Saltzman Offroad

Length: 24 Miles
Direction: Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 1675 ft
Highest Point: 1149 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25 or equivalent

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View from SaltzmanThe profile of this ride looks a lot like that of Larch Madness: one great big bump in the middle. However the big difference is that Larch Mtn Rd is over 14 miles long. Saltzman is a more respectable 3 1/2. However the gradients are really quite similar. Both climbs aren’t terribly difficult to ride up…and both are a lot of fun.

This ride starts on the Eastbank Esplanade near the Hawthorne Bridge. You’ll cross the bridge and head into downtown. The downtown core is actually quite easy to navigate, and you will soon be through it on your way to the Pearl District. The Pearl is probably Portland’s most trendy area. Have a look as you pass through for potentially a new favorite coffee shop or favorite gift store.

Once through the Pearl, head north until Vaughn St. This will take you to St Helens Rd, which merges with Hwy 30. The 30 can be a little busy with truck traffic as there is a lot of warehousing in the area. Consider doing this ride on a weekend if this bothers you.

From the 30, you’ll meet up with Saltzman Rd. It begins as pavement and climbs past a few houses until reaching the gate of Forest Park. Ride around the gate and continue on Saltzman as the road turns to a hard packed gravel. Until reaching Skyline Blvd at the top, you’ll be well within the trees of the park. Half way up, Saltzman crosses Leif Erikson Rd. Simply follow the Saltzman Rd sign pointing up and to the left to carry on your way.

Turn right on Skyline Blvd and follow it until Germantown Rd. You’ve earned this wonderful descent, which was repaved in 2007. Germantown ends near the St Johns Bridge. Take the bridge over the Willamette River and then turn right and join up with Willamette Blvd. Follow it all the way to Interstate Ave and then take Interstate to the Eastbank Esplanade. Hop on the path and head for home.

There are various gravel roads in the area, including the lengthier Leif Erikson mentioned above. Leif Erikson in Forest Park and, the far more difficult, Yacolt State Burn Forest Rd in WA are also mapped in this series. If you’ve caught the offroad bug from this ride, consider some longer options as well.

The Beginning of SaltzmanSaltzman near the topSmooth gravel doesn't pose too many problems for road bikesFollow sign to continue up Saltzman where the road intersects Leif Erikson

3 Responses to “Saltzman Offroad”

  1. Blog of The 2010 NW Natural Street of Dreams Says:

    […] The Saltzman Offroad – At the corner of NW Saltzman Rd and NW Skyline Blvd continue down Skyline for about 2 miles to reach the Street parking on your left. […]

  2. Bob Says:

    Just got home from doing this ride. Its A+ for sure. Modified the loop a bit due to being out at rush hour and headed left on Skyline to Thompson, to Cornell then back through Downtown. Good ride! Can’t wait to do it again.

  3. HamRHead Says:

    The climb was as expected given your description. The “road” is paved but the pavement is missing in some of the corners, as you would expect. As you approach the intersection with Leif Erickson head up hill. Leif crosses and is the flatter side roads. Watch out for folks coming down the hill at speed–cause they cannot see around the corners and will slide in the gravel. Also in a few areas you have the basalt cobbles. At the top you will find a small parking lot and lots of gravel, 1/4 mile to Skyline. The trip down Germantown is special unless you have a car right behind you–there is no bike lane on this downhill and the curves are so tight you need all of the road. But on a Sunday morning with light traffic the ride was fantastic.

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