If you’ve spent much time in Portland, you know that bicycling is a way of life.
Whether you hop on a bright orange BIKETOWN cruiser or take part in a Sunday Parkways ride (May through September) along the city’s cycle-friendly greenways, it’s not hard to find a way to get out in the fresh air on two wheels (or one, like Portland’s famed Unipiper).
Now, the city has one more place for cyclists to ride.
Gateway Green is a 25-acre partly wooded site in East Portland that opened its first phase — its “dirt lab” for bicycles — in summer 2017. You’ll find 1.7 miles of singletrack trails at the park, in addition to a concrete all-weather pump track and a bike skills area with dirt jumps, designed by the nearby Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park. Whether you’re a newbie, kid, or seasoned cyclist, there’s something to practice on the berms, drops, and jumps.
“It’s a huge deal for us,” says Erin Chipps, communications director of the Northwest Trail Alliance, one of the grassroots groups that’s been working to advocate for cycling and develop the formerly vacant lot. “This is our first big mountain bike space area that’s open to bikes, intended for bikes,” she adds.
By summer 2019, planning is underway for Gateway Green to expand beyond the dirt lab, to be an urban oasis for hiking, children’s nature play, wildlife spotting and more. Community groups are helping to design natural play areas, artwork, entry plazas, shaded structures, viewpoints and gathering areas, and a yet-undetermined expansion of singletrack bike trails.
Don’t feel comfortable riding on trails? Gateway Green is an ideal place to learn — and bring the kids along at the same time. The idea is that as you progress, you can tackle the more challenging parts of the trail and skills area.
Until then, it’s just about having fun doing something active, outside. And with wide-open meadows and views of Rocky Butte to the west through the woods, there’s a lot to celebrate.
“We want to encourage more people to get outside and see what the city has to offer,” Chipps says. “We’re kind of creating the new stewards of the environment.”
Help kick off the action this summer at Northwest Trail Alliance’s Gateway Green Mountain Bike Festival, June 2, 2018 — a day of family fun with food and drinks, bike exhibitions, coaching and demo bikes from local partners.
Here are some other places to get your adrenaline pumping on a mountain bike within an hour Portland:
Easy Climb Trail in Cascade Locks, 2.7 miles of flowy singletrack with mild climbing and sections of rocks, roots and switchbacks, as well as views of the Columbia River.
Powell Butte Nature Park in East Portland, 5 miles of beginner-friendly, smooth trails and quick descents that are shared with hikers, dog-walkers and horses.
The Sandy Ridge Trail System in Sandy, 17 miles of trails at the lower slopes of Mt. Hood, ranging from beginner-level trails to double-black-diamond, expert-level challenges.
Trails at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park in Buxton, near Vernonia, 6 miles of bike trails, ranging from easy to challenging, with restoration work underway to expand trails.