Riverside Trail

Trailhead Location: 45.05756, -122.052604
Parking Fee: No
Location: Oregon
Land type: USFS National Forest
Length: 7.5 mi.
Elevation Gain: 900 ft.
Highest Point: 1500 ft.
Loop/OnB: Out & Back
Year Round: Yes
Best Month: October 
Popular: Yes
Waterfall: No
Lake: No
Stream: Yes
View: Yes
Old Growth: Yes
Backpacking: Yes
Fishing: Yes
Bicycles: No
Dogs: Yes
Horses: No

The Hike

When all the higher elevation hikes are snowbound and you've had enough of hiking the Oregon coast in winter you should head to the Riverside National Recreation Trail that parallels the Clackamas River. The trail seems more a route between two campgrounds than a destination day hike, but there is plenty along the way to keep one entertained.

Visiting late or early in the season will provide interesting looks at flora and fauna. Steelhead runs can be seen both early and late in the season. Maple trees turning brilliant fall colors could be seen alongside the steelhead in October or November and even flushes of mushrooms. Prime time may be more crowded, but there are beautiful blooms of rhododendron, Clackamas Iris and other species in June. The large trees and carpet of miss can be seen all season, but I think it has a particularly majestic quality after fresh rains.

The elevation gain is deceptive as there really aren't and long slogging climbs, just small pitches of rolling hillocks up and down. The soft trail surface, light elevation gain and moderate round trip length of 7.5 miles make this an easy hike for most. Make sure you bring a good lunch, especially during off season, as the campgrounds at either end are prime locations to stop and eat some tasty food. There are also several beaches and stopping points along the river that would be excellent candidates to stop to refuel.



The trail roughly follows a route that was used by the Clackamas people for seasonal hunting and gathering. Later westerners built a road from Estacada up to Olallie Butte and finally just over a century ago forest rangers constructed the present day trail.



Coral Fungus (Ramaria sp.)
Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
Red Belt Conk (Fomitopsis pinicola)