St Johns Loop

Length: 27 Miles
Direction: Counter Clockwise
Elevation Gain: 2247 ft
Highest Point: 1207 ft
Recommended Gearing: 39X25 or equivalent

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There is an ample sidewalk to take over the bridgeSt. Johns is located in North Portland on the tip of the peninsula formed by the merging of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Named in honor of settler James John, the area was originally laid out as an eight block town in 1865. So the story goes, James John was reportedly a recluse, which inspired the population to address him as ‘Saint’ John.

Begin the ride on the Eastbank Esplanade near the Hawthorne Bridge and follow the path north. This will join up with Interstate Ave and then Willamette Blvd. Willamette Blvd has a great view of downtown as well as the industrial area below on Swan Island, which was once the site of the Portland airport.

Once you arrive at the St Johns Bridge, pass under it and then loop around to your right to cross the bridge. The view from underneath is very interesting as you can gaze through the many columns and supports that allows this bridge to tower over the Willamette River.

A tough climb awaits in the name of Germantown Rd. A look at the profile map shows that this climb goes up in a hurry. If you’ve done some of the other rides in this series that descend Germantown, you will already know how nice a road this is. Without fail, all of your truly favorite descents are worthy of being climbed as well.
Crest the climb at Skyline Blvd. If you have the time, consider dropping down the backside of Germantown and then making your way back up Old Germantown Rd. This is another majestic road that only has local residents driving on it. Worth a detour or return trip.

Follow Skyline south for a few miles passing Cornell Rd on your way to Burnside St. You’ll briefly merge onto Burnside before turning off to Skyline once again. Once you’ve crossed Hwy 26, Hewett Blvd twists and turns until joining up with Fairmount Blvd. Hewett and Fairmount are truly some of the nicest roads in the city and Fairmount Blvd actually forms a loop if you’d like to do a few laps.

Drop down Marquam Hill Rd through OHSU on your way to Sam Jackson Park Rd and then Terwilliger Blvd. Keep an eye on your speed through OHSU. The descent is quite steep and there is a lot of pedestrian traffic crossing the road. Terwilliger will then take you into downtown. From there, hop onto the Hawthorne Bridge and head over the river again back to the Esplanade.

Pass under the St Johns BridgeThe Fairmont Loop is perhaps the nicest road in the city

One Response to “St Johns Loop”

  1. Erica Says:

    Loved this ride – perfect blend of a nice easy first ~8 miles, a little bit of climbing, and lovely views and peace on Skyline and Fairmount. A winner!

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