Trails: Salmon River

Salmon River Trail Oregon Mount Hood

Located less than an hour’s drive east from Portland, the Salmon River Trail is a great low-elevation path that’s accessible nearly year-round. Given our recent cold, dry weather, conditions are perfect for a nice winter jaunt on a sunny day.

Multiple starting points near the trail’s northern terminus offer some flexibility in determining the length of your run; like many beautiful river trails that are out-and-back, however, the difficulty arises in deciding just when to turn around—you’ll want to keep going!

For a few extra miles close to the river, begin your run at your first opportunity. From Highway 26 in Wemme, turn onto Salmon River Road (at this intersection you’ll find a Subway restaurant and the nearby Barlow Trail Inn, important landmarks to remember for post-run refueling). After about 2.5 miles on Salmon River Road, a small turnout will appear on your right, with a sign marking the start of the trail.

The trail descends a short distance then turns upstream; from here it’s mostly level as it meanders along, passing the Green Canyon campground and popping out onto the road for short segments.

After running 2.5 miles you’ll arrive at a larger parking area and the “official” start of the Salmon River Trail. The trail stays level for another couple of miles, until you reach the boundary of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, after which it ascends steadily for several more miles.

At several points here the trail emerges from the woods to skirt the cliff edge, with panoramic views up and down the heavily forested canyon. On a sunny day, this trail is the perfect place to dry out your sweaty technical gear, have a Gu, and be thankful you’re able to participate in this fantastic sport.

-Phil Orlowski

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