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Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel: East Portal

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Standing at the east portal of the Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel (bobcat)
Looking up the tunnel, East Portal, Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel (bobcat)
"Sign" just off Crown Zellerbach Trail for the East Portal user trail (bobcat)


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.

Coming from the direction of the Chapman Trailhead and nearing the Nehalem Divide Trailhead, you'll find yourself between two cuttings, and 30 yards before a green CZ Trail marker. Look down on the left for a red paint dot on a tree. This marks the user trail down to the east portal of the Nehalem Divide Railroad Tunnel. Follow the trail down, swishing through sword ferns, to reach a high embankment over North Scappoose Creek. You’ll see a beaver dam below to your left. Follow the embankment, which is caving in in places, to the opposite slope and head up a boggy gully through a salmonberry thicket to the east portal of the Portland & Southwestern Railroad Tunnel.

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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