From our friends at evo, a skate shop, bike shop, surf shop, wake shop, ski/snowboard shop, camping store, and lifestyle retailer all under one roof.[Editor’s Note for Summer 2020: Check the location’s website for the latest updates on closures or changes before heading out. Follow social distancing best practices and prepared to be flexible with your plans if you find an area to be crowded.]
Portland might have a reputation for hipsters and artisanal, free-trade donuts, but look past the stereotypes, and you’ll find a veritable mecca of mountain biking, with something for everyone in the family. From a mountain bike perspective, Portland really has it all: interesting trails for a wide variety of skill levels, great mountain bike shops, bike paths that make getting around town easy, and a bustling and diverse city to explore after you’re done riding.
New to mountain biking? We’d highly recommend looking into mountain bike rentals from a local bike shop like evo Portland for the whole crew. After all, mountain bikes can be a hefty investment – especially if you’re not yet sure that this is something you and your family want to commit to. That said, if your kids already have bike helmets that they like, it can be worth bringing your own to avoid any potential for uncomfortable meltdown.
Once you’ve got your bikes wrangled and loaded up, Portland and its surrounding green space will greet you with a plethora of family-friendly options. The Gateway Green is a great place to start. While the Gateway Green is a relatively young bike area, at only 2 years old, it’s a great place to get back up to speed. The 24-acre park utilizes a previously unused plot of land between two freeways and features miles of singletrack, pump tracks, paved trails, and jump lines.
The Gateway Green is open from 7 am till 10 pm every day, and caters to a broad range of mountain bikers. Kids just learning to ride on their own will appreciate the mellow singletrack options, those who have the BMX bug can get their rhythm on in the pump tracks, and older kids will appreciate the range of dirt jumps. And for parents there’s a cyclocross course, as well as more advanced mountain bike features. The Gateway Green area is free to anyone to use, and is the perfect place to get everyone acclimated without leaving the more experienced riders feeling bored.
Next on the itinerary is the Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park. The Lumberyard is a great backup option if weather ruins your plans to ride outside, but it also just plain deserves a visit in its own right. The Lumberyard is a 70,000 square foot indoor bike park, with a skatepark and scooter area in the basement, and an outdoor zone with bigger jumps, and a full size airbag for practicing tricks. It’s open 9 am-9 pm on weekdays, and 9 am-10pm on weekends. The Lumberyard does a good job packing a lot of features appropriate for a wide range of abilities into a small space.
Even the youngest riders will feel comfortable on the Lumberyard’s mellow Green Line, with a wide range of trails that build from there for riders looking to test their skills. The Lumberyard also offers camps and clinics, for children and adults. So if you’re trying to get a little parent ride time without the kids, drop them off at camp for a few hours and get out and ride with your partner.
One of the best parts about riding in Portland is that you’re never that far from a bike shop. Run into an issue or need a bike repair? There’s probably a great shop nearby.
For those looking to go on longer rides outside of the bike park, there are plenty of options close to town. Leif Erikson Drive is a 22.5 mile long mixed gravel and dirt trail that travels through Forest Park. Your family can ride as much or as little as you like, depending on energy levels, and much of the trail treats riders to great views of downtown Portland.
Powell Butte offers another singletrack experience within the city limits. It can be ridden in either direction, with some climbs and descents that will challenge but not frustrate more competent young riders.
Finally, it might not be mountain biking proper, but the Marine Drive path deserves an evening spin. This paved, multi-use path offers stunning views of Mt Hood, close to downtown.
So what are you waiting for? Start queueing up those awesome mountain biking videos on YouTube, get your kids excited, arrange any necessary bike rentals, and get everyone outside to explore yet another perk of the city of bridges. The great proximity, variety, and all-around accessibility of mountain biking in Portland make it a great place for outdoor-minded families, young and old!
About the Author
evo is a surf shop, bike shop, skate shop, wake shop, ski/snowboard shop, camping store, and lifestyle retailer all under one roof. In addition to retail, we provide bike repairs, mountain bike rentals, and more! With flagship stores in Portland, Seattle, Denver, and soon to be Whistler and Salt Lake City, all evo locations proudly showcase evo’s trademark blend of sport, culture, art, retail and service.