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Enright via North Fork Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Water tank at Enright (Steve Hart)
North Fork Salmonberry Trail (Steve Hart)
  • Start point: North Fork Salmonberry TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Enright
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back
  • Distance: 9.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 490 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Apr-Oct
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

Note: The Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency and the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad have declared the route through the Salmonberry Canyon "dangerous and closed to the public." No Trespassing signs have been posted at the east and west ends of the canyon. You can still access the Salmonberry Canyon by hiking down the North Fork Salmonberry Road or Beaver Slide Road, but you can't hike the route of the railroad. Plans are being considered to construct a hiking/biking trail through the canyon with the involvement of Oregon State Parks, but these are in the exploratory stages only.

The Port of Tillamook Railway that once ran through the Salmonberry Canyon was devastated by flooding in 2007. The line was never rebuilt. Even odder, the line has never been scrapped out either, so it provides a unique look at nature slowly taking back what was once a human corridor. This hike follows part of that railroad, as well as part of a closed road that is also being reclaimed.

From the trailhead, walk southward downhill on the closed road. Don't be discouraged by the steep downgrade, most of this hike is nearly flat. You'll pass a few washouts that require a bit of creative treking but it's generally easy to find use trails through the areas. Most of this closed road is wide and flat and it's filled with Swamp Buttercups and Monkeyflower in the spring. The trail stays just high enough above the water, to make scrambles tricky, but there are good views of several cascades and small rapids.

There's a good campsite at the foot of the road, 1.4 miles from the trailhead. Turn to the right and follow a side road downhill toward the river. There's a bit of a scramble down to the rocky riverbed, but there's an old cable to hang on to. The North Fork flows into the main body of the Salmonberry River here, at the Salmonberry Forks. To continue the hike, you'll need to shed your shoes and wade the main fork to the south side. The water here in the summer is typically only a foot deep or so, but you will get your feet wet. Once on the south side, climb on to the flat flood deposit about 5 feet above water level. All of this sediment was put down in 2007. Hike a bit to the left and look for an obvious dirt path up the hill. The upper portion of this has a knotted rope for extra grip.

When you get to the top of the hill, you'll see the obvious railroad grade. Interestingly though, this isn't a section abandoned in 2007; it was disused much earlier. Plant life has practically buried the track here and you'll need to be a bit careful, not to trip on the hidden rails. This is what the entire line will look like in 15-20 years.

Turn right and follow an obvious, if informal, path through the woods. You'll quickly come to the west portal of Tunnel 32. This is the longest tunnel in the canyon. Start down the tracks heading west.

This is as far as I have hiked this hike. It's 3.0 miles to Enright, where there's a siding, a steam era water tank and a couple of private homes. Along the way, you'll pass through three more tunnels and cross several streams.

Note: This is not a maintained trail. Hikers should plan for unforeseen trail blockages or slides.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest by the Tillamook State Forest Committee, Columbia Group Sierra Club (pre-2007 description)

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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.