“When people mention biking in Forest Park, they often mean Leif Erikson Drive.”
— Brock Warner
Forest Park has very specific bike-legal trails. Be sure to stay on these:
Leif Erikson Drive, Saltzman Road
, Springville Road
, BPA Road
, Newton Road
, Holman Lane
, Firelane 1
, Firelane 3
, Firelane 5
, Firelane 10
, Firelane 12
, and Firelane 15
Family Friendly: Close to the city, no obstacles and gradual inclines.
When people talk about biking of any kind in Forest Park, they are likely talking about Leif Erikson Drive. This nearly 11-mile long gravel doubletrack serves as the main artery for two wheels in Forest Park. Most of the other bike-legal trails connect to this gravel road.
Parking is at either end, but the northern trailhead has a larger lot. However, it's a little out of the way. The southern trailhead is at the end of a neighborhood street and so it can be tight and cramped.
Never super steep, this can be a leisurely pedal after work or school, or a way to get in some miles during the rainy winter. The southern half is a more steady or consistent grade, while the northern half is a little more rolling up and down. Note that these are minor differences. The doubletrack is always broad and has plenty of room for a few bikes and a few runners to pass each other, but still practice good trail etiquette and announce yourself. Expect lots of runners, hikers, and some dogs.
Although it is lacking in views (you get one tiny view of half of the Saint Johns Bridge) the forest is nice and calming. Big leaf maples, douglas fir, and the other usual trees of this part of Oregon line the roadway and make for nice scenery.
Even though there are a lot of mountain bikes on the trail, it could be argued this is best ridden on a cyclocross or gravel bike; suspension of any kind is not needed and the weight difference can help rack up the miles. Just about any kind of bike can ride on this, although the skinniest and baldest of road tires may not have as much fun.