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Forest Grove through Vernonia & Birkenfeld to Jewell, Oregon
About 80 miles (one way) from PDX, all paved

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The ride from Forest Grove, Oregon through Venonia to Jewell, and beyond, is one of my very favorite day motorcycle rides in all of Northern Oregon, East or West. The roads are winding and low-traffic, the forests and other scenery are beautiful, the curves are super fun but not overwhelming, and there are places to stop along the way to take in the scenery or get a bite to eat. It also feels like a completely different ride from season to season. The route I've mapped at left and below, and most of the back-to-Portlandia routes I've detailed at the end of the page, are entirely paved.

From Jewell, you can go on to Astoria, or to Seaside, or turn around and go back to Portland.

This is also a great route if you want something scenic to get you to the Oregon Coast for an overnight stay. Quite honestly, I love this route so much more than 101 anywhere along the Oregon Coast in the middle of the north of the state - I get tired of the traffic and traffic lights.

The only downside of this route is that, to make it a loop, you have to either take a major, really busy road back to Portland - US Highway 30, US Highway 26 or State Highway 6 - or, you have to ride about 30 miles of gravel (via Foss Road / Nehalem Road to Foss Road), and add about 120 miles to your overall trip. I loathe 30 and 26, especially on Sunday late afternoons - they are slammed with traffic, as everyone's trying to get back to PDX from the coast. People forget all laws and common sense on these roads at these times, so if you come back via those routes, especially after noon on the weekends, please be very, very careful, and be on the lookout for wrecks and stopped traffic up ahead, especially around blind corners.

Most motorcycle riders will be coming from Portland to get to this Vernonia-Jewell route, and if so, you certainly could cut out Forest Grove and Timber, but I think that's a huge mistake. If you do that, then you are missing some awesome riding. Trust me: if you are coming from Portland, get off of 26 at North Plains, get over to Forest Grove, and start the route from there.

Here is the route from Safeway in Forest Grove just to Jewell and 26 - about 80 miles.
  • If you are meeting up with others for the ride, the Bi-Mart parking lot in Forest Grove is a better meetup point than Safeway, because the Bi-Mart parking lot is significantly less crazy. Either are good places to load up on snacks and drinks, but if you stop in Safeway, have someone look after the bikes while you are inside - there are a lot of people that will take whatever they can get off of your bike.
  • From Forest Grove, take OR-8 W/Gales Creek Rd. for 9 miles. This will take you through FoGro, past Pacific University, and on a big curve right out of town. After a bit of rural scenary, you will go through the tiny town of Gales Creek. Altogether, it's a nice, easy, rural, and often, very pretty ride.
  • The road ends at OR-6 W/NW Wilson River Hwy. Make a left (signs for Glenwood/Tillamook). On a beautiful Friday or Saturday, traffic will be VERY thick, as people head to the coast, so be really careful making that left hand turn. 
  • After 3.3 miles on state road 6, make a right onto NW Timber Rd. Stay on NW Timber Road for about 20 miles. It's a beautiful, very fun road, with lots of curves and gnarly hair pin turns. It's very popular with motorcyclists, but there are often logging trucks about, so please be careful.
  • The tiny town of Timber, Oregon is perched on the side of a hill, and on this route, you will go, literally, from the top to the bottom of the town. As you go through the oh-so-tight turns of Timber, you will pass what used to be the fire station (it's now a garage, which may or might not be empty), and what used to be the post office, which closed in 2017. The two gnarly hairpins as you descend the steep hill will keep you awake! At the bottom of the hill is... nothing. No stores, just a few houses.

  • Continue on NW Timber Road.
  • 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, and very popular with motorcyclists.
    Have a snack or lunch in Vernonia! It's a charming town, and there's four or five places to choose from, right on main street, all very good. Great food, good coffee - just please don't drink alcohol and drive.
  • Get back on, or continue on, 47 heading North. It continues to be a lovely ride. You will pass Big Eddy Park on the left, a county park where, if you speak nicely to the camp host, you can use the restroom if you need to (if it's empty, then, of course, there's no need to ask).
  • When you get to Mist, which is more of an intersection than a town, make a left onto 202.
  • Eventually, you will go through Birkenfeld. The only thing there, for the most part, is a restaurant / general store that will either be busy or closed. We usually don't stop there because we just never know if it will be open, and we've already stopped elsewhere to eat. When we have stopped there and it's been open, the food has been good.
  • On your way to the tiny hamlet of Jewell, stop at the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area, on the left, which is a paved viewing area behind a house. It has a public toilet (flush! and in winter, the room is heated!), and often, lots of elk to see from the rest area.
  • At Jewell, you've completed about 70 miles from Forest Grove.

  • From Jewell, you can go North on 202 all the way to Astoria. It's a gorgeous ride with lots of great curves, and about another 20 miles. From Astoria (a great place to stop for a meal), you can take US Highway 30 back to Portland, or head South to US Highway 26 and take that back to Portland.

    Or, you can continue from Jewell on 101 to US Highway 26. And, from there:
    If you choose to go all the way to the coast and 101 then, from there, if you have enough daylight, you can do any of these, but you may run out of daylight to get back to Portlandia:
    More Oregon and Washington suggested short motorcycle routes.


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