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Metzler Park Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Suspension bridge over Clear Creek, Metzler Park (bobcat)
Steelhead with Pacific salmon leeches (Piscicola salmositica), Swagger Creek, Metzler Park (bobcat)
Swagger Creek and Clear Creek, Metzler Park (bobcat)
Orange peel fungus (Aleuria aurantia), Metzler Park (bobcat)
The loops at Metzler County Park (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Metzler Park TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Clear Creek Swimming Hole
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loops
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • High Point: 845 feet
  • Elevation gain: 245 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No, except on summer weekends



Metzler Park is a Clackamas County park located on wide Clear Creek and named after Alice Metzler, a Portland school teacher. The developed part of the park includes campgrounds and large group picnic areas, which all close in the fall and winter. A suspension bridge takes you over Clear Creek to a loop trail that visits a lovely forested hillside and a swimming hole. The lower trails in the park, on both sides of Clear Creek, form a 20-stop nature trail that identifies native plant species (Print out the brochure). The best time to visit is in the off-season, when there are no campers and salmon spawn in the creek.

Walk up the paved road, and pass the memorial to Alice Metzler, a Portland school teacher, on your right. Follow the ‘Swimming Hole’ sign under tall Douglas-firs through a picnic area, and cross the suspension bridge over Clear Creek. From the bridge, you can see Swagger Creek joining Clear Creek just upstream. Go right on the trail that follows the creek under big-leaf maples and cedars. Pass the first nature trail posts and a couple of trail junctions, but keep to the creek trail. Reach the cobbled beach at the Clear Creek Swimming Hole. Here Clear Creek digs into the opposite bank at a bend: look for spawning coho and steelhead in the fall and winter.

Return to the last trail junction, and make five switchbacks up the slope: try to use the switchbacked trail rather than the user cutoffs. Large Douglas-firs tower overhead. At a junction, go right through a salmonberry thicket. The trail heads up under hemlock, Douglas-fir, and maple and then curves to the left. Drop past a stand of hemlocks, and wind through mature mixed forest. A plantation to the right is beyond the boundary of the park. Drop down the slope through salmonberry thickets under cedars. Take the spur right leading to Swagger Creek, and follow this trail down to the suspension bridge to return to your car.

The nature trail continues at the base of the forested slope above the playing field. You can access this slope through a wooden archway opposite the baseball backstop. The trail here, numbered stops 8 - 20, is actually a road bed that leads to the north end of the campground. There’s a disk golf course here as well. You'll pass a junction with an unmaintained trail that winds up the slope to the entrance of the park. From the campground circle, walk back along the road, taking detours to view Clear Creek from above, to reach your car.


Restrictions, facilities, etc.

  • $5 day-use fee
  • Dogs on leash
  • Park open: 6:00 a.m.–10 p.m. May 1–Sept. 30; 6:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Oct. 1–Apr. 30
  • Campground, playing fields, picnic areas

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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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