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Stub Stewart Northern Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Vine maple woods, Clayhill Horse Staging Area (bobcat)
Large-flowered collomia (Collomia grandiflora), Hares Canyon Trail (bobcat)
View from the Hilltop Day-use Area, Stub Stewart State Park (bobcat)
Large-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), Hilltop Day-use Area (bobcat)
The route described traced in red (From the State Parks brochure)
  • Start point: Hilltop TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Boomscooter Pond
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 480 feet
  • High Point: 1360 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park, in the Coast Range foothills of Washington County, was opened to the public in 2007 billed as a "multipurpose" destination. It is all secondary or tertiary growth woodland, with some open areas, having been logged heavily in the past. In addition to a fairly dense network of hiking trails, many of them on old logging tracks, there's a disc golf course, a horse camp, an area of trails exclusively for mountain bikers, and even an off-leash dog area. The Hilltop Day Use Area offers views west to higher ridges in the northern Coast Range, and there are two campgrounds, a cabin "village," and a hike-in camp in addition to the horse camp. Since 2007, the trail system has been improved and some of the very muddy sections resurfaced or rerouted. Many trails are intriguingly named using logger parlance. The short loop described here uses the most intricate network of trails, at the northern end of the park, which circle in and around some of the more mature forest stands.

The park is named after L.L. "Stub" Stewart, a former logging company executive, Oregon state legislator, and advisor to the state parks department.

From the Hilltop Day Use Area, head south of the restrooms and cross the road to the Hooktender Horseshoe Trail. Enter alder, bigleaf maple, Douglas-fir woods with a sword fern carpet. You will immediately encounter the trails around the disc golf course, but keep straight to reach the junction with the Bullbucker Trail. Go right here on an old road bed for a short distance in Douglas-fir forest with a carpet of oxalis, woods violet, and sword fern. Reach the Hares Canyon-Bullbucker Trail Junction. Go left on this graveled track, which doubles as a service road, to head uphill and then down again in dense Douglas-fir plantations. Williams Creek runs down to the right.

Come to the Hares Canyon Trail-North Caddywhomper Way Junction, the latter trail marking the northern entrance to the exclusive mountain biking zone of the park. Continue rising on the Hares Canyon Trail under alders and Douglas-firs. The track dips and then you head up again. A gravel spur leads right to a maintenance yard. Keep left and come to the Hares Canyon-Unfit Settlement View Trail East Junction. Stay left and drop down on the Peavey Hook Bridleway, making two switchbacks in lush woods until you reach the Lasso Loop, where you go right. Soon arrive at the Hares Canyon Horse Camp.

Head left around the loop as it circles the campground until you reach the entrance road, where you cross the road leading down to the Clayhill Horse Trailhead using a gravel trail. There’s a meadow to your left and Douglas-fir woods fronted by vine maple ahead. From the Clayhill Horse Trailhead, pick up a track that leads west to a junction. Go right here, and wind down under tall Douglas-firs with a vine maple understory, keep right at a cutoff trail, and reach a four-way junction. Go left on a road bed and, at another junction, go right on the Boomscooter Trail. This trail drops steeply and very muddily. Ignore a road to your left and cross a creek with Boomscooter Pond to the left. Continue along the west bank of the creek, pass the Bucking Pass Trail, and keep descending with the forested creek on your left. The trail skirts a wooded area, with a clearing on your right. Then, head back into the woods of cedar, Douglas-fir, alder and maple and reach the Banks Vernonia-Boomscooter Trail Junction.

Walk south on the paved Banks Vernonia State Trail (See the Banks-Vernonia Traverse Hike), passing an old beaver pond on your left. Pass the Banks Vernonia Trail-Matchcutter’s Lane Junction and arrive at the intersection of the Springboard Horseshoe (right) and Bark Spud Trails (left). Turn up the latter through a young Douglas-fir plantation to the trail that leads through the two Dairy Creek Campgrounds. Find the Barberchair Trail leading off to the left and hike up about three quarters of a mile to the junction with the Boomscooter Trail below the Mountain Dale Cabin Village. Go right here up a grassy slope to reach the Hilltop Trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $5 day use fee
  • Open for day use 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Restrooms, brochures, information kiosks, campgrounds, horse staging area, disc golf
  • Dogs on leash except in the designated off-leash area
  • Share some trails with mountain bikers and horses
  • Some trails could be closed for rerouting or reconstruction

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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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.

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.