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Waterfront Park – Eastbank Esplanade Loop

  • Length:
    2.7 miles
  • Difficulty:
  • Nearby Cities:
  • Region:
    Greater Portland
  • Attributes:
    Bike Path, Flat, Urban Views

Elevation Chart

Stay Safe

In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.

Start south on The Esplanade 0.1 miles (190 meters)
Turn left toward SE Madison St 305 feet (93 meters)
Turn right on 0.1 miles (195 meters)
Head west on 0.2 miles (287 meters)
Turn right onto Bikepath 0.1 miles (168 meters)
Turn left on Waterfront Bike Trail 272 feet (83 meters)
Head north on Waterfront Bike Trail 0.8 miles (1303 meters)
Continue northeast on The Esplanade 0.1 miles (167 meters)
Slight right to stay on The Esplanade 0.1 miles (184 meters)
Continue straight to stay on The Esplanade 322 feet (98 meters)
Turn right to stay on The Esplanade 0.9 miles (1471 meters)

This unique downtown loop on the banks of the Willamette River offers some of Portland’s best city views and is a must-see for visitors. The paved route consists of a path through Waterfront Park on the west side and the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade on the other side. The Steel Bridge is the north connection across the river, with the Hawthorne Bridge at the south end.

The west side meanders past the Salmon Street Springs, beelines through the riverside park and even bisects the site of the thriving Saturday Market (actually, it’s open on Sundays, too). The east side is a clever combination of floating sections, ramps and concrete pathway. From this side you can enjoy spectacular water-level views of downtown.

On the map shown here, the starting point is the end of SE Salmon Street, a convenient place to access this loop – but there are countless other places to connect. Because this route doesn’t follow actual streets, the mapping software won’t show it – but you can, easily, by paying attention to signs and general direction.

The adventurous can extend this ride in a couple ways. On the east side, instead of taking the ramp up to the Hawthorne Bridge, you can continue south past the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (slow down here!) and connect to the Springwater Corridor, which parallels the river for several miles before turning east and heading 20+ miles out toward Mt. Hood.

On the west, you can also head south from the Hawthorne Bridge. With some navigating savvy, you can make your way via paths and streets to the South Waterfront, where you can actually put your bike on a tram car and head up the hill for some downhill fun back to the river.

Note: This is a heavily used path, for all kinds of locomotion. Don’t expect to go fast, and please be considerate of everyone around you.

Motorized Vehicle Traffic: None – but lots of nonmotorized.

Seasons: All

Photos of this Ride


  1. Pretty cool, for what it is. Beware of joggers rockin’ their iPods.

  2. The West Side was created when Portland tore out the Harbor Drive Freeway. Also look for the: Battleship Oregon Memorial, the Japanese American Historical Plaza, and a sculpture by Jim Gion, called Songs of Innocence, songs of Experience.

  3. I love this ride

  4. I love this ride. On the eastside of the river anyway. All the way out to Powell Butte.

  5. Is this whole route lit at night?

  6. Hi Elsie,

    The route is lit at least partially on both the east and west sides of the river.

  7. […] what I got – doh! – I met an old friend for coffee and a 12 mile bike ride around the Portland Esplanade and down onto the Springwater Corrider to Sellwood. The upper coffee is mine – topped with […]

  8. […] Run or walk the Waterfront Loop:  If you need some exercise, walk or run the waterfront loop.  It’s just less than 3 miles to complete the loop between the Hawthorne and Steel Bridges.  The view and trail is best from the east side of the river. […]

  9. […] 9: Esplanade Loop; Stumptown Coffee Roasters 11: Powell City of Books; QUIN; CACAO 1: Kargi Gogo; his pick! 2: Rogue […]

  10. […] I woke up later than normal yesterday about 9 a.m. (That cushioned bed makes me want to sleep for days!) After browsing through a few suggestions of things to do in the city via your Twitter suggestions, I decided to go for a run at Waterfront Loop. […]

  11. […] details about this loop can be found HERE – keep in mind that the starting and ending points are different than those listed […]

  12. […] a 3 mile loop that bikers, runners and walkers can take along Portland’s Waterfront Park ( It allows you to see the Portland skyline and walk both the Hawthorne and Steel bridges. We got […]

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