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
Here is the route from Safeway in Forest Grove just to Jewell and 26 - about
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
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
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
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
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:
- can go east on 26 and head back to Portlandia (quickest way to get
- can go west on 26 and take it all the way to the coast.
- can take 26 West for 12 1/2 miles and go South on state road 53, a
very windy, paved, gorgeous road that will bring you to 101 and the
- combine part of this trip with Foss
Road / Nehalem Road to Foss Road, which has about 26 miles of
gravel and passes three primitive public campgrounds, and returns you to
Highway 26 or state road 53, depending on which direction you take.
- go North on 101 and get on 26 and go back to Portland
- go North on 101 all the way to Astoria
- go South on 101 and take either state road 6 back to Forest Grove, or
take Nestucca River Road back to
Carlton, which, midway has 1 1/2 miles of unpaved road. I've done it on
a Honda Nighthawk - it's not THAT hard. and Nestucca
River Road is one of the most beautiful in the area.
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