Trails: Gales Creek
Located in the Tillamook State Forest about 45 minutes west of downtown Portland, the Gales Creek trail offers another relatively close-in option to get away from the crowds while snow may still cover higher elevation trails like the PCT.
Its entire 12.7-mile length is now open to runners, hikers, and mountain bikes after a years-long closure due to storm damage.
Gales Creek is always within view as you pass several trailside waterfalls and encounter a number of large stumps with notches cut for logging.
Like many creekside trails, however, it’s not “flat and easy.” The ups and downs in the first few miles will force you to maintain a slow and steady pace as the trail climbs continuously.
A few of the more gradual sections follow an old logging grade constructed to remove timber after the Tillamook Burn in the 1930s.
The trailhead is adjacent to the Gales Creek campground, a nice place to pitch a tent or just relax and soak the dogs after a day on the trail.
Access: From Portland, follow Hwy. 26 west to its junction with Hwy. 6. Take Hwy. 6 to milepost 35, where there’s a short gravel road down to the trailhead and campground. A nice description and map can be found here.