Portland, OR: Dutch Canyon 

Just outside the Portland and Vancouver city limits, this 53-mile, hill-country ride offers backwoods isolation, Cascade views, and a bit of a gravel-road climbing.

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Author: RaphaContinental
Date: 30 Dec 2008 10:33:25 AM
Activity: Bicycling
State: Oregon (OR)
Distance: 53.06 mi  (Change units)
Difficulty: 8 / 10
Tags: Oregon, Portland, Rapha Continental, Vancouver
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

Depart from St. Johns (a sleepy neighborhood northwest of Portland proper), crossing the St. Johns Bridge on a pedestrian path. The first challenge of the day is Newberry Road, a short, twisting, and stiff (10+ percent grades in spots) approach to Skyline Boulevard, the north-south spine of the route. Use caution dropping down Cornelius Pass on ill-repaired, sometimes gravel-strewn pavement. At the bottom, head north up Rock Creek, a dark and cool valley adorned with vine-covered hillsides and frozen-in-time vehicles.

After topping out at Skyline Drive (where the route returns), take another sometimes-sketchy descent down Rocky Point to US-30. Here the route jogs north and west right by Scappoose, and begins climbing Dutch Canyon, a beautiful river valley bordered by farm fields, cattle, and old broken homes. At mile 25.6, you’ll pick up Otto Miller and the finest 3-mile, gravel climb imaginable; this road rarely sees cars and is rideable most of the year. (The gravel continues for a ways after the top). On clear days, Mount St. Helens, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Hood can be seen from the saddle.

Descend the backside of the climb past working farms and ranches back towards Skyline and a remote, 18-mile return that rolls and pumps along the top of a ridge with views of the Coast Range to the west and Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens to the east. Pick up Germantown Road for one last iffy-descent back down towards the St. Johns Bridge.

-Mapped by
The Rapha Continental

Position Format: Datum:

Dutch Canyon

Distance: 53.06 mi Points: 1288
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
# Distance Instruction Distance to next
1 0.00 mi Start - From James John Cafe, head southeast on Lombard St. Then go 0.05 mi
2 0.05 mi Turn Right - Leavitt Ave. Then go 0.05 mi
3 0.10 mi Turn Right - Ivanhoe St. Then go 0.05 mi
4 0.15 mi Turn Left - St. Johns Bridge/US 30 Then go 0.78 mi
5 0.93 mi Turn Right - NW Bridge Ave. Then go 0.41 mi
6 1.34 mi Turn Left - US 30 Then go 2.67 mi
7 4.01 mi Turn Left - Newberry Rd. Then go 2.09 mi
8 6.10 mi Turn Right - Skyline Blvd. Then go 1.69 mi
9 7.79 mi Turn Left - Old Cornelius Pass Rd.; prepare for right turn onto Rock Creek Then go 0.35 mi
10 8.14 mi Turn Right - Rock Creek Rd. Then go 4.21 mi
11 12.35 mi Turn Left - Elliot Rd. Then go 0.62 mi
12 12.97 mi Turn Left - Skyline Blvd. Then go 4.62 mi
13 17.59 mi Turn Right - Rocky Point Rd. Then go 3.16 mi
14 20.75 mi Turn Right - Towards US 30 Then go 0.03 mi
15 20.78 mi Turn Left - US-30/St. Helens Rd Then go 1.67 mi
16 22.45 mi Turn Left - Bonneville Dr. Then go 0.03 mi
17 22.49 mi Turn Right - Old Portland Rd. Then go 0.62 mi
18 23.10 mi Turn Left - Dutch Canyon Rd. Then go 4.26 mi
19 27.36 mi Turn Left - Otto Miller Rd. Then go 2.61 mi
20 29.97 mi Straight - Continue on NW Otto Miller Rd. Then go 1.05 mi
21 31.02 mi Straight - Continue on Dixie Mountain Rd. Then go 3.96 mi
22 34.98 mi Turn Left - Rocky Point Rd. Then go 0.95 mi
23 35.93 mi Bear Right - Skyline Blvd. Then go 8.10 mi
24 44.04 mi Turn Left - Skyline Blvd. Then go 0.37 mi
25 44.41 mi Turn Right - Brooks Rd. Then go 0.75 mi
26 45.16 mi Turn Left - Kaiser Rd. Then go 1.78 mi
27 46.94 mi Turn Left - NW Germantown Rd. Then go 0.47 mi
28 47.41 mi Bear Right - Continue on Old Germantown Rd. Then go 2.24 mi
29 49.65 mi Straight - Continune on NW Germantown Rd. Then go 2.28 mi
30 51.93 mi Straight - Merge with NW Bridge Ave. Then go 0.29 mi
31 52.22 mi Turn Left - St. Johns Bridge/US 30 Then go 0.84 mi
32 53.06 mi Stop - James John Cafe

Points of Interest

James John Cafe

Location: 45.590213, -122.754536
Just east of the Willamette River, the James John Cafe is an ideal launch-point for this 53-mile, barbell-shaped loop. © Rapha

St. Johns Bridge

Location: 45.584611, -122.766209
The St. Johns Bridge viewed from a distance. © Rapha

Newberry Road

Location: 45.617399, -122.808995
Newberry is a 2-mile climb through the middle of Forest Park. It begins in earnest the second you leave Highway 30 and with every turn in the road the pitch gets steeper and longer until the middle, when it kicks up to a double-digit grade for several hundred yards; the second half thankfully backs off for an easy, wooded climb to the top. © Rapha

Cornelius Pass Descent

Location: 45.608153, -122.864227
The first of several chunked-up descents, the drop down Cornelius Pass includes a bit of dodgy pavement, and a quick right turn onto Rock Creek Road. On the return trip, stay on Skyline.

Rock Creek Colors

Location: 45.617459, -122.887573
© Rapha

Il Hustler

Location: 45.638587, -122.897615
The name says it all; this abandoned truck (one of a few in Rock Creek) might as well be a 200-year-old redwood. © Rapha

Rocky Point Descent

Location: 45.698027, -122.909203
This fast and sketchy (but doable) descent alternates between steep and sandy switchbacks and flat-out 45-mph straight-aways. Use caution.

Sweet Tooth Option 1

Location: 45.730779, -122.875772
Just before turning off US-30 onto Bonneville Drive, the route passes a gas station well-stocked with sugary carbs. © Rapha

Dutch Canyon

Location: 45.740813, -122.888775
Leaving Scappoose, the route heads west up Dutch Canyon, a beautiful river valley bordered on the right by steep hillsides and old broken homes and on the left by farms and fields dotted with cows, alpacas, and horses.

Dutch Canyon

Location: 45.747881, -122.935638
Enjoying the pavement on Dutch Canyon (in advance of Otto Miller Road). © Rapha

Otto Miller Road

Location: 45.740154, -122.961302
One of the finest stretches of gravel road you'll find, this 3-mile chunk of Otto Miller Road is rideable most of the year. © Rapha

Otto Miller Gravel

Location: 45.734463, -122.970142
An ant's eye view of one of the looser sections of Otto Miller Road.

Gravel Blur

Location: 45.739106, -122.980743
The gravel continues over the top of the Otto Miller climb. Use caution in the corners. © Rapha

Sweet Tooth Option 2

Location: 45.582989, -122.799254
You'll have another chance to reward yourself for a ride well done at an ice cream pit stop at the intersection of Skyline and Germantown Road. © Rapha

Por Que No?

Location: 45.548228, -122.675529
Heading back to Portland? Stop off a Por Que No for some of the best local Mexican food around; try the Bryan's Bowl with carnitas. © Rapha


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