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Bicycle & Pedestrian Car Free Path
The Trolley Trail - Portland to Oregon City (via Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Gladstone) (and beyond ... West Linn, Lake Oswego ... or connect to Gresham routes)
Following on old streetcar line, the six-mile Trolley Trail connects with other regional trails between Portland, Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City, West Linn, Lake Oswego and Gresham.
It is a new piece of our trail system with helpful signs along the way to guide you. It has been there for a long time to knowing users of the sometimes hard to find connections and dirt paths which could get very muddy in the winter. Now mostly paved the entire way with education interpretation markers, public art, and several parks that are along the way.
The six mile rail-to-trail takes you from Milwaukie, through Oak Grove, to Gladstone wbere you can hang out on the Clackamas River and follow the back path in to Oregon City. ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) has been planning a bicycle and pedestrian bridge in Oregon City to connect to West Linn. For now, cyclists and pedestrians use the main historic bridge over the Willamette River from down town Oregon City.
The historic Trolley Trail was the Portland Street Car route beginning in 1893, until that ended in 1968. Milwaukie has the Trolley Museum if you like to see cool pictures and even what an old Trolley car looked like in person. You can definitely connect through lots of history through these short 6 miles, and even go to McLoughlin House / Fort Vancouver in Oregon City, up the Oregon City Municipal elevator (which they call a vertical street) with great views and even more history.
You can also find convenient bicycle repair stations along the way. One is over by the Milwaukie light rail Max Station (near the cart pod too which is convenient if you want a meal or refreshment). Another is located in the old Oak Grove town square along the Trolley Trail as you cross Oak Grove Blvd. which includes all the tools necessary to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance with Screwdrivers, Allen wrenches and box wrenches so cyclists can change a flat tire, adjust brakes and put air in tires.
The Trolley Trail provides a great connection for folks at both ends of the Springwater Trail. For distance runners, bicycle riders, or triathletes needing to get their miles in, this will help create a lot of connected trails which are not shared with cars. The trail also provides communities all along these loops with quick and easy recreational access - a safe place for kids to learn to ride bikes, or run and get the wiggles out. The trail is handicap accessible, whereas it used to be a dirt trail, the new improvements are great for everyone, and also help the year round accessibility and use of the trail which used to get a little muddy and boggy.
The Trolley Trail ends in Gladstone at Portland Avenue, where you can connect with the Clackamas River and the parks along it. Or cross over the Clackamas River on the pedestrian bridge and head over to Oregon City or even West Linn, or even to another huge park the Clackamette Park where the Clackamas River meets the Willamette River.
The city of West Linn has provided this handy bicycle map which is meant to be easy to print out. On the second page you will see their suggested bike routes with the type of bicycle infrastructure noted (sharrow, bike lane, bicycle path, or identify slower roads vs. high traffic roads so that you can plan your best route).
The history of the trail, not just the Trolley, but in making it a multi-use trail for bicycle riders, pedestrians, walkers, runners, commuters, etc. goes way back as well - to the deep 1970's.
Since the early 1970s, there has been consistent interest in turning the right of way into a walking and cycling path. Over the years, says Metro trails planner MelHuie, the Trolley Trail has been added to "nearly every plan we have" – blueprints for trails, transportation and regional growth.
Making a great place - Trolley Trail - OregonMetro.gov
In 1971, the Oregon State Highway Division made plans to convert the corridor into a bicycle-pedestrian trail. In 1974, a feasibility study was conducted to explore using the corridor as a demonstration project for the region's first light rail line. Light rail within the Trolley corridor was dropped from consideration due to strong community opposition. Visions for different uses of the corridor continued to resurface over the years until 2001 when Metro and North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD) purchased the old rail right-of-way for a future trail.