Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15/13

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Sean Thomas
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Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15/13

Post by Sean Thomas » February 17th, 2013, 12:18 am

First off, I have to say thanks to all the members of this forum who have posted pics, tidbits and full on descriptions of their explorations on the abandoned Tillamook Bay Railroad Line. My gf and I had a great time hiking the rails yesterday and can’t wait to explore some more sections of the track.


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The route was established by 1911 and was operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad until the early 1990's when the Port bought the line. Train travel continued for several more years until the Port was forced to shut down service after a rough winter in 2007. Storms and severe flooding brought on massive landslides in the rugged Salmonberry River Canyon and damages were too expensive to repair. Most recently, hiking and exploring the tracks has become the new favorite activity for many curious hikers and rail fans:


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We drove into the Cochran "Trail Head" via Timber and found a parking spot about mid-morning. The road was in pretty good shape and had been plowed a while back when the snow was deeper. Cochran was a mill site/railroad station named after a Judge Joseph Cochran and Henry Cochran. The old mill pond is under the same name and still houses some remains from the operation on the shore across from the tracks:


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The tracks head NW alongside the banks of Pennoyer Creek until they reach the first tunnel on the trip(Tunnel #24)


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Exploring the top of the tunnel:


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The ghost of the tunnel wasn’t happy to see us:


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Passing through the mountains on the tracks will become more difficult when the alders and salmonberry leaf out later this year. I bet it would be pretty though:


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There have been some creative and resourceful paths taken to ease travel on some of the smaller trestle bridges:


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The route begins to follow the Salmonberry River heading SW after it curves through tunnel #24. The Salmonberry is beautiful to watch as it flows far below the rail grade. Pretty soon we were marveling at the trestle bridge over Big Baldwin Creek and the water tanks:


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The views looking down the Salmon Berry River were fantastic too:


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Don’t look down:


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Jojo is in the upper left of this pic way down the bridge:


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There are these crazy old benches on the outside of the railing:


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Life on top of the rail post:


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The other water tank on the opposite side of the bridge and a box:


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There was a lot of evidence of animal activity along the tracks:


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The line raps in and out of the Wolf Creek drainage for a little ways where you can see the tracks suspended in mid-air on the west side of the canyon(upper left)


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A little mid-air action on the east side too:


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Here is what the spot I was standing in looks like from the other side of the creek, you can see the tracks a ways up the slide:


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The line passes through another tunnel just before it spans over Wolf Creek on another awesome bridge:


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More damage on the west side:


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I scrambled down to Wolf Creek for a bit to check out a truly awesome lunch spot:


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The crystal clear waters of Wolf Creek:


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Rough skin on the way back up:


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We headed a little further along the tracks and decided to turn around. But first we had a little snack:


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It was a great day to be a:


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RobFromRedland
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by RobFromRedland » February 17th, 2013, 6:27 am

Great trip report. That is a beautiful area. If you are up for a major adventure, I would suggest doing a shuttle hike, leaving one car at Salmonberry and the other at Cochran (where you started). Hike from Cochran to Salmonberry and you will get to see a lot more damage from that storm in 2007. I did this last year, and it was a truly epic hike. We started at 5am and got back home about 10pm - a very long day, but it was a great hike. Lots of driving to do the shuttle, but well worth it.

Thanks for posting the photos.
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BrianEdwards
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by BrianEdwards » February 17th, 2013, 8:06 am

Great photo documentary of the damage that line sustained. Im hoping the big trestles are left intact and not burned down. They're very impressive to experience. I think the Big Baldwin Trestle has enough steel in it to make it not worth burning. I believe it suffered some footing damage of some sort in the river tho.

Nice trip!
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justpeachy
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by justpeachy » February 17th, 2013, 8:23 am

BrianEdwards wrote:Im hoping the big trestles are left intact and not burned down. They're very impressive to experience.
I imagine they'll want to leave those trestles standing since they're eventually turning the whole line into a Rails to Trails path.

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Koda
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by Koda » February 17th, 2013, 9:58 am

Awesome and detailed TR Sean. It wets my appetite to backpack in the Salmonberry canyon, tucked in my bucket list. What little I have explored is beautiful in there and the rails and tunnel provide excellent access. The tunnels are fun to explore. Thanks for sharing this.
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Sean Thomas
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by Sean Thomas » February 17th, 2013, 10:18 am

Thanks, Rob. I read through several of your past posts where you asked about conditions and then later posted your findings. From your narrative it sounded like a great exploration and definitely a long and tiring day, but well worth it :) I have seen some of the tracks from Mohler to Nehalem Falls and bit up from there but the parts around Belding and Enright will be new to me.


None of you trail rail hounds should be thanking me for this tho. I think I read a post if not several from each of you before we went out yesterday that really helped when researching the trip. Without all of that I might have never thought to go out there. Exploring the tracks around Nehalem Falls when I was a kid on swimming/camping trips was fun but I didnt think much of it at the time. PH is a truly great resource for adventures like this.


Thats great to hear, peachy and thanks for the kind words Brian and Koda. It would be an epic triumph if the line was converted in the next ten years.

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Crusak
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by Crusak » February 17th, 2013, 11:19 am

Fun day for you two. Nice report, documenting what you discovered along the way.

I hope that plans move forward to make that a hiking trail! I see Sean doing the whole 90 miles in a day. :D

That's a popular hike for Boy Scout troops, too. I know a couple of guys that have taken their troops out for hikes along the tracks in that area.
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Peder
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by Peder » February 17th, 2013, 1:44 pm

RobFromRedland wrote:If you are up for a major adventure, I would suggest doing a shuttle hike, leaving one car at Salmonberry and the other at Cochran (where you started). Hike from Cochran to Salmonberry and you will get to see a lot more damage from that storm in 2007.
I have been thinking of organizing a Cochran to Hatchery Creek hike. I imagine switching cars on Hwy 26, so that your car is waiting at the arrival point. The problems is always either there is too much snow, or the weather is too good/bad, or I get distracted by another hike... maybe one day!

Funny how both Joie and my son use the rails as handrails...
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by Rustygoat » February 17th, 2013, 5:46 pm

Very neat report Sean. I wasn't aware of any old rail lines that one could hike on especially one with tunnels and trestles. Even though there isn't any waterfalls I think I'll have to check this area out. Thanks for sharing.
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Sean Thomas
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Re: Hiking the Tillamook Railroad- Cochran to Wolf Crk: 2/15

Post by Sean Thomas » February 18th, 2013, 4:00 pm

Thanks, Crus :) Im with Koda though, backpacking it sounds like a lot of fun. Not sure I want to end up as salmonberry railroad kill around mile 30 if I bonk out :?


Nice pic, Peder. I guess I should have been more clear about her stance. Jojo was jumping one of the gaps and thats why she was huddled down. She didnt seem to have a problem at all with the trestle bridges but the tunnels were not her favorite lol.


Thanks, RG. There are some nice sections of the creek that any waterfall seeker would love to see, the creek and river are really pretty in there. I cant wait to check out some of the line and get deeper into the Salmonberry Canyon. The only drawback is all the garbage along the route :(

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