Six miles of new trails to open Memorial Day weekend at Rocky Point

Written by Jered Bogli

What does six miles of trail look like? Six miles is the distance from the Leif Erickson Thurman Gate to the picnic table at the junction with Saltzman Road. Six miles is the distance from the Pearl District to the St. John’s bridge or from the Sellwood Bridge to the Broadway bridge along the East side Willamette bike path. Six miles is a lot of new trail.

New trails don’t just appear out of nowhere. They depend upon dedicated trail stewards, crew leaders, volunteers, and contractors. The Northwest Trail Alliance has been building and maintaining trails in the Portland area for over 30 years and has a proven track record of getting the job done for the mountain biking community.

The work this winter at Rocky Point was accomplished with a mix of:

  • Hand-building (3.75 miles done by volunteers – multiple trails)
  • Machine-building (1.25 miles done by volunteers – 2 trails)
  • Professional trail building (1 mile of contracted design and machine building – 2 trails)

The NWTA has been hard at work from November 2020 through May 2021 to create these new riding opportunities at Rocky Point. Public trail-building sessions, capped at 10 participants and one crew leader due to COVID restrictions, were held every Saturday. In addition, several smaller volunteer crews regularly worked on trail maintenance and new trail projects. This adds up to over 4000 volunteer hours over the winter—a staggering amount of work. For perspective, that’s the equivalent of one person putting in 40-hour work weeks for TWO YEARS. 

The new trails extend deeper into the Southside of Rocky Point, providing connectivity between existing trails. This facilitates longer rides with more variety of loops. A rider can comfortably ride more than 10 miles on the Southside without riding the same trail twice. A newly established Highline trail, sitting 1000 feet above sea level, makes deeper terrain more accessible and will serve as the main entry point to multiple trails in the future.

Starting this month, the Northwest Trail Alliance is already moving ahead with more professional building at Rocky Point. By next spring, they will add three new trails in the clear-cut area near the Switchblade trail. This area will feature one uphill trail and a blue and black downline. Rocky Point Trail Stewards are doing trail planning and flagging in partnership with Chris Bernhardt from C2 Recreation. For the build, the NWTA is working with two builders who have constructed many of your favorite trails at Post Canyon and Sandy Ridge. Great things are in the pipeline. Stay tuned for more information on this amazing new project.

Crews are still out fine-tuning the new trails and making final adjustments, so please avoid riding these until Memorial Day weekend. If you see a closed sign, DO NOT RIDE THE TRAIL.

The NWTA appreciates its members. Your membership is what builds these trails and makes the NWTA more visible locally to our elected leaders. To continue legally riding the trails, please make sure your Northwest Trail Alliance membership is up to date and that a signed waiver is on file for you.

See you Memorial Day Weekend at Rocky Point.

Read here to learn more about Rocky Point. To get involved and help the Local Stewardship Team that maintains the trails; please head to our trail team page here. *** The NWTA Rocky Point Recreation Area is a leased property. NWTA members in good standing, have signed the online Rocky Point Waiver, have access to the area. To Become an NWTA member, head here: JOIN US!***

The Northwest Trail Alliance is a nonprofit organization advocating for access to trails, building trails, and maintaining trails for over 30 years. Serving roughly a 60-mile radius extending from the Oregon coast, into parts of Southern Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St Helens National Monument, and to the Western foothills of Mount Hood National Forest, while working with approximately 10 federal, state, county, and municipal land management agencies, as well as private land managers. To get involved or learn how to become a member, head HERE.

Questions? Email [email protected]