Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Clackamas Riverside Trail

The day after the Helvetia Half was Sunday.  Sunday is usually my day to go hiking.  But I was kinda tired from my race the previous day.  The weather forecast was good (ie, no rain) so I didn't want to waste the nice weather sitting around home.  What to do?  Well, of course I chose to go hiking.  I decided to pick an easy hike, and get out there!

Mossy old trail sign

I'm still on my quest to hike all of the hikes in Sullivan's "100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon" book (the 1994 edition) so grabbed my book and looked through the hikes I've yet to complete.  The Riverside Trail on the Clackamas River jumped out at me.  It was a short hike (around 5 miles) and not much elevation gain.  Perfect for someone recovering from running a half marathon! 

The mighty Clackamas River

I  haven't hiked around the Clackamas River for awhile.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe Mt. Hood and the Gorge call out just a little bit louder.  But as I drove to the trailhead I decided I need to come out here more often.  The Clackamas is a beautiful river, and the road that parallels it wonderfully scenic.  Flowers were blooming along the roadside.  The river was lined with tall, regal Douglas firs.  The water was a beautiful blue-green color.  Recent rainfall and snowmelt have swollen the river, and I saw lots of rafters bouncing down its rapids.

Rhodies in bloom

From the trailhead, it didn't take long for me to find my first views.  Only a tenth of a mile from my car was a wonderful blufftop overlook of the Clackamas.  The river curved gracefully around a bend, the water burbling happily downstream.  Bright green trees lined the banks.  It was a sight worthy of many Kodak moments.  What a great way to start a hike!

Iris in bloom too

And then not too far from the overlook, I ran into a bunch of pink rhodies in bloom.  Things were starting out really good.

Doggie log balance

Further down the trail were more flowers showing off their colors.  I came upon some wild iris pushing up from the forest floor.  It's always wonderful to see iris growing in the wild.

Beautiful blue-green water

The trail zigged and zagged downhill until I came to a rocky beach.  I walked out to the beach to check out the river.  The water was flowing mightily, creating small rapids as it hit the few rocks that were out in mid-channel.  I loved the color of the water, a beautiful deep blue-green.

Gigantic tree

I hiked through a magnificent grove of large Douglas fir trees.  These trees were huge!  I'm really glad that some of these great old trees have been saved for future generations to enjoy.

Colorful yellow flowers lined the river banks

I came upon a second little river access, this one a small sandy beach.  A perfect spot for lunch.  I enjoyed watching the water flow while munching my PB&J.  The river in this area was lined by bright yellow flowering bushes.  I wish I knew the name of this plant, but sadly I was without my botanist son that day.  So I'll just call it the unidentified yellow flower (UYF).

River rapids

After my lunch, it was back on the trail.  It roller-coastered up and down until I passed through a clearing area thick with flowers.  There were tons of small purple blooms.  And then, I came to an area thick with irises (I think that's the plural of iris).

Lots more iris flowers

There were oodles of delicate white blooms lining the side of the trail.  Wow!  I didn't expect to see so many kinds of flowers.  Especially so many iris(es) growing in one area.  Lots of subject matter for my camera.

Glowing green forest

The trail continued to a campground, where I turned around and headed back to my car.  That was great, because I got to visit all these wonderful scenic spots a second time around. 

So I got to work the lactic acid out of my legs, and took in some wonderful scenery too.  I'm learning if you have the chance to go hiking, by all means go!  I always return home glad that I went.  After this hike, I certainly felt that way.



  1. What a 'rich' hike! Those iris are exquisite!

    I love the pic of your pup with the huge tree and the one at the very end... s/he is very photogenic :)

  2. Wow what a beautiful place to hike. I am loving all the green and the flowers.

  3. Hi Linda!

    I'm promoting a trail tending event on Clackamas Riverside Trail and would love to use your photo of the mossy sign from this post.

    Let me know if you'd be willing to share (I'll credit the photo to you and link to your blog).

    Thank you!

    -Kati Mayfield, Volunteer Manager at the Mazamas, kati(at)mazamas.org


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