Clackamas River Trail
This paved trail runs along the Clackamas River (though only for about 1/3 of a mile) and then turns to follow Clackamette Cove until it ends at Main Street.
At the northeast end, the trail joins what was once Highway 213 between east Portland, Oregon City, Molalla, Silverton and Salem, but is now a dead end road segment of South Washington Street (which, despite anyone's claim to various logic, is actually located north of downtown Oregon City). From here, it is possible to continue northeast along this dead end road until you reach the Old 82nd Avenue Bridge. This bridge allows pedestrian and bicycle access to Gladstone from Oregon City and this trail.
The trail is paved for the entire length, and has a number of picnic tables and benches along it.
The wild brush along the Clackamas River in this area does encourage some wildlife to come here. Bald eagles have been seen sometimes, and certainly the occasional blue heron and various ducks are reasonably frequent.
If you are driving here or taking the bus, I suggest starting at Cross Park in Gladstone, as it actually has better vehicle facilities (paved parking) than does the Oregon City end of the trail. Walk east (toward I-205, upriver) and cross at the Old 82nd Avenue bridge.
At the Oregon City end of the trail, it is possible to go west to Clackamette Park or south into downtown Oregon City, but this part of main street is not particularly easy to walk along. The speed limit is low but traffic moves fast, and the bike lane is very narrow, particularly as Main Street goes under I-205. It is possible to do, but be careful, and I would certainly not suggest doing this if you have small children with you that could easily wander into traffic.
- Hiking and Walking
Sportscraft Landing Park
A new park has been constructed along highway 99E in downtown Oregon City, so while it isn't necessarily "off the beaten path" it also isn't necessarily a well known attraction - particularly since it hasn't been put on very many maps yet.
The name on the signs is "Sportscraft Park", but that name comes from the old marina operator that used to be located here. There may be some motivation to rename it in the future, but for now that is what the sings say.
In addition to the marina, the park features an observation platform of the river just up the hill from the marina, and an eccentric set of sculptures that are supposed to reflect the nature of Willamette Falls just up river from the location. There are a set of risers as if the park could support some sort of outdoor entertainment, but in fact the traffic noise from highway 99E would severely prevent any enjoyment of such outdoor entertainment.
As of March, 2010 the park is partially open to the public, but it is still undergoing development.
The marina here is fairly popular, as it is quite close to downtown Oregon City, and is a convenient stopover point.
How to Get Here: The best thing to do is park in downtown Oregon City and cross highway 99E at one of the traffic lights, then walk north towards highway 205. The park is very close to highway 205. There are a number of bus routes that serve downtown Oregon City, including routes that go to Clackamas, Lake Oswego, and downtown Portland.
- Sailing and Boating
Stone Creek Golf Club (and walking trail!)
Several years ago, Clackamas County and the Stone Creek Golf Clup worked out a deal where the county would buy land and lease it to the golf club, so long as the public had access to a walking trail along the edges and that some of the most scenic features of the area were preserved.
Thus, while much of this land beside highway 213 between Oregon City and Molalla is dedicated to the golf course, it isn't entirely. The border of the course has a bark dust trail ("For your safety, please stay on the bark dust trail" means avoid flying golf balls!). The area on the north has a small but productive wetlands area, and the bark dust trail along the whitewater section of the stream seems like any remote wilderness in Oregon.
There are a few other scenic views here, such as views of Mt. Hood in a few places. Sururban sprawl is definitely coming to the area rapidly, however.
If you enjoy golf, you will be pleased to know that the golf course is a Peter Jacobsen/Jim Hardy designed course. For me, I am just as pleased to see what birds are visiting the wetlands area.
If you like birdwatching, cedar waxwings seem to like the trees directly along highway 213, at least during late winter.
From Oregon City, go south on highway 213 until you reach the traffic light at Leland Road. Turn right, and follow signs to golf course.
- Hiking and Walking
Park Place Park
Park Place was once a separate city from Oregon City, but today it is pretty much considered part of Oregon City. It is separated from Oregon City proper by Highway 213.
There is very little in Park Place that would be of interest to travelers, except for the gas station at Highway 213 and Washington Street, which is just off of Interstate 205.
However, just a little bit north and east of the gas station Washington Street (which becomes Clackamas River Road) you will eventually come to Park Place Park. The official park location is at 16180 Front Avenue, Oregon City 97045.
This park features some picnic tables, a great open expanse that would be good to gun around in after a long drive, some playground equipment, and a small forested area. It is set back from the freeway a little bit, so it doesn't suffer from the freeway noise that some areas near I-205 suffer.
The web site below leads to the City of Oregon City web site, who owns and operates the park.
A nearby point of interest is Oregon City's Clackamas River frontage park, which is covered in a separate tip.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Hopkins Memorial Tree Farm / Demonstration Forest
In the 1960s the Hopkins family purchased a lot of mixed forest and clearcut land outside Beaver Creek in order to farm it for forest harvesting. The trees were slowly harvested for income, but new ones were planted, all the time managing the land as a permenent source of income and therefore not cutting in such a way as to make it permanently damaged as a forest ecosystem.
By 1989, there were concerns that the entire property might be sold for conversion to suburban land.
In September of 1990 the non-profit foundation Forests Forever was formd to own and operate the tree farm as a demonstration forest to illustrate traditional sustainable forest practices to the public. It is quite a peaceful place even today, but the suburban sprawl hasn't quite reached this far yet. There are several miles of trails and maintenance roads that can be used as trails.
The place is not large by any means, but it does seem a lot larger than it actually is.
However, the forest is not actually located in Oregon City, but just outside the small community of Beaver Creek that is slowly giving way to the suburban sprawl of Oregon City. I have put my main tip about this forest in my Beaver Creek page at
This tip includes 5 additional photos, plus instructions on how to get out there, and other information.
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
John Inskeep Environmental Learning Center
In 1977, despite the reputation Oregon had even then of being a progressive and environmentally friendly place, there were few official environmental education programs, and virtually no community recycling programs or services.
That year, the John Inskeep Environmental Learning Center opened at Clackamas Community College, and while the program and facilities there are no longer as cutting edge as they once were, they are still more than what some colleges and universities have available.
During the 1980s, this facility was the start of Oregon City's municipal recycling program, which was one of the first in the Portland area. The concept of having a small urban wilderness area in the middle of the college campus was eccentric. The composting toilets that were part of the restroom facilities here were almost unheard of when they were installed around 1982.
The community garden and home orchard society demonstration garden followed in the 1990s.
There are duck ponds, an educational facility, and part of the walking paths are staked with wooden numbers that form a tourist guide to the Environmental Learning Center.
Plantings in the outdoor facility are designed to encourage visits from birds and other wildlife, and you should keep your eyes open for small companions watching you through the leaves.
It doesn't look like much, but at the time this was built it was on the forefront of educating the community on how to live with a smaller environmental footprint.
How to Get Here:
Highway 213 or Molalla Avenue to Clackamas Community College main entrance at Molalla Avenue and Highway 213. Turn left after entrance and follow loop road to "Receiving" on the campus guide signs. Turn left onto Inskeep Drive. Main entrance to facility is on right, across the street from the receiving building (which once housed the community recycling program).
- Family Travel
Jon Storm Park
When I was a student at Oregon City High School in the late 1980s, this location along the Willamette River was still being used for unloading trucks of raw logs, which were then tied into huge rafts and hauled down the river by tug boat to another destination. Sometimes that was export, and sometimes that was to one of the large lumber mills along the Columbia River (Portland ceased having such huge lumber mills a few years prior to this).
In 2010, Oregon City decided to invest a bit of money into rebuilding this small section of its riverfront land. In ways, it had no choice in the matter, as the Oregon Highway Department had decided to rearrange highway 99E. This involved the removal of a number of trees. Along with the highway widening, Oregon City also wanted some help in re-connecting its citizens to the river, who had for many decades been unable to connect with this most significant of Oregon geographical features since the highway went through town, and completely disconnected the city from the river.
While it does not completely heal the damages created from installing Highway 99E, and then later Interstate 205, this little park does provide much better connection between downtown Oregon City and the river that forms its boundary through downtown. The park has a public boat pier, and is connected to downtown Oregon City by way of a pedestrian pathway that connects the sidewalk on the river side of highway 99E to the park. The pathway continues along the river and eventually connects Jon Storm Park to Clackamette Park. Not so long ago, this pathway was an unofficial dirt path in places, and no park facilities.
Today, there is an observation area, the boat pier, restroom facilities, picnic tables, and a reservable picnic shelter. There is some open grass, and a fairly good sized parking area directly under Interstate 205.
Public boat launching is available closer to downtown Oregon City in an area called "Sportcraft Park" which is part of a marina in the area.
There is a 72 hour stay limit within any 14 day timeframe, in order to prevent people from hogging the pier.
On the opposite side of Clackamette Drive from the park is the unfortunate remains of the Abernethy Elm, and a new Oregon Oak planting to attempt to take its place. There is a historic marker pointing out the significance of this location and the tree that was planted on this spot and lasted slightly longer than 150 years.
One odd piece of history remains in the park: the huge rusty circular planter near the river overlook is the old base for the crane that I remember from my younger days being used to unload the trucks of logs into the river. When the logging transfer shut down, the crane sat dormant for almost 15 years, and was then removed. However, the large concrete and steel base remained.
How to Get Here
There is a McDonald's Restaurant on Highway 99E just northeast of Interstate 205. At this traffic light, turn towards the river and go to the end of the short street. Turn left, towards the hotel, and follow the road along the river for a short distance, to the park. Parking is under the Interstate 205 bridge. From downtown Oregon City, cross highway 99E at and of the traffic lights that have a crosswalk, and head towards Interstate 205 on the sidewalk along the river. As you get closer to Interstate 205, it will cross Clackamette Drive, and then enter this little park. From Clackamette Park, follow the paved trail from the park towards downtown Oregon City along the river. The nearest bus stops are in downtown Oregon City or at the Oregon City shopping center. Southbound buses stop near the McDonalds, but I highly suggest not using the bus stop on the northbound side of highway 99E as it requires crossing a dangerous intersection. Instead, to go north, cross in downtown Oregon City and use the Oregon City Transit Center.
- Family Travel
- Sailing and Boating
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