New trail would link Salmonberry and Banks-Vernonia trails

Construction of the trail (dashed yellow line) could begin soon.
(Map: BikePortland)

The Salmonberry Trail Foundation says they’ve got the green light to build a new trail that would connect directly to the existing Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

New trail labeled as “potential link” in 2015 Salmonberry Concept Plan.

The location is just about 30 miles northwest of Portland, where Williams Creek tumbles through Hares Canyon between Highway 47 and Stub Stewart State Park. It’s where the now-defunct Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad used to wind over a trestle above the creek just north of the small community of Buxton.

Today advocates are pushing to re-establish the railroad line as a trail that would connect Banks to the Oregon Coast. It’s a vast undertaking, but progress is being made in small, opportunitistic chunks. Last year the foundation completed the first two segments of work on the trail — trailheads at the eastern and western terminus of the future trail.

According to the foundation’s Executive Director Jon-Paul Bowles, the next chunk won’t be a piece of the Salmonberry; but it’s an important one nonetheless. He says Oregon State Parks and Recreation Division partners have given him permission to establish an off-road trail between the Williams Creek trestle and the Banks-Vernonia State Trail (near mile 7).


Relevant map segment from 2015 Salmonberry Trail Concept Plan.

“This connector is meant to be catalytic and create demand for more,” Bowles shared in an email to BikePortland yesterday. “It could become part of a loop off of the B-V and demonstrate how we’ll connect the Salmonberry to other trail systems in the region.”

With this relatively short connector trail, Bowles hopes to start construction on the main Salmonberry trail between Williams Creek and the Manning Trailhead. “We have a few planning hoops to jump through yet,” he said. “Fortunately the connector trail does not require intensive planning so we can get it on the ground sooner than later.”

Once this trail is open and the connection to Manning is complete, it will open up the first-ever loop ride possibility on the Salmonberry. Very exciting indeed!

To make this trail a reality, Bowles says one of his board members has agreed to donate a matching gift of $15,000. Other board members have already stepped up with $8,000 and Bowles is appealing to the broader community to pitch in for the final $7,000. If you’d like to help, you can donate to the Salmonberry Trail Foundation on their website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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Bicycling Al
Bicycling Al
2 years ago

Fantastic! I’m very excited about everything Salmonberry. I tried riding the B-V trail recently but this was right after the winds and just prior to the smoke inundated the region. Unfortunately, there were so many downed trees and debris that it became apparent after the 4th shouldering of the bike in as many miles that I brought the wrong bike for the ride and gave up.

Joseph Ei
Joseph Ei
2 years ago
Reply to  Bicycling Al

Oh, we were planning to ride it this weekend. Does anyone know if it is cleaned up now?

2 years ago

Great news.

Though when ever I use the BV trail with a loaded touring bike and get to the point where the trail has to climb up / down switchbacks to cross a road I get wistful for the missing railroad elevated crossing that once existed there (and exists at other locations along it).

2 years ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

I believe the main portion of the span over 47 is still intact, though bypassed by the developed trail…not sure if the ends of the trestle are still standing, though. Can’t see them through the trees on Google Maps. There are some unofficial user trails in the vicinity…

2 years ago
Reply to  televod

Whoops, yeah… remembered that the north end burned down in the 80s. Oh well.