Friday, July 01, 2005

N~Smith Bybee Lakes Bicycle Tour

Date last visited: June 21, 2005
Agency: Various
Path Surface: Paved
Elevation gain/loss: minimal
Distance: about 20 miles
Ratings: Setting +++ Calorie-burning +++
Directions: From I-5, take the Portland Blvd. exit (#304), turn west onto Portland Blvd. Follow Portland Blvd. to Willamette Blvd., turn right. Follow N. Willamette Blvd to N. Macrum, turn right, then left on Princeton. Or, from the St. Johns Bridge, turn right on N. Willamette to N. Carey, turn left to N. Princeton.

If you like variety, you'll like this ride through the neighborhoods and wilds of North Portland.

Begin at the southern end of the off-street Peninsula Crossing trail located at the corner of N. Princeton and Carey. Ride one mile slightly downhill through the park-like setting of neighborhood backyards. At Columbia Blvd, turn right, then cross Columbia at the traffic light at Portsmouth. Turn right on Columbia Ct. to pick up the path again. Shortly thereafter, the path splits, but any of the variations soon connect up again to travel through this park area next to the treatment plant that seems to have no name. Continue to the Columbia Slough by way of the pedestrian bridge, then turn left, following the signs to Smith and Bybee Lakes, passing Triangle Lake on your right, then riding parallel to Portland Rd.

At 2.8 miles, continue towards Smith and Bybee, but your route crosses Portland Rd west to an abandoned road. At 3.2 miles, a short gravel trail gives the first close-up of the lakes. At 3.7 miles is a small parking lot with restrooms and interpretative signs. At 3.9 miles, you reach the Jean Washington Interlake trail. No bikes are allowed on this trail, but bike racks are available to lock them up, or walk them along the trail like we did. In around a half mile, you get great views of both lakes and, usually, some wildlife.

Returning to the bike route, continue northeast toward Kelly Point Park on the path next to Marine Drive. At 6.2 miles, a brief detour to the left on a dead-end trail is actually one of the quietest and most pleasant portions of the bike trail and adds a total of 2.6 miles round trip to your route.

After returning from the detour, cross the street to Kelly Point Park Rd. At the end of this road, you can pick up a path overlooking the river. We stopped for a picnic lunch right on the beach and watched the ships and boats ply the Columbia River. Return as you came and your round trip will be close to twenty miles.
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