On and off the beaten path: Explore Corps trails

By Amber Tilton, The Dalles Lock and Dam

(Photo by Jessica Jones, Bonneville Lock and Dam)

(Photo by Jessica Jones, Bonneville Lock and Dam)

This spring, head outside and explore a few well known and some not so well known trails

(Photo by Amber Tilton, The Dalles Lock and Dam)

(Photo by Amber Tilton, The Dalles Lock and Dam)

Q: What do all of the following have in common? Lewis and Clark, Oregon and California National Historic trails, Rogue and Row River National Recreation trails, Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, and the Northwest Discovery Water Trail?

A: Many of Portland District’s 175 miles of trails, fall nearby or within these trail systems.

Along the Columbia River

The Northwest Discovery Water Trail

Take a watery adventure and explore three different rivers along this 367-mile stretch of wet fun. Launch the boat of your choice at Canoe Camp on the Clearwater River in Idaho, drift down the Snake River and then splash into the Columbia River ending at Bonneville Dam in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Whether it’s a day or an overnight camping trip, you won’t be bored! Some of the region’s most scenic, natural and cultural wonders are best seen from the water. Along the water trail, explore riverside communities, wildlife refuges, parks, riverside trails, museums, visitor centers and more. To plan your trip, visit, http://www.ndwt.org/ndwt/

(Photo by Christie Johnson, Willamette Valley Project)

(Photo by Christie Johnson, Willamette Valley Project)

In the Willamette Valley

Row River Trail

Cradled between the Pacific Crest and California trails is the beautiful Row River Trail. Beginning in the City of Cottage Grove, the paved trail follows an abandoned rail line for 15 miles past Dorena Lake to the old logging town of Culp Creek, near the Umpqua National Forest. You will traverse a variety of landscapes as you pass three of the six bridges along the historic Covered Bridge Scenic Byway. Prepare to enjoy lake-front shoreline, urban parks, scenic farmland and lush forests. Trailheads are located near Dorena Dam, Row Point, Harms Park and Bake Stewart Park with lots of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

To learn more, visit: http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Locations/WillametteValley/Dorena.aspx

In the Rogue River Area

Trails along Applegate, Lost Creek and Elk Creek

Neighbors to the popular California and Pacific Crest Trails; all three recreation areas are guaranteed fun!

(Photo by David Hays, Rogue River Basin Project)

(Photo by David Hays, Rogue River Basin Project)

At Applegate Lake, grab your horse, motorcycle or mountain bike and mosey along 18 miles of meandering
shoreline, which extends all the way to the California border.

Venture to Lost Creek Lake near the scenic Rogue River Trail system. With 30 miles of trail looping this fresh water bowl, Lost Creek offers developed parks, campgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, fishing and more.

Looking for that off-the-beaten-path adventure? Just past Lost Creek Lake along Highway 62 is the Blue Grotto. Aptly named for its unique, blue-green volcanic tuff rocks, this scenic hike is a great adventure year round. The trail wanders through Madrone forest, across foot bridges and along the lake, ending in the grotto. Accessible from the Lewis Road trailhead, this easy workout has great rewards at the end … a stunning winter waterfall!

Prefer a more primitive experience? Elk Creek offers seven miles of hiking trails surrounded by more than three thousand acres of open land. Wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed but few facilities or services are available.

For details visit: http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Locations/RogueRiver.aspx

This spring choose your path and explore these or other Corps trails near you. To find Corps recreation sites, visit www.CorpsLakes.us