After a friend told me on two different occasions how he enjoyed the Clackamas River Trail, it was high on my hiking radar. When I got a day off today and the sun was shining, the Clackamas seemed a logical destination. Denise and I loaded up a couple packs and headed out there for a quick out-and-back trip. As I drove along the river, I fondly remembered kayaking it with a buddy years ago. The waters are more pristine upstream from North Fork Reservoir, but a road parallels the river for many miles.
Although I’d driven the road multiple times (its the route to the famous Bagby Hot Springs) it hadn’t occurred to me that I’d have the road as backdrop while hiking. Duh. It was in the background half the time. The woods are still really nice, more open than most forests on Mt. Hood, due to an obvious wildfire.
Denise led the way for a while, and then I took over. The walking was not too tough. The trail was rocky in a few spots, muddy in a few spots, and lined with poison oak for fifty feet (in the switchbacks). After climbing over a high point, we switchbacked down to the riverside and a tiny but pretty beach. Jackie wanted to chase sticks, so I obliged. Then it was onward and upward again. The trail was closed at the two mile mark due to recent slide activity that made the trail impassable. The signage had alerted us to the situation, but it was still a let-down.
The jade hues of the river were gorgeous from that high point. I wanted to jump into its depths or kayak down the whitewater. Maybe on a hotter day. There are many more miles to the trail. Hopefully it will get repaired and re-open at some point. I’ll be back.