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Lower Nehalem Road and Foss Road, Oregon
Terrific adventure motorcycle riding day trip near Portland
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  This road (it really is one road, but has two names) follows the Nehalem River through the Cascade Range out to Nehalem Bay near Manzanita. You will be in Clatsop and Tillamook counties on this trip. Just this road is about 27 miles, and most of it is gravel, but easy gravel - if I can do it, anyone can. Unless gravel has just been put down, youíll be fine.

From Highway 26, the Lower Nehalem Road is paved for the first 6 miles, then turns to gravel - and becomes Foss Road. Excellent stopping points for photos or lunch are the xxx camp site and the Salmonberry Creek bridge. The bridge was built in 2012, replacing the one that washed out in 2007.

No services on this route: there are pit toilets at the campgrounds, but bring water and snacks (or lunch). Even on a clear, hot day in the valley, itís cool up here.

The last 6 miles of Foss Road are paved, and then it meets Miami Foley Road. Go right to state road 53 and, from there, turn left for the coast or go right and enjoy a gorgeous ride to 26 and back to Portland. If you take 26 back, know that, on a Sunday night, or on a Monday night at the end of a holiday weekend, 26 is insane: lots of traveling going way over the speed limit. Be careful!

Here's the route:


This is not a good ride for the Friday or Monday of a holiday weekend - there will be a LOT of people rushing to the campsites and fishing or trying to get home.

Want to go back to Portland on a longer, more scenic route? Take the Nestucca River Loop, but in reverse of how I've described it. To get there, make a left on Miami Foley Road - paved, winding and lovely. If you want something scenic but a bit quicker, then take state highway 6 back. 

To get to the Nehalem and Foss road route I've highlighted above, I highly recommend going to Forest Grove and, from there
  • Take OR-8 W/Gales Creek Rd. for 9 miles. You will go through the tiny town of Gales Creek.
  • Turn left onto OR-6 W/NW Wilson River Hwy (signs for Glenwood/Tillamook)
  • After 3.3 miles, make a slight right onto NW Timber Rd. Stay on NW Timber Road for about 20 miles. It's a very fun road - there are some hair pin turns (see below):

You will go through the tiny town of Timber, Oregon, which is perched on the side of a hill - two gnarly hairpins as you descend the steep hill will keep you awake!:
  • Make a slight left onto OR-47 N/Nehalem Hwy S, and take this for almost two miles
  • Turn right onto Bridge St/Follow signs to Vernonia - you will be on this road for 35.5 miles. It's a pretty ride. The city is a terrific place to stop for coffee, a snack or a meal.
Have lunch in Vernonia! It's a charming little town, and there's four or five places to choose from.

You want an aluminum top box, but the huge alu boxes of most sellers for one or even two helmets are too big for you, and too expensive?

My husband has designed an aluminium topcase just for you! (and for us, because it's what we wanted on our own bikes)

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

20 liter (5.3 gallon)

400 x 250 x 200 mm
(15 34" x 9 34" x 7 34")

1.6 mm (116") thick aluminium

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

Motorrad Aluminium Topcase

  • completely welded, not only glued or riveted
  • lid with four loops to fasten additional luggage
  • lid completely removable, which makes loading and unloading much easier
  • two tie down hooks, which can be locked with a small padlock each
  • gasket in the lid makes the aluminum box completely waterproof
  • all attachment parts (loops, tie down hooks, and screws) are made of stainless steel
  • all corners and bends are rounded
  • light weight, only 2.3 kg (5 pounds)
  • spare parts available
Also available in custom sizes.

And, yes, those side panniers are also available to order.

More Oregon and Washington suggested short motorcycle routes.

Also see: Disclaimer
Any activity incurs risk. The author assumes no responsibility for the use of information contained within this document.

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