Author Topic: Travel info Portland to Seattle  (Read 5247 times)

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Offline awbikes

Travel info Portland to Seattle
« on: February 20, 2012, 11:36:57 pm »
Can anyone give route info for riding from Portland to Seattle. Traffic, scenery ,hills, shoulders, bike lanes etc. how about weather also for first week of June. I am from Florida and am unfamiliar with area, I plan to be in san francisco will Amtrack to Portland and then ride north.

Offline ride1948

Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 12:53:03 am »
There’s a well known group ride organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club called the STP, (Seattle to Portland).  It’s about 200 miles give or take depending on where you start and finish in the cities. If you Google STP you should be able to access the map, then just reverse the directions. It might not be the most direct route but it depends on your goals. 
  http://shop.cascade.org/sites/default/files/STP-Route-Map-2011_web.pdf
It uses a combination of light traffic roads and bike paths; I found it to be an enjoyable ride and the map will aid you in additional information.  June 1st in the Pacific Northwest you can count on a good possibility of rain.         

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 11:10:23 am »
The STP is a mostly drab route, but there are some changes you can make to the route to enhance it. Taking the reverse of the STP brings you along OR-30 and over the Longview bridge, which is not really a pleasant experience. OR-30 has a wide shoulder, but it is highway.

I suggest going over the I-205 or I-5 bridge into Vancouver and riding north on the WA side. There is a scenic route that you can take all the way to Centralia. I suggest staying at the McMenamins in Centralia. They are bike-friendly, although you will have to hump your bike up a narrow staircase into your room.

From Centralia, I jump on the Yelm-Tenino Trail (in Tenino) and ride to Tacoma, jump on the Vashon Island Ferry. Camp out at Vashon Ranch (only legal camping on Vashon Island). Take the ferry into Seattle.

Prepare for damp conditions that time of year and expect a prevailing northerly wind.

If you need a place to stay when you get to Portland, look me up on WarmShowers.org.
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Online adventurepdx

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Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 12:07:12 pm »
The STP is a mostly drab route, but there are some changes you can make to the route to enhance it. Taking the reverse of the STP brings you along OR-30 and over the Longview bridge, which is not really a pleasant experience. OR-30 has a wide shoulder, but it is highway.

I suggest going over the I-205 or I-5 bridge into Vancouver and riding north on the WA side...Prepare for damp conditions that time of year and expect a prevailing northerly wind.

Second the STP routing. It's the most direct way between the two cities. As waynemyer states, it isn't a particularly thrilling route, but I don't think any direct bike route between Seattle and Portland is going to be more exciting. I like it o.k. but it's a mix of woods, farms, and small towns, at least until you reach Seattle metro area around Spanaway. (You really don't encounter Portland's suburban sprawl using US 30.) And it's fairly flat to rolling, with only a couple decent hills.

I rode the Longview (Lewis and Clark) Bridge once and wouldn't do it again. Long, steep, narrow, littered with logging debris. The routing to avoid it and get over the Washington side is here:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Vancouver-to-Longview-WA
It's pretty low traffic and rolling for the most part, using quite a bit of old US 99. However, there is a monster of a hill north of Woodland, between mileposts 27 and 31 on the map. Since I-5 plowed over old US 99 here, this is the only way around it, unless you hop on I-5 for this section (yes, it's legal.)

As for wind, I've ridden northbound this way in May/June and didn't remember much of a headwind. The wind inland isn't as bad as the coast. Of course I say that now and the next time I ride this I'll get the fierce headwind.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 12:47:47 am »
Have to disagree with the two previous posters.  I thought the STP was a great route and would do it again.  Most was rural with regular friendly small towns.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline bogiesan

Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 08:22:34 am »
Can anyone give route info for riding from Portland to Seattle. Traffic, scenery ,hills, shoulders, bike lanes etc. how about weather also for first week of June. I am from Florida and am unfamiliar with area, I plan to be in san francisco will Amtrack to Portland and then ride north.

the regular STP route, in reverse, might be delightful for an out-of-towner but, as others have tried to point out, it's the most direct route that doesn't include freeways. If you're willing to get off that line ony ten or twenty miles to the east, you'll see much more interesting country. If you go forty miles up the Columbia before you turn north you will pass through several different climate and vegetative zones on the way to Seattle. Heck,riding from San Francisco to Portland loks liek a fabulous trip (I've never done it myself).

Weather? You're on an inland stretch of the coastal wind patterns. You can could be riding in 90F one day and fogged in the next and rain the next and 90 again. Hmm, another reaosn to consider moving inland a bit, the weather might be more stable.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Online adventurepdx

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Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 01:51:34 pm »
Have to disagree with the two previous posters.  I thought the STP was a great route and would do it again.  Most was rural with regular friendly small towns.

I never said I didn't like the STP routing. (Well, I'm not particularly fond of the urban stretch from Spanaway to Seattle.) I just said it wasn't thrilling, compared to say, the Oregon Coast or Columbia Gorge, two other rides in the vicinity. For me, riding the direct route between Portland and Seattle is usually more a matter of getting from point A to point B than the ride itself. But to each their own.

To mix it up a bit, one could take the ACA Pacific Coast Route from Castle Rock to Centralia. It stays east of I-5, whereas the STP stays west. It's pretty similar scenery, but has the advantage of going right past Lewis and Clark State Park, which has a hiker/biker site. Watch out for the dogs, though.

If I were to do it again any time soon, I would definitely try to integrate Vashon Island into the route like waynemyer suggests, or going for a easterly path along the Cascades like bogiesan proposes.

Offline awbikes

Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 09:40:47 am »
It's interesting how plans will change when you get info from those in the know. I believe we will now take train to Vancouver BC and ride the ACA route to Portland. I am not adverse to deviating off the ACA route so any additional input is welcome. Thanks again to all.

Online adventurepdx

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Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 03:44:07 pm »
If you're going to use the ACA Pacific Coast Route from Vancouver BC to get to Portland, you can deviate from the route at Castle Rock, Washington. From Castle Rock to Kelso, where this route into Portland begins:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Vancouver-to-Longview-WA
you can use SR 411, the Westside Highway. It's got low-to-moderate traffic but no shoulder (traffic picks up closer to Kelso/Longview.)

Or you can use this route that uses the east side of the Cowlitz River:
http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=ph+10+and+hwy+411+castle+rock+wa&daddr=1st+and+allen+kelso+wa&hl=en&ll=46.213457,-122.887917&spn=0.051315,0.110378&sll=46.213655,-122.90048&sspn=0.20526,0.441513&geocode=FegbwgIdOHCs-CnF9ea1IwyUVDGG6_BxNP_MUw%3BFRAgwAIdnnKs-CktUOeavmyUVDH1-h_Qn6_kdw&dirflg=b&mra=ltm&t=m&z=13&lci=bike

I've done both routes. They're approximately the same length, 10-12 miles. The advantage to the 411/Westside route is it is more direct (one road) and shorter (10.5 miles). The advantage to the eastside route is less traffic and more scenic.

Have a fun ride!

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2012, 11:45:47 am »
If you're going to use the ACA Pacific Coast Route from Vancouver BC to get to Portland, you can deviate from the route at Castle Rock, Washington. From Castle Rock to Kelso, where this route into Portland begins:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Vancouver-to-Longview-WA
you can use SR 411, the Westside Highway. It's got low-to-moderate traffic but no shoulder (traffic picks up closer to Kelso/Longview.)
Just be prepared for the climb and descent between KM markers 44 and 50. The view is worth it, but it's a doozy. The first time I ever rode to Seattle in one shot, that climb had me burnt for the rest of the ride.
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Offline PeteJack

Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 12:59:36 pm »
Quote
Just be prepared for the climb and descent between KM markers 44 and 50. The view is worth it, but it's a doozy.
I'll second that. I did that stretch going south this summer. The hills are really fierce. Someone told me I couldn't have picked a worse route, they suggested going on I5 was better which may be easier riding but it is a freeway. The STP route will probably be fine except for the Longview Bridge: steep, no shoulder, very busy, lots of trucks. For the STP ride itself they organize motor cycle escorts over the bridge (a sight to see).

Art Birkmeyer may be able to give you better guidance than me. Art lives in the Longview area

If you are taking the ACA route avoid Bremerton the place is nothing special and the traffic is terrible. Send me a PM when you are going to be in the area, if I'm around I'll show you an alternate that's more scenic.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 01:13:03 pm by PeteJack »