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The Astoria Riverwalk, also known as the Astoria River Trail, stretches along part of the Astoria & Columbia River Railroad, providing a lively, nonmotorized tour of the city's waterfront. Along the way, you'll find museums, restaurants, breweries, and interpretive kiosks, as well as a 1913 trolley (open March–December) that offers a historical narrative of the area, home to the one of the oldest European American settlements in the West. The shore is also an important site where 20,000 birds may gather each year during fall migration.
The Astoria & Columbia River Railroad completed laying its tracks in the area in 1898, later to be acquired by the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway. The railway became popular with weekend tourists heading to the coast. The timber industry kept it running into the early 1990s, and the city's waterfront revitalization effort opened the first trail section in 1995.
You can access the trail almost anywhere along its length, or begin at the western trailhead at the Port of Astoria, home to hundreds of ships. The route takes you under the 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge, the longest continuous three-span through-truss bridge in North America. Here, you can take in stunning river views, as well as the Maritime Memorial, which pays tribute to the area's seafaring history and locals lost at sea. Beware! The Columbia is as dangerous to ships as it is beautiful to the eye. Since 1846, bar pilots have leapt from tugs (and in modern times, also helicopters) onto ships to guide them across the river’s treacherous shifting sandbars at this "Graveyard of the Pacific."
As you make your way east, you'll come to a loading point for these famous pilots. You can also visit a number of nearby shipwrecks; learn more at the world-class Columbia River Maritime Museum at 17th Street. As you continue your journey, you'll pass a chorus of barking sea lions lounging underneath the trestles and basking on the docks at 36th Street. The trail ends at the lagoons near Tongue Point.
To get to Astoria, take US 30 west or US 101 north. To reach the Port of Astoria, from US 101, after crossing the bridge, go 0.5 mile on Marine Drive. Or, from US 30, after crossing the John Day River, continue on US 30 for 6.9 miles. Turn north onto Portway Street, and take the second left onto Gateway Avenue. Parking can be found at the Maritime Memorial (200 W. Marine Drive) adjacent to the Astoria-Megler Bridge, as well as at the museum and along most streets parallel to the trail.
You'll find a gravel lot at the east end of the trail on Lagoon Road. From US 30, turn north onto 45th Street. After 0.2 mile, turn right onto Cedar Street. After 0.5 mile, turn left onto 51st Street. and make an immediate right onto Birch Street, which turns left and becomes 53rd Street and then turns right to become Alder Street. Alder Street turns into Lagoon Road, and in less than 0.5 mile after turning onto Birch Street, you will see the gravel lot on your left.
In September of 2013 my wife and I biked the Astoria Riverwalk from end to end. For a couple of newly retired southern California teachers, it was our first out of California bike ride. (We're determined to bike in all fifty states, and this trail got us off to a good start.)
We had to dodge the occasional walker, trolley, car, dog walkers, deal with some treacherous gaps in boards, and even a brief shower, but the joys of the ride far outweighed some minor inconveniences.
There are wonderful and spectacular views of the Columbia River, clean air, charming Astoria architecture, seals, wild blackberries, a coast guard base, history galore, and the piece de resistance: the Columbia River Maritime Museum where we parked our bikes and spent a couple of hours.
It's a short, flat, easy, scenic, historical experience perfect for families and/or those who like to travel at a leisurely pace.
We were inspired to ride this trail thanks to an article in an issue of Rails To Trails magazine several years ago, and we were not disappointed. It was definitely a morning well spent!
We enjoy this path as local residents.... While there are some short sections along the cannery area that remain planks.. It is still a very fun and welcomed route for all abilities to utilize.
I had been really looking forward to riding my bike along this trail, hadn't walked it so I had no idea what was in store for me... but it did say you could ride a bike on it so how bad could it be. I was towing my dog in a trailer and it started out fine, some paved and some areas you had to cross the rr tracks and had to ride on the boards between. Then there were areas that you could only travel between the tracks and that was the problem. The gaps in the boards going the same direction as the tires were so wide that even with a mountain bike you would fall in! They stuck 2x4's in some holes but not all. First the trailer fell into a hole and then my front tire, throwing me off and to the ground. Swollen wrist and bruised hip! My husbands tire also went into a large crack but just feel straight and got stuck. Needless to say we never made it to the end. If they want this to be a bike trail then they best do something with the boards or have between the tracks only walking and outer areas widened so that a bike can safely travel.
Great route for flat, easy, and scenic mileage. Point-to-point (without the little spur) is just short of 5 miles. Park on the either end for a 10 mile out-and-back. There are mileage markings on the path, but I have been unable to make any sense out of them.
Most of this trail shares a wooden walkway with a train trolley with tracks and wooden boards running in the SAME direction as you bike.
I crashed hard getting my wheel right between 2 boards with a wide gap between them. There are signs warning you about this issue, but I didn't see them until after I ate wood.
Anyway - just a warning. It's a very nice walk way, but not a recommended bike way.
One of my favorite rides. Perfect ride on a perfect day with so very much to see.
It's a leisurely ride and great for kids.
If you want to ride hard, Fort Stevens is the place, -my Favorite, -check it out.
Rode the trail along the riverfront for some great views if the ships, sea lions, various birds. Side path takes you through an older neighborhood before circling back to the trail. Great ride. Don't miss it if you're in Astoria
A great way to see Astoria is on a bike along the waterfront trail. Rent a bike if you have to but get out of your car and bike or walk this trail. You experience history of Astoria, some museums, the waterfront and great views. Truly enjoyed time in Astoria.
A trolley runs though it.
A river runs alongside it.
Welcome to the Astoria Riverwalk.
This is great a Family Fun ride along an old RR right of way on the Astoria waterfront. The trail starts on the west side of Astoria, half way down Pier 1 (which is made ground), over on Young’s Bay at the entrance town. It runs 6.1 miles to end on a trestle near the sewage lagoons on Tongue Point. Further would be nicer, but there is not much interest in touring the wastewater treatment plant. That’s just the way it is.
Before you go riding, there are two things you should do. First, ride the trolley. Second, visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum. On second thought, ride the trolley, ride the trail, then do the museum. Otherwise you will find you spent your ride time in the museum. The spacious museum parking lot is a good trail head and there is a trolley stop there.
@@@ THE ASTORIA RIVERFRONT TROLLEY
This is a Must Do. Take the restored 1913 trolley which runs down 2.6 miles of the trail. It’s a great way to see the sights. There are a number of covered trolley stops along the route. This runs during the summer and costs a dollar for a round trip. For two dollars you can ride it all day. For the SmartPhone crowd, there is a website which shows the real-time location of the trolley and its direction. This makes it handy to catch the trolley.
The Smart Move is to trailhead at the Maritime Museum, catch the trolley there and see the waterfront, then ride the trail and visit the museum.
PIER ONE - TRAIL END WEST, GE: N46.18623 W123.86518
The trail has been extended to a turn around half way down the outer side of Pier 1, which is several acres of made ground by Young’s Bay. There is a small parking lot and you can trailhead here, but there are better options mid-trail. We will start the ride here and head towards Tongue Point.
From the trail end head down the pier to hit the RR grade behind the motel with a boat yard on the other side. Your next stop will be …
THE TROLLEY BARN, GE: N 46.18610 W 123.85822
This is the home of the restored trolley you see cruising up and down the trail. The last station is further east, so the barn is not included in the ride. Another 0.3 miles down the trail is a Port of Astoria parking lot which can be used for access. Ahead is the bridge over the Columbia and below the bridge is the…
THE GRAVEYARD OF THE PACIFIC - THE MEMORIAL PLAZA, GE: N46.18987 W123.84943
Here beneath the bridge are a series of walls with memorial plaques to the seamen who have died in these waters. The Columbia River Bar is titled “The Graveyard of the Pacific” for very good reason: it is. Almost two thousand wrecks litter these waters. To view the bar, head for Ft. Stevens State Park – and nine miles of bike trails.
This coast is a dead lee shore and a dangerous one to navigate. From San Francisco to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, there is not a single all-weather harbor of refuge. The harbors are set in the mouths of rivers with breaking bars. When the weather makes up, you are on a lee shore and the bar is probably breaking and impassible. You have few choices, all bad.
If you wish to trailhead here, there is a small parking lot. Across the tracks is part of Old Astoria – the Suomi Hall of the Finnish Brotherhood, estb. 1886. There is a trolley station here.
RIDING THOUGH THE OLD ASTORIA WATERFRONT…
Just around the bend from the memorial the trestles start. Much of Old Astoria was built on piles over the river. The trail goes through this history. You share the trestles with the trolley, so be prepared to pull over or out run it. Should not be hard to do.
The first sight is a set of plain white warehouses – full of salmon. When a brand wants x thousand cases of their brand - here is the fish. Just add a label and sell. And you wondered if there was a difference between Brand X and Brand Y. Sure is – the label.
Ride on – those piling you see were once canneries, net drying sheds, dives, rowdy groggeries and other waterfront businesses. Now there are restaurants and such. Notice the red stucco & brick building with the iron fire doors. Fire was always a concern on crowded wharfs atop flammable pilings. Just beyond is an observation tower for river viewing. It was closed in June 2011 because a fire had destroyed the adjacent set of shops. The ruins were still there at that time.
THE BAR PILOTS, GE: 46.189637 -123.825877
The bar pilots have been here since before Oregon was a state. As you ride on, take a note of the new quarters of the Columbia River Bar Pilots Association (1846). Their old station has been converted into commercial space and they have moved upriver towards the museum. Keeping up with the times, the pilots have commissioned a new chopper to join their pilot boats.
The old (1964) pilot boat Peacock is on display further along. She accommodated 12 pilots and crew. Take a look at it and visualize yourself standing on the deck there, preparing to make a leap for a ship’s accommodation ladder in the middle of a howling winter gale off the bar.
Sound like fun work? Being lowered by chopper has its attractions. In the Old Days, they were rowed out to meet the ship. Doesn’t that sound aerobic?
Just beyond the Pilot Station you will find one of the delights of the coast, the ...
COLUMBIA RIVER MARITIME MUSEUM, GE: 46.189464 -123.823014
(Insert superlatives here.)
This is a Must Do attraction. Just break down and do it. Here also is plenty of parking and a trolley station, so it makes a good trailhead for your exploration of Astoria.
Upriver of the museum the pilings and wharfs fade away and the ride is along a landscaped river front with interpretative signage at intervals.
@@@ SAFEWAY STATION, GE: N46.19290 W123.80848
The Safeway is a good commercial trailhead with a trolley station below the store. Plenty of parking, restrooms in the store, snacks on offer for your expedition, a warm, dry spot out of the rain, etc. What is not to like? The rain? Quite so.
TRAIL END EAST – ON THE TRESTLE, GE: N46.19835 W123.78314
Here is the end of the trail. Ahead is a block on the trestle. Ahead is the wastewater treatment plant. The trolley turnaround is far behind you. There is a lagoon to one side and the river to the other with field of broken piling. Time to retrace your ride to your trailhead. Time to go back to that cafe/brewery you saw near the salmon warehouses for some food and drink. Time to go.
Reading all the interpretative signs along the way.
"Very scenic, but way too short -- it doesn't go all the way to Tongue Point yet & at some spots you have to dodge around automobile traffic. Best place to park is at the Safeway on the East side of Astoria."
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