Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon coast of the USA is a great place for family bike rides. We really enjoyed the trails during our two week stay at the beautiful RV park at Fort Stevens (you can read about that here). We love having our bikes with us at state parks, as they are such an efficient way to cover a lot of ground and see all of the local attractions.
This state park features nine miles of off-road trails, suitable for all skill levels. The trails are multi-use, so you can hike them or bike them. Here is our video of some of the highlights of the bike trails, and what you can see as you ride them.
As you can see from the video, on these bike trails you can enjoy being in nature. You can also visit some of the interesting places in the park, including the wreck of the Peter Iredale, and the Fort Stevens historic site.
The Wreck of the Peter Iredale
Peter Iredale was a four-masted, steel sailing vessel. It was on its way to the Columbia River in 1906, when it ran aground on the Oregon Coast, where it still rests today. Much of it has disappeared over the years, leaving only some of the steel shell and masts. If you are not on a bike, this beach is also a beautiful place for a hike. We enjoyed a lot of hiking during our stay at Fort Stevens RV Park.
Multi-Use Trails at Fort Stevens
The multi-use trails are mainly flat, and are very well signposted. You can access them from any of the car parks, or directly from the Fort Stevens RV park (just get on your bike and ride!). There are a lot of fun features on the trails to keep things interesting, such as bridges and tunnels.
As the trails are multi-use, you do of course have to be on the lookout for pedestrians. I like to use my bicycle bell to alert people without startling them. A bike bell is the universal sound that says, “bike coming!”
We stopped by the very beautiful Coffenberry Lake. This is a lovely place for a hike, with a three-mile loop that takes you right around the lake, over varied terrain (the sign says 2 miles, but it is at least 3 miles, according to my Garmin watch). However, it is not suitable for cycling.
Fort Stevens Historic Site
The trails also take you to the site of Fort Stevens, where you can park your bike to do the historic walk. This is about a mile, and lets you meander past many of the armaments and buildings. You also get to see some great views of the river.
Fort Stevens Museum
While at this site, be sure to visit the small but interesting Museum, where there are some fascinating exhibits. It seems that Fort Stevens was commissioned by President Lincoln during the Civil War. It was intended to guard the mouth of the Columbia River, which is known as the Great River of the West. The fort was named after Isaac Stevens, a Civil War general and former governor of the territory of Washington. Stevens was killed during the war.
Fort Stevens remained in service as an active base until the end of World War II. In all, it was an active military base from 1863 to 1947. On 21 June, 1942, it came under fire from a Japanese submarine, the I-25. The submarine fired 17 shells, but the Fort was largely unscathed. Fire was not returned; one reason was that they thought the submarine was out of range. The captain of the Japanese submarine was later interviewed. He said that he would never have opened fire if he knew the size of the guns at the fort. It was his opinion that his submarine would have been easily destroyed if the gunners at Fort Stevens had fired on them.
Fort Stevens was the only military installation in the USA to come under fire from an enemy warship since the War of 1812. It is now an historic site with preserved buildings, batteries, and guns. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We were interested to learn that the sailors from the wrecked Peter Iredale took refuge in Fort Stevens, back in 1906.
Bottom Line on Bike Trails in the Fort Stevens State Park
All in all, these trails offer a great bike ride, with lots of interesting sights along the way. Because they are off-road and mainly flat, you could take along the whole family. When we biked them mid-week in November we only saw one other person on them. However, they must certainly be very busy in the summer.
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