Adventurous travelers, and those who live in the greater Portland, Oregon, metro area should without a doubt check out the Banks to Vernonia Trail. The twenty-one mile paved “rails to trails” pathway is sublime—easily as prismatic as were the images in Timothy Leary’s mind. The entire trail is closed to all motorized vehicles, only cyclists, runners, walkers, and equestrians are allowed.
T, our daughter, and I last cycled the trail in September 2011. It was a glorious day—notwithstanding my daughter frequently squirting my back with her hydration pack’s bite valve (nothing tempers an uphill sprint more than an unexpected dousing on the back of the neck). T road her Marin hybrid, and I assisted our daughter by connecting her Trail-a-Bike to my well-used Specialized mountain bike. We parked our car on the Banks end of the trail, and then road our bicycles twelve miles toward Vernonia before turning around. I had wanted to cycle all the way to Vernonia, thus making for a forty-two mile roundtrip, but alas we simply did not have time. Our daughter had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon. Our twenty-four mile excursion was still fantastic; we were even able to sneak in a picnic lunch at mile ten.
For Banks to Vernonia trail details visit the Oregon State Park website.