Canby Ferry Crossing

Length: 53 Miles
Direction: Counter Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 3100 ft
Highest Point: 562 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25 or equivalent

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There aren’t many rides where you can hop on a ferry just for the experience. The Canby Ferry crossing is only a couple of minutes long. However as of 2012, there is a $2.00 charge for bicycles. Another advantage to its short ride is that if you miss the ferry, well it’ll be back in a few minutes. So you’re not stuck waiting for long.

The ride starts in downtown at the Vera Katz bronze statue on the Eastbank Esplanade path. This is the standard start location for all rides heading West and South. And it’s very close to River City Bicycles too if you need anything before your ride. You’ll cross the Hawthorne Bridge and begin climbing up to Terwilliger Blvd past OHSU. Terwilliger is a common commuter route that boasts a great view of town and bike lanes as it meanders along. Eventually, you’ll arrive at Tryon Creek State Park. It’s your option here to continue on Terwilliger if you wish, but personally, I never pass up a chance to hop on the Tryon Creek bike path, especially heading south. It’s nearly all descending through the trees and a visitor center offers bathrooms and water fountain access year round. In the summer, the Tryon Creek path offers welcome shade from the heat. In the winter, there is plenty of greenery left to shelter you from the rain. The path ends onto State St in Lake Oswego. You’ll follow this as it turns into Willamette Dr heading towards Oregon City and then the town of Willamette. Willamette is a very cool little hamlet that will have you taking note for a return trip in the future.

Exiting Willamette, you’ll turn left onto Turner Rd. This is a steep little climb that you’ll probably have to yourself. Tucked away in the trees, Turner is reason alone to do this ride. Mountain Rd afterwards will take you all the way to the Canby Ferry. Now you’re looping back towards Oregon City. The descent down to the river is a lot of fun. Cross over to River Rd and follow this for a spell back towards Portland. As you reach the Sellwood area, hop onto the Eastbank Esplanade path again at Oaks Pioneer Park for your trip home.

Tryon Creek or Sleepy HollowThe Canby Ferry arrives to take you acrossRiding down Mountain is fun even in the rainDollar St is a quick detour off of Willamette Falls

23 Responses to “Canby Ferry Crossing”

  1. Scott Fitzwater Says:

    I rode this route yesterday. Turner is a nice variation to what is a classic Portland area ride. I added a Clematis-Wysteria loop for more milage and climbage as follows:
    from Dollar St.
    -Right on 19th
    -Right on Blankenship Rd
    -Immediate Left on Johnson Rd
    -Right on Woodbine Rd
    -Woodbine becomes Wysteria Rd
    -Left on Clematis Rd
    -Left on SweetBriar Rd
    -Left on Grapevine Rd
    -Right on Woodbine Rd
    -Left on Johnson Rd
    -Right on Blankenship
    -Left on Ostman Rd
    -Right on Dollar

  2. Jacob Says:

    Tried the extra climb today. Outstanding! 500ft gain too. Thanks for posting

  3. charles Says:

    Is the Rte 43 bridge open to bikes/pedestrians right now (July 09)? I’d heard it might be inaccessible to all traffic…

  4. admin Says:

    As far as I know, the bridge is still open. When it does close, a shuttle will be the only way for bikes to cross the river.

  5. johnj Says:

    I did this ride today, and the bridge is indeed open — they’ve installed a temporary bridge while the real bridge is being worked on. However, the bit of road (and trail) connecting Dollar St. to the bridge is closed, so you’ll not want to go down that way.

    Instead, you can either stay on Willamette Falls Dr. as you pass through West Linn, or you can go down Dollar St. and turn Left on Ostmann Rd. then Right back onto Willamette Falls. Someone at the restaurant down at the bottom of Dollar St. said they were suffering from the sudden lack of through traffic, so you might consider having lunch there (though I didn’t try the food myself).

  6. Danielle Says:

    I did this ride last week. Double thumbs up for an excellent route. Scenic and gorgeous.

    I’d like to follow up on the comment by johnj by mentioning that the Dollar St to bridge connection is still closed (and looks like it may be for a while). Use johnj suggested routes for time being.

    In regards to the restaurant, I didn’t even see one at the end of Dollar St…makes me wonder if they didn’t make it?

  7. Jacob Says:

    I haven’t been out there in a while but I recall it was sort of a converted house, set back a little. But I bet that road closure has affected business if it’s still there.

  8. Melia Says:

    It’s April 2010, and the Dollar St. bit is *still* closed, so take stay on Willamette Falls Drive and you’ll be fine.

    This is a GORGEOUS ride, and definitely a good trainer for newer long-distance riders (e.g. we’re every-day commuters, but had only ever done 1-2 rides at or above 50 miles). The climbs kicked our butts, but it was totally worth it.

    A couple details we found confusing/needed clarifying:

    — 37th becomes Holly st., not Hilly street… though there are some baby hills in there! This wasn’t exactly a confusing point, but figured I’d add it.

    — High street doesn’t exactly become 7th, as far as we could tell… instead it dead-ended at a T intersection, which looked like perhaps it was 7th in one direction (right turn) and turned into Singer in the other (left), though we didn’t actually see a sign for Singer (may have just missed it). So when High street comes to a T, turn left onto 7th, not right, and it’ll get you onto Singer in no time.

  9. Tony Says:

    According to this: the Dollar St. connection to the bridge is permanently closed.

  10. Brian Says:

    Did this one today. Melia had it right in describing it as a challenge for the newbie long distance rider (me). Not only was the distance among my highest yet, but the hills were a killer, even under today’s ideal weather conditions (mid-fifties, partly sunny). Still, the word bucolic kept coming to mind–so nice to see small farms still making a go of it.

    Had lunch in Oregon City at the Singer Hill Cafe. Their Ruben is fantastic when paired with a Mirror Pond.

  11. Eric Says:

    What an awesome route! Couple of notes to add. Dollar St now dead ends, no pavement to get back onto Willamette Falls (you could hike it as you’re only about 30 ft away). I backtracked to Ostman Rd but will just stay on Willamette Falls in the future.

    Cutting the loop a little short due to day light, after climbing Turner and turning onto SW Mountain, I took another left onto Schaeffer Rd cutting over to SW Petes Mtn Rd. Great views of Hood at this intersection! I then took a left downhill back into Willamette Area downtown to start backtracking via Willamette Falls. My plan was to reconnect on the East side via the Willamette Dr bridge in West Linn near 205 but that is closed for 2 yrs effective Jan 2011! There is a pedestrian shuttle to take you across the river, you pick it up at the bus stop as you approach the 205 Northbound ramp.

    I picked the route up on the East side and had a smooth ride home. This shortcut made for ~43mi. Definitely doing it again and next time the full loop!

  12. Batrigger Says:

    The Canby Ferry now charges bicyclists to cross the river

  13. Jacob Says:

    Bummer. Do you know how much it is?

  14. Paul Says:

    If you continue down Dollar St to the end, past where it says no outlet, there is a little paved trail, the a short wood chip section, then you can hook up to Willamette Falls Dr.

  15. Jacob Says:

    great news! thanks

  16. Patrick Says:

    We did this ride today and it was simply fantastic – thank you for sharing. First time exploring the southern part of the city/community and can see this quickly becoming a favorite.

    The Canby Ferry crossing is $2 per bicycle.

    One quick FYI for those without a GPS/printed map/smartphone (or those too lazy to stop and break them out)… when leaving Canby on South Township Road, the first major intersection with a 4-way stop had the street names torn down (would be South Mulino Road). Go straight thru the stop, and next stop sign will be South Central Point Road.

  17. Jacob Says:

    Thanks Patrick. Sad news about the bike fee but I guess all things free must come to an end. And thanks for the note about the intersection

  18. James Says:

    Hey Jacob,

    Just finished the ride, I loved it! So much so, I’m going to take my wife out on our tandem!

    My only quibble is that I didn’t realize that the ferry is cash/check only. Things I normally don’t carry too much for training rides. maybe put that up on the front-page description to warn others? (I hopped in the back of a pickup truck so I wasn’t stuck per-se)

  19. Jacob Says:

    Thanks James. I’ll update the article. Sorry for the trouble and for the inflation!

  20. Mike Says:

    Just a heads up the Ferry is closed until “Summer of 2013”.

  21. Maggie Says:

    The ferry is back open at least as of 7/26/13.

    The sweet hamlet is actually West Linn not Willamette.

    I look forward to trying this ride!


  22. Minott Says:

    Today’s Oregonian (8/14), reports ferry again closed through 9/13. The Ferry’s info # 503 650 3030 reports that it is closed until further notice.

  23. johnj Says:

    The ferry sure wasn’t open today (8/17/13). Fortunately Mountain Rd is equally smooth and gorgeous in the opposite direction! Turning around provided an excuse to actually stop in Willamette too.

    Ferry status can be found here:

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