Friday, June 22, 2007
SE ~ Springwater Corridor
Date visited: June 19, 2007
Agency: Portland Parks & Recreation
Path Surface: Paved until Rugg Road
Elevation gain/loss: very slight upward grade going eastbound
Distance: 21+ miles
Ratings: Setting ++++ Calorie-burning ++++
Directions: Several access points (see map link at end), described below is access from Max.
The premier paved path of Portland, developed on the old Springwater Line railroad way, provides distance, variety and surprisingly wild areas right in the city. To see it all, take your bike, but certainly, pedestrians will enjoy the path as well.
Exit Max at the Yamhill or Morrison stops closest to the river. Cross to Waterfront Park and head south along the river. Find the eastbound entrance to the Hawthorne bridge by riding under the bridge, then veering right onto a ramp up to bridge level. After crossing the bridge, continue south as far as possible on the pedestrian/bike path (passing OMSI), then turn left onto the street (Carruthers), then take a right on 4th (look for the small Springwater Corridor directional sign). Continue on 4th for two blocks and you will see the path ahead of you. After passing noisy Ross Island Sand and Gravel, you will find yourself in a different world.
From this point to the path's current end just past Oaks Bottom is frankly my favorite part. River views, deep woods and a high bank to the east let you imagine you are miles from the city. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a real treat for birding, whether you detour into the Refuge proper or just pass by on the way. If you just want a 10 mile out and back, this section is for you.
When the path reaches its current end, a detour on quiet streets will bring you to the remainder and majority of the trail that goes all the way to Boring. Turn left off the path at its end onto Umatilla St. Follow it east to SE 19th, turn right and ride straight into the continuation of the path (these turns are signed). This section incorporates the “Three Bridges,” a fairly recent and most useful addition, spanning previously difficult crossings.
From here, mileage and variety are yours. The path passes through woodsy areas, parks, fields, farms, historical sights, Mt Hood views and not very much roadside. Covered benches are placed along the way if you want to take a breather. The paved portion ends east of Gresham, but hardy riders can travel the entire 21 plus miles to Boring.
For more information about the path and its history, click here.