Still not a backrest Jayne on Emily's bike Jayne shall eat now in Alwinton, EnglandGlacier National Park 2010 Jayne is not quite ATGATT

Oregon & Washington state
Motorcycle Routes & Day Trips from Portland (PDX)

 
 

 
disclaimer

International trips by motorcycle
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Northern England & Scotland, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden

Trips riding my own motorcycle
California ("Lost Coast" and gold country), Idaho, Montana (Glacier NP), Nevada, Oregon, Washington (state), Wyoming (Yellowstone), Canada (Alberta and British Columbia, Jasper, Banff & Kootenay).

 
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  My husband and I love traveling in other countries by motorcycle. In 2009, we moved from Germany to the Portland, Oregon area (my husband is German, I'm from the USA), and since the USA has such a ridiculously-tiny vacation time culture, we decided to start treating our spare time here as a mission to map the best short motorcycle day trips around PDX.

These suggested motorcycle routes are for people who live in the Portland or Salem area of Oregon and want a nice day trip - scenic and winding roads - but these routes are also for motorcycle riders who are visiting the Portland area, or elsewhere in Oregon, as part of a long-distance trip.

Too many motorcycle travelers think the only way to go through Oregon is via the coast. The coast is nice, but to be honest, after about an hour, you've seen it, and the traffic and stop lights can take all the fun out of the ride. The interior of Oregon has gorgeous routes for motorcycle riding - beautiful vistas and twisting roads!

These routes are all scenic, have enough curves to be interesting, are mostly paved (if they aren't I note so in the description), and either pass through or end in places where there are food options and at least one gas station (or ends reasonably near such).

These suggested routes will take you on many winding roads by historic sites, several villages and small towns, and some ferry crossings.

  • To Tillamook and back, through the cities of Yamhill and Carlton, then along the Nestucca River in the Siuslaw National Forest. You can go all the way to Tillamook and the Oregon Coast, or, you can make a left at Bible Creek Road and then via Willamina Creek Road (and have lunch in Willamina) and on back to the PDX area, making it at least a 168 mile loop altogether. OR, you can go up Bible Creek Road from Nestucca and then make a left onto NW Bald Mountain Access Road, stopping at Sheridan Peak Overlook (there's a pit toilet there). It's all paved except for just two miles on Nestucca - and I've done it on a cruiser street bike, not just a dual sport, so don't let those two miles stop you from this awesome route. These are my favorite local roads for motorcycle touring - scenic, twisty, and not a lot of traffic.

  • Willamette River Motorcycle Route, a two-three hour trip South of Portland, Oregon.

  • New Era through Beavercreek to Mollala, a 30-40 minute motorcycle ride South of Portland, Oregon.

  • Canby, Mulino, Mt. Angel & Silverton, a 90-minute or more motorcycle ride South of Portland, Oregon (depends on how often you stop). Probably the most popular motorcycle day trip from Portland. Make it even longer and go all the way to Salem.

  • Birkenfeld, a day-long motorcycle ride West of Portland, Oregon. Make it even longer and go all the way to Astoria, or combine it with other trips on this page.

  • Twisties to Vernonia & some gravel: Forest Grove to Vernonia to Scappoose to North Plains & back to Forest Grove (Oregon) - 96 miles, including 16 miles of very twisty gravel. Route is easily shortened. Perfect road for practicing your gravel skills.

  • From Highway 30, turn South onto Old Rainier Road / Old US Highway 30. In less than two miles, you will make a nasty uphill hairpin turn to go up Apiary Road. This gets you back to 47 at a point a few miles north of Vernonia.

  • Tillamook State Forest in Oregon, from Cochran Road and the town of Timber. It's a wonderful loop inside the forest - easy in terms of road conditions, as long as it's dry and hasn't been raining too much previously (packed gravel and dirt, very gentle inclines) but not in terms of staying to the main gravel roads - things aren't marked very well. No OHV permit required if you stay on the main gravel roads.

  • Columbia Gorge Motorcycle Route on WA-14 & Historic Columbia River Highway To Maryhill (Stonehenge) & back, 200+ miles
Astoria is a nice day trip, as is the route around Mt. Hood and Detroit Lake, and very easy to map out yourself - though I prefer all of the above to those, probably because there's less traffic and more twisting roads.

A route I still haven't mapped is to various Oregon Covered bridges.

I also haven't mapped out a very decent, short route around St. Paul - will have to go into my archives to find it.

Of course, there's even more possibilities, if you include forest roads, but I'm still a novice when it comes to dirt and gravel. Also, if you do choose forest roads, remember that some trails require an OHV permit.

Your suggestions for additional routes would be welcomed by me!
  My husband, Stefan Dietz, an experienced adventure motorcycle travelers, designs and sells aluminum top boxes and side panniers. They are tough, light-weight, and affordable. They are German-designed and made in the USA! All available in custom sizes.

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

This small top box is 20 liter (5.3 gallon)

400 x 250 x 200 mm
(15 34" x 9 34" x 7 34")

1.6 mm (116") thick aluminum

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

That's my motorcycle as the model. All top boxes and panniers:
  • are completely welded, not glued or riveted
  • have a lid with four loops to fasten more luggage, & lid is completely removable, making loading / unloading much easier
  • tie down hooks which can each be locked with a small padlock
  • gasket in the lid makes the boxes waterproof
  • all attachment parts (loops, tie down hooks, and screws) are made of stainless steel
  • all corners and bends are rounded
  • light weight - top box is 2.3 kg (5 pounds)
All boxes and panniers are available in custom sizes. Spare parts available.

Also see:

Tips for Women: Getting Started as a Motorcycle Rider (just to ride, not necessarily to travel as well)

For Women Who Travel By Motorcycle (or want to)

Advice for Women Motorcycle Travelers: Transportation and Accommodations Choices

Advice for Women Motorcycle Travelers: Suggested Books and Web Sites

From Oregon to the "Lost Coast" of Northern California (Horizons Unlimited 2010 California meeting) - August 2010

Oh, Canada...Two-Week Canada/USA Tour by Motorcycles (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho) - September 2010

Oregon, Idaho, Yellowstone, & More - June 2011

Crater Lake, Oregon 2011 (photos only)

Disclaimer
Any activity incurs risk. The author assumes no responsibility for the use of information contained within this document.

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