A Ride of Firsts – Oregon City and The Trolley Trail

In Places & Neighborhoods by lratzlaff0 Comments

It seems like every bike ride brings a new discovery. It’s just so easy to explore new and interesting cool places in the Portland area by bicycle. Last month I took a really fun bike ride of firsts. It once again reminded me why I love living in Portland so much and how much the area has to offer if we just take a look.

A MAX First

It was the first time I put my bike on MAX. Yes, after over 8 years here, it took me this long to ride MAX with my bicycle. I think I was partly unsure how it would work, and partly unsure what benefit it would bring.

As it turned out, it was relatively easy to put your bike on MAX. It also was incredibly beneficial. Using MAX really extends the places where you can ride your bike in the area without getting in your car. It was also the first time I was on the new MAX Orange Line. We hopped on the Orange Line at SE Clinton and rode to the end of the line at Park Avenue in Milwaukie, where we easily connected with the relatively new Trolley Trail.

The Trolley Trail. Map Source Metro

The Trolley Trail

The Trolley Trail is a multi-use path that runs along the path of the old trolley line to Oregon City. According to Trail Link, the now 6-mile trail is part of a master plan to connect with Oregon City and the Springwater Corridor. It was a beautiful multi-use path, meandering by parks and schools, but with a few tricky street crossings. It was my first time on this path, but it won’t be my last.

Gladstone Surprise: The trail terminates in Gladstone. We stopped at a little cafe in downtown Gladstone for a beverage, and what a treat! We got a chance to talk to some locals and had a birds-eye view of the fully restored Flying A Gas Station.

I felt like I had stepped back in time and partly expected Andy Griffith to walk down the street.

Photo Source: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

The Elevator of Oregon City

From there we headed over to Oregon City, partly along multi-use paths and along a few bike lanes on busier roads. Once again, I got to step back in time. I had no idea until a few days before the ride that Oregon City has a public elevator that takes you from downtown Oregon City to the top of the ridge! Built in 1913 as an hydraulic elevator, it was remodeled in 1955 and converted to an electric elevator. It looks much the same today, and is one of only 4 public elevators in the World.

We took our bikes for a ride up and down the elevator. I felt like I was in a movie set or perhaps even a queue for a ride in Disneyland. The 50’s aesthetic remains, and there’s even an elevator operator inside. This is not a self-serve elevator! There’s this great little vista house at the top, with amazing views of the river and the town below. You must go see this. It’s incredible!

The day was warming, so we decided to head back instead of exploring Oregon City further. We altered our return trip just a bit, and rode along the new bike paths from the Park Avenue MAX station to downtown Milwaukie. This is now an easy and pleasant ride along the new multi-use path down to the Milwaukie waterfront. What a great way to explore new areas, and I’ll go back again.

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