Mass Transit –
Using the Portland MAX, take the red, yellow, or blue line to the Rose Quarter Transit Center. Trains run about every 5 to 15 minutes. Walk south on NE 1st Ave. Cross NE Oregon St at the traffic light, turn right and cross NE Lloyd Blvd. and walk southwest towards the pedestrian bridge across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Take the ramp or stairs to the Eastbank Esplanade.
Driving and Parking –
All weekday parking near the area requires a payment to park. On weekdays, parking garages near in downtown Portland may be the best choice.
Traveling southbound on I-5, take exit 300B and follow the brown signs towards OMSI. Follow signs for US-26 and merge onto SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Turn right at SE Salmon St then in .2 mile turn left at SE Water Avenue. In 0.2 mile you will pass the intersection of SE Clay St and SE Water Ave. Turn left into the PCC CLIMB parking.
Traveling I-5 northbound, while driving over the Marquam Bridge, take exit 300 to I-84 East towards the Portland Airport and the Dalles. Bear right onto the off-ramp for OMSI/Central Eastside Industrial District. Turn right at SE Water Avenue. In 0.3 mile you will pass the intersection of SE Clay St and SE Water Ave. Turn left into the PCC CLIMB parking.
Free parking on weekends is available along the streets in the area of PCC CLIMB.
Once you have parked, walk towards the river, then to the right to hook up with the Eastbank Esplanade under the Hawthorne Bridge.
Restrooms are available at four points along the route. Three of them are on the west side of the Willamette river. One is at the base of the Hawthorne Bridge and two are in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. One of those is at SW Taylor and SW Naito Parkway.
Length and Elevation:
4.0 Miles, Elevation gain 50 feet. Total gain and loss totals 100 feet. Highest elevation is 50 feet and the lowest elevation is 33 feet.
Eastbank Esplanade, Tom McCall Waterfront Park with connections to Springwater Corridor which is part of the Portland 40 mile loop.
There is at least one geocache along this trail at: N 45° 31.064 W 122° 40.406 Info at Geocaching.com
Review: January 19th, 2008, June 21, 2011, January 5, 2017, December 31, 2018.
One of Portland’s premier trails, the Eastbank Esplanade and Tom McCall Waterfront park join to create a well maintained, cement trail that is heavily used. The trail is multi-use for walkers, runners, and bicyclists.
There is a multitude of choices on how to hike or bike this trail. The nearly level trail is good for people of all ages as well as strollers, scooters, and skateboards. A suggested itinerary is to start from OMSI, head north and use the Hawthorne Bridge to cross the Willamette River. Once across the river, head north, downriver and choose to play in Salmon Street Springs in the summer or continue walking. The next bridge is the Morrison Bridge. Pause to read the plaques, signs, and labels in the cement sidewalk pointing out places of historical interest. Stop at the Portland paddlewheel or the USS Oregon Memorial.
Perhaps an event is in progress at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Events range from feasts and festivals to races and concerts. Past the Burnside Bridge, the next quarter mile turns into clouds of pink cherry blossoms in the spring. Perhaps a short detour to the Chinese Garden is in order. It is at 239 NW Everett St, just 3 blocks north of Burnside Bridge and three blocks from the park.
Next, cross back over the Willamette River on the Steel Bridge. You may have to wait while the lower deck lifts for a passing boat. Both decks will lift to allow a taller ship to pass under the bridge. The Steel Bridge is unique due to the lower deck rising while the upper deck can remain open to traffic. The lower deck carries a pedestrian bridge and two tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad while the upper deck carries cars, buses, and two tracks for the Portland MAX.
On the east bank near the Steel Bridge is a ramp and stairs that lead across the train tracks. The sidewalk can take you to the Oregon Convention Center or the Rose Garden Transit Center.
Back on the Eastbank Esplanade, you have nice views of downtown Portland and the West Hills. The walkway drops down to the river and changes into a floating esplanade. People commonly fish from the dock that is connected to the floating esplanade. Seagulls and Canada Geese also like to hang out on the dock. The trail goes back onto dry land and passes under the Burnside and Morrison Bridges. This part of the trail is near the freeway and short sections are very noisy. There are several outdoor works of art along this part of the esplanade.
There are four pieces of art on the east bank between the Morrison Bridge and the floating walkway.
The first piece, the Alluvial Wall, is a reminder of how the river flowed before Portland existed. It represents the layers of the river’s geology and humans. It has layers of steel plates and bronze castings.
Near the floating walkway, Stack Stalk is a hybrid beacon. It suspends a Japanese glass fishing float in the sky as a reminder of the Willamette River’s connection to the Pacific Ocean. This was also created by Ean Eldred
Two pieces of art sit on a concrete wall that used to be part of the Port of Portland’s Terminal 2. The Ghost Ship by James Harrison is a large lantern made of copperplate and copper bar with hundreds of pieces of art glass.
It is a reminder of ships that have come through Portland and ships that have sunk in crossing the Columbia River Bar.
The fourth piece, Echo Gate by Ean Eldred, is under the Morrison Bridge. It is meant to echo long gone buildings that were built on piers in the river and the Shanghai tunnels of Portland’s past.
Part of the esplanade is a catwalk and you can look through the metal deck to the riverbank below. There are several overlooks with benches along the esplanade providing a place to sit and watch the city.
Heading back towards OMSI you will pass a bronze statue of Vera Katz, former mayor of Portland. Sometime people dress her up for the weather or give her a book to read. Have some water from the Benson Bubbler drinking fountain and lounge around on the basalt rocks for a bit. Pass under the Hawthorne Bridge and return to your car, or continue walking past OMSI then along SE Caruthers St, turn right on 4th Ave, and hook up to the Springwater Corridor to continue walking along the Willamette River.
Enjoy the photos!!