Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
User avatar
huckleberries
Posts: 24
Joined: August 2nd, 2018, 4:45 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by huckleberries » July 2nd, 2020, 5:40 am

I've read a lot about what's safe outdoors during the pandemic--and while the risk is low when passing people, it's not zero and a huge number of people on trails do not wear masks. I wear a mask outside of home. However I'd feel safer when hiking to be on a wide trail (like a fire road) rather than a narrow one. This leads to a puzzle--there are not a lot of wide trails in the Portland region that I can think of outside of Forest Park firelanes and Lief Erickson. I looked in the Find a Hike feature here on OregonHikers but didn't see a filter for width of trail. I am going to consider all the rail to trail options but that is going to leave out fire roads. Any ideas?

erik

ps--a timely article from NPR on Masks And The Outdoor Exerciser: Advice For Runners, Bikers, Walkers, Hikers:
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... ers-hikers
Last edited by huckleberries on July 2nd, 2020, 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Re-entering the Stone Ephemera of Codex Monolithiopia

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13096
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by retired jerry » July 2nd, 2020, 6:27 am

That is a good idea

One thought is trails from Ramona Falls trailhead. That area is sparse so it would be easy to walk off the trail a bit when someone's passing. Or just walk off trail anywhere around there. But, that can get pretty crowded...

Like you could walk from Riley campground to Ramona Falls trailhead. Or there are "trails" from McNeil campground.

User avatar
huckleberries
Posts: 24
Joined: August 2nd, 2018, 4:45 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by huckleberries » July 2nd, 2020, 6:54 am

That's interesting idea, I hadn't considered that area. That does intersect with my other challenge (a different topic really which I may start another post on) which is completing the remaining segments of the Timberline Trail safely. I may have to wait until next year or only hike between 5am and 9am. In this research / post I'm trying to keep the drive time to a little less than Mt. Hood area.
Re-entering the Stone Ephemera of Codex Monolithiopia

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13096
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by retired jerry » July 2nd, 2020, 7:17 am

only hike between 5AM and 9AM to avoid other people?

I have been very careful to avoid covid infections, but have found hiking on trails easy

Just get off trail when someone passes. Easy to stay 6+ feet away. "They" say that you normally need an exposure time greater than 15 minutes. Make sure and avoid a sneeze cloud. Outside, any virus tend to drift away.

It's very frustrating to me that we're not taking this more seriously. What's wrong with Americans???? I guess it's Americans eventually do the right thing... after they've tried everything else first. Hopefully we're running out of those other things we've being trying. You only need some percentage of people like 70% to be doing the right thing.

I think hiking is fine. You don't want to go crazy hiding inside your home.

johnspeth
Posts: 207
Joined: July 30th, 2013, 8:33 am

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by johnspeth » July 2nd, 2020, 7:50 am

retired jerry wrote:
July 2nd, 2020, 7:17 am
I think hiking is fine. You don't want to go crazy hiding inside your home.
I agree provided you don't pick a popular (crowded) hike. I've hiked many times since the trouble started. I routinely jump well off the trail when I encounter others. However, I've noticed about 1/3 of the folks do not do that. I'm sometimes heartened when I encounter a party that steps aside at the same time I do, like a hiking stalemate. A simple hand signal solves that problem followed by a friendly "thanks". :)

One can use location, timing, and weather choices to your advantage. The location choice is obvious: avoid crowded trails. First light starts or last light endings can alleviate much of the problem but certainly not all. First light is definitely better because many people hate to get out of bed at 2 or 3 am. The weather choice has the best return on effort. Pick a cool rainy day. Combine all three advantages and you might get a full day of solitude.

The risk is much less outside compared to inside, so they say. Just don't converse with other folks without a good bit of distance between parties.

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13096
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by retired jerry » July 2nd, 2020, 8:03 am

I would not go to Multnomah Falls, the Rose Garden, crowded places.

Ramona Falls trail can be quite crowded, but since the area is sparse because it was a volcanic area, there isn't a lot of undergrowth and it's flat so you can get off the trail easily.

Be prepared to change your plans and go somewhere else if it doesn't feel right. Even if it's just a drive in the car that beats hiding inside your home.

User avatar
adamschneider
Posts: 3193
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by adamschneider » July 2nd, 2020, 8:16 am

I've been out hiking almost every week since April, and I've barely encountered anyone (except at Mt. Pisgah near Eugene) because I've been going to weird places. But then I'm willing to drive up to 2.5 hours.

(Even at Mt. Pisgah, it wasn't too bad because I didn't get on the trail until after 3pm and I took the trails less traveled.)

User avatar
drm
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: The Dalles, OR
Contact:

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by drm » July 2nd, 2020, 8:18 am

The most obvious wide trails would be the two rails-to-trails, Deschutes River, past The Dalles, and Klickitat Trail that goes out of Lyle and has numerous other access points. Cottonwood State Park is a ways to drive for Portlanders, but it is an option. There is also Stacker Butte - but avoid for west wind days on that one. We've had a lot of strong west winds this year.

Many trails just are not practical to step out of due to dense forest or steep slopes, and this is particularly true in the Gorge. But the trail system between Coyote Wall and Catherine Creek has the "Ranch Road" trail near Coyote Wall that is an old road, and the most other trails there are easy to step off of for oncoming traffic.

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13096
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by retired jerry » July 2nd, 2020, 8:56 am

those are good ideas. Plus they're further away from Portland so less crowded.

Hot in the summer though.

Isn't there a rail to trail in Banks? I wonder how that would be.

User avatar
huckleberries
Posts: 24
Joined: August 2nd, 2018, 4:45 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Wide hiking trail options in the Portland region?

Post by huckleberries » July 2nd, 2020, 9:09 am

Great ideas, thanks all!

The step-off-the-trail thing is what I plan on doing when I get back on the Timberline. Of course there are places where it's steep and you are sort of stuck on the trail, but hopefully those places have enough visibility to anticipate people approaching.

I'm trying to fit in some after work hikes so I'm also trying to find places that are reachable in less driving time.
Re-entering the Stone Ephemera of Codex Monolithiopia

Post Reply