Terwilliger Bike Path
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Going downhill on the Terwilliger Bike PathWhat’s to Love: The Terwilliger bike path is (Chart House Restaurant toward downtown) a fun downhill ride for kids just getting used to their bikes. The path is totally separated from the road, which adds an element of safety. There are only a couple of uphill (slight) sections – besides that, this ride is all downhill.

Heading south from the Chart House/OHSU toward Capital Highway, Barbur Blvd, Tryon Creek and finally, Lake Osweo, this ride is a semi-epic journey for young bike riders!  Besides a small section between Boones Ferry and Capital Highway, you’ll be on a wide, paved path the entire route to Lake Oswego.

There are many options when biking this path. You could take the path south all the way to Tryon Creek State Park! Since there are biking lanes on Terwilliger, you won’t have to worry about getting in the way of other bike riders. You’ll only have to watch out for walkers and joggers, which isn’t a problem on this wide path. Since the loop options are limited, this path doesn’t get overly crowded. In the summertime, this path is nicely shaded by trees that seem to grow right over the road in places.

Here is a clip from Tryon Creek heading north to OHSU.


Getting ready to ride!Caveats: Watch out for runners, walkers and dogs! This is a pretty busy trail on sunny weekend days. For the downhill ride (Chart House to town), there are some potentially hazardous drop-offs on this ride. So, make sure you keep a close eye on your kids. Also, there is potential here to build-up some considerable speed. Make sure your kids have a good understanding of their coaster brakes and/or hand brakes.

If you’re headed to Tryon or Lake Oswego, you will have to ride in the bike lane for about 1 mile or so.  This is important to know, because kids just getting used to their bikes may not feel comfortable (or the parents!) in a bike lane.

Website: Portland Transportation Site with links to Bike Maps

Distance from Portland: Within 1 -2 miles of downtown Portland

Recommended Ages: My son did this at age 4, but it’s not about the age. To bike on the Terwilliger path, your kids will need to have good control while riding (i.e., good balance and steering, proficient with their coaster/hand break).  Ideally, this is best for older riders ages 7 and up.

Parental Stress Factor: Medium to high – If your kid is new to riding, this can be a bit stressful. There are some spots that made me nervous, but for solid riders, this trail can be a lot of fun.

Physical Difficulty: If you ride up Terwilliger from downtown, this is a tough ride. The hill is a fairly steep grade, and it continues for about 1 mile. If you’re just doing a downhill ride, it’s not (physically) difficult at all.  Parents, if you’re pulling a trailer or cart, you will get WORKED!!!  Coming from Tryon, there is a pretty long, sustained climb from Boone’s Ferry heading north.

Family Fun Factor: Bike riding is always high on our family fun factor scale. This downhill ride was a thrill for my son.

Pet Friendly: Yes…many people have their dogs on this path. Dogs are not the best option for the ride.

Weather Considerations: I wouldn’t attempt this in rainy weather. Your child will need to rely on his/her breaks constantly.

Playground along the way - Terwilliger Bike PathInsider Info: Have one parent/friend make a drop-off along the route, and have your kid and spouse/partner/friend bike all the way to Tryon Creek! Or, you can drop down to the Sellwood bridge via the cemetery (located directly to the west of the Sellwood bridge) and connect with the Springwater Corridor trail. There are many options for biking in this area.

Giant totem pole at the Chart HouseFamily Tips: Using the Chart House restaurant as a drop-off isn’t the best option while they’re serving. There are plenty of pull-off options along the way. If you do use the Chart House, make sure you check-out the totem pole on the north-side (pictured here).

If you’re biking down Terwilliger heading toward downtown, don’t forget the little playground on the east-side of the road. It’s easy to miss, so keep a close watch for it. If your family is into biking, getting to know this area of town is a must!

Technorati Tags: Portland Biking, Biking on Terwilliger, Portland Bike Paths, biking for kids, downhill rides for kids, biking near OHSU

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  1. Vince: I just love what you have done with this site. It is such a great resource for families. It is so upbeat, informative and makes you want to GET OUTSIDE!!!!

  2. Thanks Debbie! I'm glad you're getting some positive and motivational vibes from site. I built it for that very reason – to be a great resource for parents and families.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. Exceedingly reviving on your sublime posting! I genuinely altogether appreciated appreciation it; you may be an inconceivable designer. I will make a point to bookmark your online journal and may return soon.

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