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Whipple Creek Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Hilborn's Stone Mill, Stone Mill Loop, Whipple Creek Park (bobcat)
Between the paddocks, Whipple Creek Farms (bobcat)
Equestrian gathering on the Stone Mill Loop (bobcat)
Castle's Gazebo, Dynee's Trail (bobcat)
Regarding a large Douglas-fir, South Ridge Loop (bobcat)
The route described at Whipple Creek Park (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Fairgrounds Community Park TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Hilborn's Stone Mill
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 5.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 605 feet
  • High point: 310 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: On good weather weekends
Nettles

Contents

Hike Description

Whipple Creek protects a 300-acre stand of native forest in the north Vancouver area just west of the Clark County Fairgrounds. There are over five miles of trails here, going up and down through shallow gullies and mixed woodland, and a good loop can be made around the perimeter. The remains of a stone mill and other relics of rural living are some of the highlights. Be prepared to step aside for horses: The park is a very popular riding destination because of its proximity to a boarding stable. Many trails are now graveled and are not as muddy as they used to be; others trails may be closed in the winter. Find your own way via the map (see link below) or follow these directions.

The longer lollipop loop described here begins at Fairgrounds Community Park. A shorter loop of 3.2 miles begins at the Whipple Creek 21st Avenue North Trailhead and stays within the park.

The relatively new Fairgrounds Community Park has a playground and covered picnic area. Take the paved trail between the two, and head up an expanse of lawn rimmed by big-leaf maples and Douglas-firs. At the north end of the lawn area, the Connector Trail leads into maple/hazel/sword fern woods opposite a picnic table. At a junction, go left to hike below the Clark County Fairgrounds on a maple leaf carpet. Stay left at the next two junctions as well, and descend into a mixed forest of Douglas-fir, hemlock, and maple. Cross a footbridge, and rise to a pasture overlooking a rural landscape of private horse paddocks and country homes. Hike along a blackberry hedge, and descend the slope to pass through a fence and reach 11th Avenue. Cross the road, and go left for 60 yards to reach the entrance to Whipple Creek Farms and riding stables. Take the riding path to your right that runs between fences and behind a private home. Make a left at a fence corner to walk along fields of grazing horses. Enter the mature woodland of Whipple Creek Park, and come to the junction with Osborn's Loop.

Keep right on Osborn's Loop, and pass under tall grand firs shading an Oregon grape/sword fern carpet. Pass above the gully formed by one of Whipple Creek's north forks, and return to the main trail (Whipple Creek Way). Keep right to gradually descend in Douglas-fir forest. Switchback down to the Whipple Creek Way-North-South Connector Trail Junction, and make a left. Cross a footbridge over the salmonberry-choked north fork of Whipple Creek, keep left at the next junction, and continue up a slope to make a left onto Everson's Cutoff Trail. This wide trail, a former road bed, takes you directly to the Stone Mill Loop, where you'll make a left. You'll find yourself hiking along one of Whipple Creek Farm's fences, where friendly equines might greet you. Stay left on the main trail, and drop into a draw before rising into a dense wood of young maples under a canopy of Douglas-firs. Wind around under hazel bowers before looping down to Hilborn's Stone Mill. Only the stone walls of this 1960 mill, a project by the landowner of the time to generate electricity for his property, remain.

At the next junction, keep right on the North-South Connector Trail to head up Springboard Hill. Take the short tie trail down to Dynee's Trail on your left, and then make a left to take the spur down through the blackberries to a stone weir and then a licorice fern- and moss-roofed gazebo on Whipple Creek's south fork. Return up Dynee's Trail to the South Ridge Loop, and go left. This trail undulates along under tall old-growth Douglas-firs. Notice a large hazel opposite an octopus-like maple. Keep left at the Burl Cutoff, which is lined with western red-cedars, and cross a field with a lone picnic table. Descend through ivy-carpeted woods, and turn left at a junction to drop to a footbridge over the North Fork Whipple Creek. Turn left on North Ridge Way, and hike up the bluff to the junction with Custards' Chimney Loop, where you make a right.

You'll see Custards' Chimney on your left. This stone relic was part of a house constructed by Ken Custards in the 1930s. Stay right at an unsigned junction, and drop to a cedar bottomland, where you cross a boardwalk. Keep right at the next two junctions (These trails lead to private property), and then angle down the slope, eventually making five switchbacks to rejoin North Ridge Way at large rotting stump hosting a red huckleberry bush. Go left to cross a running creek, and then rise up the slope on a gravel tread. Take the short Rabbit Hole Loop on your left to wind around through a grove of red-cedar and join the Cedar Loop. Make another left, and then go left again on Raspberry Lane. This trail leads out to an expanse of ryegrass where there used to be a raspberry field. You'll make a right on the North-South Connector Trail just south of the Whipple Creek 21st Avenue North Trailhead, which is where you could begin a shorter hike.

Walk under Douglas-firs, keep left at a junction, and descend on two switchbacks to cross a footbridge and reach the Whipple Creek Way-North-South Connector Trail Junction. Turn left here before a second footbridge to follow the route back to the Fairgrounds Community Park Trailhead.


Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Parks open 7 a.m. to dusk
  • Dogs on leash
  • Share trails with horses and cyclists

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain

More Links


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.