Most people refer to it as a “bike” path. However, the official name of this route is Marine Drive Multi-Use path, and it is certainly that. This strip of asphalt that hugs the southern shore of the mighty Columbia River on Portland’s northernmost dry land sees all sorts of traffic. Cyclists, inline skaters, folks getting a brisk 30-minute walk for health and bone density… which naturally makes it a perfect place for a run.
This non-motorized-vehicle-only pathway is a part of the 40-mile loop mentioned in my previous post. When not attempting to travel the entire 140-or-so-mile loop (now, that would be a ultramarathon!), most Portland-area runners and willing visitors choose to travel a stretch of the pathway that is nearly 5 miles long between NE 33rd Drive and Interstate 205. Naturally, it is a flat and fast stretch.
A cool aspect of this route is the proximity of PDX – Portland International Airport. It is literally across the road for a substantial part of the way, with airplanes of various calibers taking off and landing frequently. That makes for an eventful run and can definitely break up the monotony.
Another noteworthy view opportunity is the chance to see Mt. Hood on a clear day. Unlike the mountains in Washington, which mostly hide behind the landscape rising from the river, Mt. Hood is very much visible along the tunnel that is the Columbia River Gorge.
After completing a run, back at the parking lot off NE 33rd Drive, it is always possible to cool one’s feet off in Columbia River’s waters. Or, if the weather is cool enough, to stare into the distance, with thoughts of great significance (or not) running through your head.
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Barb is @wildlifesangria