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Clackamette Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Waterfowl at the mouth of the Clackamas River, Clackamette Park (bobcat)
On the Clackamas River Trail, Oregon City (bobcat)
82nd Drive Bridge from Cross Park, Gladstone (bobcat)
Sea lion, Sportscraft Marina, Oregon City (bobcat)
The walk along the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers in Oregon City and Gladstone (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Clackamette Park TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Points: Washington Street Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 90 feet
  • High Point: 55 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: On summer weekends

Contents

Description

This loop at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers takes you on both sides of the Clackamas, passing the old gravel mine at Clackamette Cove and a disused landfill soon to be revitalized with condos and river-view apartments. You'll cross the Clackamas via an old road bridge and loop back long the bluff in Gladstone. The walk is hemmed in by the loud and busy arteries of McLoughlin Boulevard and I-205, but waterfowl can be observed on the Cove and you can look for sea lions in the Willamette. Riverside cottonwoods shade a lot of this route and the area is very popular on warm, sunny days.

Walk from the parking lot to the Clackamas River, where there is often a large flock of gulls, ducks and geese begging for food. Then go right to walk under the Dr. John McLoughlin Memorial Bridge and turn right on a dirt road. On your left is the odd, defunct River Resources Museum, once a water treatment facility for the City of Gladstone, which owns the land here (Gladstone is evicting the current tenant in the hopes of selling the land back to Oregon City). Clackamette Cove, an old sand/gravel mining pit is to the left. Try to count the great blue herons posing silently around its shores. Reach the Main Street Extension and go left (There is no sidewalk on this street). After a few minutes, you'll pick up the paved Clackamas River Trail leading off to the left opposite a parking pullout. There are picnic tables and benches along the way as this trail leads above the cottonwood-lined cove with a Scots broom-dotted wasteland to the right (This area has been under negotiation for development as an urban renewal project for many years now). In addition to Scots broom, blackberry, teazel, young cottonwoods and tansy sprout on this blighted flat, some of this formerly the Rossman Landfill that obliterated a wetland. An osprey nest sits atop a tall pole. The trail reaches the Clackamas River and heads east. To the left, a narrow, Douglas-fir lined peninsula leads to the mouth of Clackamette Cove. Gladstone homes line the opposite shore on Clackamas Boulevard. Pass a fenced wastewater treatment plant for Gladstone and Oregon City on the right. A narrow concrete path leads down to the cobbled river edge. You can loop back to the main trail, which has turned from tarmac to concrete, on use trails (This loop may be under water during the winter/spring). Back on the main trail, pass a huge cottonwood and then walk under a multi-trunked, octopus-like grand fir.

Come to the Washington Street Trailhead, and go left to reach the 82nd Drive Bridge, now open only to pedestrians and bicycles. Look upstream to the rocky shore of the Clackamas and the noisy I-205 Bridge. The area on the Gladstone side is High Rocks Park, an extremely popular swimming hole in the summer when the waters are placid but still deep (Before the 82nd Drive Bridge was screened off, it was the jump off spot for local daredevils). On the opposite bank, reach Gladstone's Cross Park, named after Judge Harvey Cross, the founder of Gladstone. Take the trail leading down the bluff, and then go right past picnic tables under the cottonwoods and reach the end of the riverside trail where it switchbacks up twice to a parking area and restroom. Continue walking along Clackamas Boulevard to reach Chief Charles Ames Memorial Park, named after a former Gladstone Fire Chief. A paved trail leads along the buff to a gated pump station perched above the Clackamas River. Continue walking along Clackamas Boulevard until you reach Arlington Drive, where you go left and take the sidewalk. Pass behind a Walgreens and then a drive-up coffee place to cross the Clackamas River using the Dr. John McLoughlin Memorial Bridge.

At the end of the bridge, a gap between the bridge and a fence allows you to head down to the driveway for the River Resources Museum. Head back under the bridge to Clackamette Park. Reach the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers. Look across the Willamette to Goat Island, where there is a great blue heron nesting colony in the spring. Then begin to walk south parallel to the Willamette shore across a grassy, cottonwood-shaded meadow. Pass by an RV camp area and pick up a paved trail. Exit the park to reach Clackamette Drive opposite a Best Western motel. Walk on to Jon Storm Park, which has its own dock. Both here and at the the next dock, the Sportscraft Marina just beyond the I-205 Bridge, you may see basking sea lions on a sunny day.

Turn around at the docks, or if you want to continue your hike, take the path up from the Sportscraft Marina parking area to the sidewalk on McLoughin Boulevard. Walk to the Oregon City Bridge and then head in to the Municipal Elevator to begin the McLoughlin Promenade Hike.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Parks closed 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.