Bridge of the Gods

Length: 89 Miles
Direction: Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 4400 ft
Highest Point: 863 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25 or equivalent

DirectionsSee full ride directions
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The original Bridge of the Gods was created during the eighteenth century by the Bonneville Slide, a major landslide which damned the Columbia River. The river eventually removed the slide, however this event is remembered by the Native Americans as the Bridge of the Gods. It is now the name of the bridge that crosses the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. And it is one of the most spectacular rides you will ever do. I’ve raced in numerous countries all over the world and nearly every state in the U.S. However this ride to me is the epitome of cycling. I cannot recommend it enough.

Beginning near Mt Tabor Park east of downtown, head north across the Columbia on the I-205 path. Here you’ll hop onto the Evergreen Hwy. If you fancy this road, prepare yourself dear rider. Washougal River Rd/Hwy 140 awaits and it just keeps getting better. The views of the river are numerous as you pass the rushing water and the occasional fisherman. Cross the river where it turns into Canyon Creek and climb to the top and then eventually drops down to Hwy 14.

Hwy 14 runs you all the way to the Bridge of the Gods. It begins generally down hill, so enjoy a snack here if you like. Then climb up to Beacon Rock State Park where you can fill your bottles. If you need food or a soda, carry on to the Chevron gas station a few more miles down the road, past the Bonneville Dam.

Now you’ve arrived at the bridge. I personally can’t resist looking down while crossing over. The bridge surface is a metal grate so you can look straight down at the Columbia. Of course, it should go without saying that you need to pay attention while you ride. And do try and have a look at the view while you’re there. Unfortunately, the bridge doesn’t have any place to stop, so photos aren’t really an option. But the ride home on the Oregon side will offer plenty of opportunity.

After leaving the bridge, you’ll cross under it where an outstanding mural presents itself of the area and how it looked a long time ago. From here, immediately hop onto the bike path and follow it for the next 6 miles. This is my favorite path of all time. I do this ride so often purely to return to this path. The rich history abounds as you realize that many portions of the path are the original Scenic Hwy, which was lost to progress in the name of the I-84.

Once back onto the Historic Columbia River Hwy (or Crown Point Hwy) keep an eye out for the small stone fountain on your left. Depending on the time of year, the stone bowl may be dry or covered in moss. Decide for yourself whether to fill your bottles here, but I stand witness as someone who has drunk from the fountain in all conditions…and survived.

From here you’ll pass numerous waterfalls on your way home including the famous Multnomah Falls. But they are everywhere really between enormous falls and quiet trickling streams. This section of road is life changing. Climb up to Crown Point for your last view of the gorge. If the visitor center is open here, there are bathrooms and a fountain, although they may have you take off your shoes before entering because of the marble floors. Then descend back to Troutdale and head home, smiling all the way.

This is your destinationThe nicest bike path you may ever rideStop for a restStop and see the Bridge of the Gods muralMultnomah FallsYou'll ride along Washougal River for miles

30 Responses to “Bridge of the Gods”

  1. Occasional biker Says:

    What would you say the difficulty level on this bike ride is? It looks amazing. Thanks for the info!

  2. Jacob Says:

    The greatest difficulty is the length of the ride. If you feel capable of doing a 90 mile ride, then given the topography, the ride isn’t terribly difficult. Really, on the way out on the Washington side, there are only two hills of significance, even though you are gaining elevation the whole way out. And they are less than 1/2 a mile. The 14 is downhill for a spell and then flat all the way to the Bridge. There are a few hills on the way back but minor and the longest of the day is the climb up to crown point. Expect that to be a 20 minute climb averaging about 5%. Then lots of downhill back to Troutdale.
    In my opinion, if you feel you can handle the distance, you will not be disappointed. Every portion of the ride is incredible, especially the bike path on the Oregon side, immediately after the Bridge. A true gem and my favorite ride of all time.

  3. Cindy Says:

    On the map, it looks as if there is a road along side I-84 that one could take to avoid getting on to the freeway, is this a rideable road? Or is there a way to avoid getting on to I-84?

  4. Jacob Says:

    The I-84 is unavoidable however it is only for 1 mile. There is a very adequate, large shoulder as well. I see on Google Maps that it appears the pathway would continue to the offramp. However this is not true. On the map, where it crosses water is an old bridge that dead-ends. But I encourage you to ride to the bridge and look at the history and and then proceed back to the I-84 to continue the ride. Perhaps one day they will extend this small portion of path!

  5. Grant KEltner Says:

    I did this ride 10-14-2010……

    Beautiful ride, SR 14 was a little hairy, there are areas that come close to the road while riding……

    I found the ride up to Crown Point to be the most difficult part of the ride. Really like the bike lane that goes west from Bridge of the gods.

    I think that it should be pointed out that once I got to Eagle Creek it took me several minutes to find the bike lane that takes you to the stairs, the section you need to carry your bike up……

    Great ride, the views all along this ride are fantastic.

  6. Fred Says:

    “From here you’ll pass numerous waterfalls on your way home including the famous Multnomah Falls. But they are everywhere really between enormous falls and quiet trickling streams.”

    I have always had the intent to go to the Multnomah Falls. I just love waterfalls in general. Gives me the feeling of just washing away the cares of life.

    Come to think of it, these cares are starting to pile up. Need to find a waterfall. haha

    @Jacob – Even if it is just a mile, I hate the idea of riding on the interstate.

  7. Greg Says:

    The nicest pathway you will ever ride photo reminds me of my 20 year anniversary on the Gold Coast in Australia. We stayed on the island by the name of Couran Cove and the pathway to the beach was flat and tree covered just like that through rain forest.

    Our accommodation was in these beautiful huts over the water and on the Sat night it rained in that beautiful torrential pour down fashion while we sat inside and enjoyed the atmosphere looking out over the water.

    Oh to be back there.

    It’s five years ago now.


    Nice site Jacob, would love to take this ride.


  8. Steven Bancroft Says:

    I’ve been to Portland many times, but never cycled the Bridge of the Gods. For those of you that live in Portland, you’re fortunate with all the outdoor opportunities AND the fantastic city … one of my favorite cities to visit. My wife and I try to visit (from British Columbia) at least once each year. I’ll take a look at this cycling route to see if it’s something we’ll do on a future trip. I’m not too concerned about 1 mile on the I-84 (not ideal, but manageable).

  9. Craig Says:

    Great pictures, never been to the US but looks like beautiful, Multnomah Falls too. We have some great places to explore here in Canada, one day I’d like to head west and explore BC.

  10. Mark Says:

    Ok, this is next on my list of rides. Anyone have an alternate route to avoid the interstate? I-84 in that area has its moments where there would be no car in sight, then a train of cars the next second. A mile there is still a mile I’d prefer to avoid 😉

    Thanks for all the extra tips guys and gals!

  11. Jacob Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I understand your concern about the I-84. To my knowledge it is unavoidable. However, there is a large shoulder and after a mile, you are taking the off ramp.

  12. keith Says:

    you do have to ride that part of 84. It’s really not that big of a deal. There are signs all over for the cars, and they pass to the left lane most of the time. I’ve probably done that ride 50 times (including two loops in one day) and as recently as today.
    You might feel exposed, but it’s actually safer and nice than say: Marine Drive, the 1
    205 bridge, and the Interstate bridge. You’ll love it!

  13. Casey Says:

    My boyfriend and I did this ride today and had a great time. I was wondering about the discrepancy about elevation gain between the webpage at 4400′ and at 6276′. Which do you think is correct and why?

  14. Jacob Says:

    Well I would say the 4400 is more accurate because I physically did every ride to give the most accurate maps and details with a Garmin Edge 305. The amount of difficult climbs is not significant. It’s rolling all day and this adds up to give the elevation. 6200 is a big day and I just don’t think it’s accurate.

  15. Tony Says:

    This ride is pretty awesome. the section on I-84 is no sweat, the section on SR-14, however, was a bit stressful and you are on it for almost an hour.

  16. Christian Says:

    I did this ride yesterday. It was a great ride especially the trail after Cascade Locks. It should be noted that there is a bridge out on the Washugal River Road about 5 miles up (7-29-2012). The bridge is literally out. I managed to scale down the embankment over the river back up over another embankment and then down and then back up to the other side but would not recommend that as I think the intent of closing the road is to keep people from doing so. They have a detour posted that I think keeps you off SR14. I recommend people take the detour rather than foolishly assuming that the sign was overstating the state of the bridge as I did. What a fantastic ride though.

  17. Jacob Says:

    Points for dedication though!

  18. paula Says:

    How is the ride going the opposite direction?

  19. drosser Says:

    Hi paula. I recently drove the counter-clockwise route. SR14 heading west has some very lengthy stretches with absolutely no shoulder.

  20. Panda Says:

    Just biked the route yesterday and it was fantastic.
    I-84 was quick and easy.. I think the only portion that got sketchy to me was when the drivers in Washington would honk and flick us off while riding on Canyon Creek.
    It was absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend it. Great instructions!

  21. Marc Charbonneau Says:

    Finished this ride a week ago. It was a fantastic trip! The Historic Columbia River Highway was closed for construction during the winter, but it’s open again now. The I-84 section a few people have commented on was very stress-free and not a problem, though the route includes a cycling path right before it that was hard to find.

    Anyone wanting a shorter route might consider skipping the WA side, and taking the MAX from Gresham. I’m definitely heading out this way again soon though, it’s an awesome route.

  22. Zoë Says:

    Did this ride again yesterday (this time counter-clockwise), and tho it was beautiful for the most part, I wouldn’t do SR14 Westbound again – it’s a bit too close for comfort and the traffic can be aggressive. Also, we skipped the Canyon Creek section opting to take SR14 straight thru to Washougal thinking it’d be quicker, but it unfortunately turned out to be a bad call given the lack of a shoulder for long stretches. Should’ve stuck to the route…

    On a positive note, there’s a path under construction on the Oregon side that eliminates the I-84 section entirely.

  23. Josh Says:

    Completed this ride today and loved it! Great roads and awesome scenery! This is a ride I will definitely do again.

    This also happened to be my first full century. I live in Beaverton, so I took the MAX to Cascade Station and started from there, and then jumped back on the MAX at Goose Hollow on the way home. The trip to and from the MAX station from home just pushed me over the century mark to 100.66.

    Hwy 14 traffic can be a little intense, but it’s manageable. No close calls, but a very busy road with lots of truck/RV traffic. I didn’t have time to look through the metal grating crossing the bridge because I was too busy trying not to get blown into the oncoming lane from the wind. The short stint on the interstate was no big deal at all.

  24. Jarred Says:

    Surprised nobody has mentioned Gibson Rd. If you’re riding through Washougal east to the Bridge, take Gibson as it parallels HWY 14 and is a really nice ride. You’ll join back up with 14 at the Salmon Falls park and ride. The stretch from there to the Bridge isn’t bad at all (as riding on 14 goes that is). This is by far the safest route for the WA side of this ride. Washougal River Road is not known for cycling safety that’s for sure!

  25. Brandon Says:

    Bring $.50 to pay the toll for crossing Bridge of the Gods. They let me through, but were kinda pissed.

  26. Jacob Says:

    That might be new. I never even used to stop. Anybody know?

  27. Patrick Says:

    It says bike toll of $0.50 here…

  28. Ben S. Says:

    Just a warning: Evergreen highway is VERY rough. It’s heavily cracked concrete with some heavily cracked asphalt patches over the heavily cracked concrete. Maybe that’s why traffic is so low on it! It’s not so bad after 162nd, so you might want to find an alternate route that meets back up with it at that point.

    The good news is that the multi-use path now runs all the way from Cascade Locks to the Warrendale frontage road. No more having to ride on I-84! Also, beware of taking the wrong path from under the Bridge of the Gods. There is a paved trail leading out of the parking lot under the Bridge which only leads to a dirt track along the river (access to the salmon scaffolds). The trail you want is RIGHT NEXT to the highway, separated only by a concrete barrier at that point.

    All-in-all, a GREAT RIDE!

  29. Matt Pie Says:

    Nasty headwinds the entire time heading east, and the wind crossing the bridge of the gods was so brutal I actually almost fell over. The equally intense tailwind on the ride home was well deserved and made it seriously enjoyable. The grate surface on the bridge is pretty intense, I did this ride on my cross bike so i was fine but I could definitely see someone getting a flat on the stuff with 23c tires. I did this ride today and I didnt have to go onto I-84 at all, theres a perfectly smooth and seperated bike path right along the freeway to ride, it did seem super brand new though.

  30. Matt Pie Says:

    As for the .50 cent toll, I prefer not stopping at the toll booth and letting them cash in on the cars.

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