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Riverside Trail Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Clackamas River from the Riverside Trail (bobcat)
Cedar bottomland, Riverside Trail (bobcat)
Pale lactarius (Lactarius pallidus), Riverside Trail (bobcat)
Vine maples, Riverside Trail (bobcat)
The Riverside National Recreation Trail (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo



NOTICE: Trails in this area were affected by the 2020 Riverside Fire. Expect some challenging trail conditions.

The Clackamas' Riverside Trail #723 is designated a National Recreation Trail and offers a relatively languid day's outing along its undulating course. Its low elevation makes it a suitable destination all four seasons of the year: you can observe steelhead migrations in the fall and winter/early spring, and the maples provide a brilliant yellow glow in October/early November. The month of June sees blooming rhododendrons and Clackamas white irises. The old growth is there to be admired all year. Campgrounds at either end and a couple of campsites along the way permit you to stay overnight. Also, this can be a good short hike and bike if you drop bikes at one of the campground trailheads.

From the trailhead parking area at the Rainbow Campground, light out on the trail and cross a log bridge before passing a huge Douglas-fir. You'll pass over a small slough with little pools of water among the rocks. The Oak Grove Fork flows to the right as you hike under Douglas-fir, hemlock, vine maple, big-leaf maple and alder. The trail rises above a bluff, and you will get glimpses of the Clackamas River below. Wend through the woods and come to an overlook above the Clackamas. Keep right in a clearing with a fork in the trail, and drop to a boardwalk. Cross a footbridge, and head up before dropping again and then ascending under cedars, hemlocks and mossy Douglas-firs. Switchback down, and cross another footbridge. With the river to your right, squeeze between some large boulders, switchback, and descend. Cross the footbridge over Mag Creek, and hike up the slope: here, vine maple and big-leaf maple put on a spectacular display in the fall.

Pass the spur trail that leads to the Riverside Trailhead, which allows for midway access to the trail. Head up, then down with some views of the Clackamas. A spur right leads down to a campsite by the river. The trail rises to come close to the highway under a canopy of red alder. Wood fern, pathfinder, sword fern, salal, and Oregon grape form the carpet. Descend and cross a log bridge to the level of the river and a dry channel. Note the ancient yews under huge Douglas-firs in this old growth grove. The big-leaf maples turn bright yellow in the fall. Pass a big cedar, and then take a concrete walkway just next to the road over Tar Creek. There’s a nice beach by the river here. Undulate above a still section of the river under lichen-draped yews. In the fall, look for steelhead lingering in an emerald pool below. Soon reach the the Riverside Campground and turn around for the journey back.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Riverside Trail #723 (USFS)
  • Riverside Trail (Trail Advocates)
  • Green Trails Maps: Fish Creek Mtn, OR #492
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Clackamas River Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Oregon's Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide by Chandra LeGue
  • Hiking Mount Hood National Forest by Marcia Sinclair
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Hikes: Northwest Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Best Old-growth Forest Hikes: Washington & Oregon Cascades by John & Diane Cissel
  • 50 Hiking Trails: Portland & Northwest Oregon by Rob & Roberta Lowe
  • A Walking Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests by Wendell Wood
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Oregon's Columbia River Gorge: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Trail Running: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest and Central Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Best Dog Hikes: Oregon edited by Falcon Guides

More Links

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.