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Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel: West Portal

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking up at the West Portal, Nehalem Divide RailroadTunnel (bobcat)
Inside the Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel (West Portal) (bobcat)

Description

One massive endeavor on the Portland & Southwestern Railroad was tunneling through the Nehalem Divide, an unusual undertaking of great expense for a mere logging railroad. The 1,712-foot tunnel was completed in 1920 after the Nehalem Timber and Logging Company took over operations.

About ¾ mile down the Crown Zellerbach Trail from the Nehalem Divide Trailhead, look for an unmarked path that leads through the salmonberry on your left. This trail drops down the slope to the East Fork Nehalem River where it is just a creek. It crosses and recrosses the creek to reach the West Portal of the Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel. Two small waterfalls cascade at either side of the canyon.

The tunnel was in operation for less than 25 years and the timber buttresses and linings are collapsing. Entering the tunnel, you will see the glimmer of light at the West Portal, on the other side of the Divide. The tunnel is full of debris and breakdown: Do NOT attempt to traverse it without a hard hat and a powerful headlamp with a backup. Sections may crumble at any time.

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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.

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