Rock Creek

Length: 39 Miles
Direction: Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 3276 ft
Highest Point: 1207 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25

DirectionsSee full ride directions
View map and ride data at

This is why Skyline remains so popular with cyclistsCertainly one of the best places to ride in Portland is in the West Hills. They lie on the west side of downtown and stretch a good length of the city. At the top of the hills is Skyline Blvd, which shares its name with numerous roads up and down the west coast. Every Skyline I’ve come across has not disappointed and ours here in Portland is no exception. As a side not also, there is a Skyline Dr in West Linn that is worth checking out as well. Another beauty.

This ride begins on the Eastbank Esplanade near the Hawthorne Bridge. Say “farewell” to the Vera Katz statue at your staring point and cross over the bridge into downtown. Getting through downtown is relatively painless and soon you’ll begin climbing up Cornell Rd. There are two tunnels along the way, however a path exists to the side to circumnavigate them. Traveling up Cornell, it is highly recommended that you use these paths.

Thompson will take you the rest of the way to Skyline. Turn right on Skyline and follow it for a ways until crossing Cornelius Pass Rd. At the intersection of Cornelius Pass and Skyline, there is a store if you need anything. Turn left after Cornelius Pass Rd briefly onto Old Cornelius Pass Rd and then go right onto Rock Creek.

Now you will not likely see any cars until returning to Skyline. A few homes are nestled away on this section of the ride. It suddenly feels quite rural while not having had to travel very far indeed. Rock Creek begins to climb now and continues to do so with a little more anger once you turn onto Elliot Rd. However your reward is a general descent back down Skyline to Cornelius Pass Rd. Then up again until Germantown Rd.

In 2007, Germantown Rd received a fresh sheet of asphalt, which has made descending it a lot of fun. If you usually put up with climbing in order to get in a nice descent, then Germantown will simply make your day. Head across St Johns Bridge and hook up with Willamette Blvd to get you back to the Esplanade Path.

The Rock Creek ride, at 40 miles offers a small taste of what is available when you climb up and down the west hills. You can turn down nearly any number of roads and have a great day. Also, consider the Rocky Point Extension ride as well for a slightly longer day.

Rock Creek is quiet and beautifulSkyline residents have an artistic sideView from St John's BridgeStart your day by climbing Thompson

4 Responses to “Rock Creek”

  1. Germantown Resident Says:

    Please stop from advertising Germantown Rd. as a good cycling route. Today there was a cyclist/car collision of a resident pulling out of a double blind drive. The cyclist was not wearing lights, was dressed in dark clothing and was going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. They were IMPOSSIBLE to see. Luckily the cyclist was not badly injured, even though they flew over the hood of the car.

    The thrill of riding down Germantown might be exciting, but you are putting yourself and others at a lot of risk.

  2. Jacob Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about this accident. However auto accidents as well as bicycle/auto accidents occur on every stretch of road in the world. If the cyclist was, as you indicated, traveling over the speed limit, then he or she was breaking the law. This doesn’t mean the road is unsafe for bicycle travel. It does sound quite challenging for pulling out into traffic however.

  3. Cyclista Says:

    I would add to ‘Germantown Resident’ that the review provided is incorrect. The cyclist was badly injured and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He continues seeking medical care for his injuries as I write this review.

    The resident had 2 mirrors coming out of his driveway to see up and down the road. Drivers need to not only look for cars, but pedestrians and cyclists. The cyclist was not going over the speed limit as noted by his bike computer and did have a light on his bike.

    I am shocked at how heartless drivers are around cyclists. A person is a person is a person. Everyone is someone’s son, brother, husband, friend.

    Although, I do agree Germantown is not a safe road for cycling as there is no shoulder and there are quite a few blind corners, I don’t agree that blame should be aimed at cyclists or drivers. Everyone is responsible.

  4. Peter McGovern Says:

    Hello. I live a half a mile from Germantown on Skyline. Germantown is definitely NOT a safe road for bicycling. I have witnessed one bicycle/car accident in the past two years. But it is NOT a safe road for motorists either. During inclement weather it is not unusual for me to see at least two or three cars over the side (on their backs or sides sometimes) a WEEK! The road is extremely curvy and steep. At the steepest the grade is 11%. Drivers unfamiliar with the road are likely to take the turns too wide and often drive very slow, angering the drivers behind them. In inclement weather other drivers go too fast and end up tailgating locals who know to approach the entire ride with caution.

    Because there is no shoulder, bicyclists heading up the road often end up with long lines of irate drivers behind them. Sometimes the drivers take risky chances passing the bikes. During rush hour, Germantown (heading down towards St. Johns) can be backed up over a mile.

    Newberry, on the other hand, is prettier and has a LOT less traffic. And the hilly curves at the bottom provide a great cardio workout!

Leave a Reply