere.

  6. Bec Says:

    I loved this ride! May have been my favorite RTR ride yet. I am still in the early stages of training and this ride was challenging yet enjoyable. Ended up being 41 miles and change, taking 3:10 with semi-frequent stops for directions and photos. I was a bit wary given some previous reviews, but I simply brought my tail light along, and I found the Clackamas River stretch to be beautiful and quite serene in the middle of a Memorial Day weekend Saturday. Some better shoulder would be welcome, but I would do this ride again before I would do Skyline, for example (which I do find to be scary just from driving and which I have not yet attempted on a bike).
    Just a heads up, for the Terwilliger trail, the path starts via sidewalk on the WRONG side of the street, so if you see a left turn lane on State St. that allows access to the sidewalk a bit ahead of the Terwilliger turn, take it.

    As you go through the woods on a cloudy day, look out for snails.

    And when you finally come out onto Boones Ferry Rd, I like to take a slight left so that you actually end up on Boones Ferry at the traffic light, and that way you can just take the light and make a left onto Terwilliger, pretty easy peasy.

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