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Barlow Wayside Park

Barlow Trail Map Barlow Trail aerial view

This forested gem is located near what was once the Barlow Road segment of the Oregon Trail. Our project partner, the Bureau of Land Management, is expanding its adjacent Sandy Ridge Trail biking system, which will eventually connect with this pedestrian-only park.

In 1956 Clackamas County conserved about 100 acres for a county park near Brightwood, along the North bank of the Sandy River. Some fifty years later, approximately a mile and a half of meandering walking trails lead visitors through a majestic forest habitat. Here, you’ll be immersed amid Douglas fir, Western hemlock, and Western red cedar and an understory of sword fern, salal, Oregon grape, salmon berry, and vine maple. The park’s riparian areas, created by seeps, springs, and streams, along with an annual rainfall of around 90 inches (almost twice as much as nearby Portland), nurtures fantastic habitat for all forms of flora and wildlife. Rustic bridges let you observe wetlands and streams close-up, including Little Joe Creek as it wends its way through the lower portion of the park providing shelter and sustenance for Coho salmon and steelhead, which spawn here every autumn and winter. There’s an informative kiosk at the entrance, interpretive panels, and a self-guided Natural History Tour Guide downloadable here.

History

For 10,000 years local Indians would have fished, foraged, camped, and hunted in this area. Then, merely 170 years ago, emigrants rested at a place such as this, arriving along the historic Barlow Road, the last segment of the Oregon Trail, allowing them, their stock and covered wagons, to cross the south slope of Mt. Hood to reach the “Promised Land” of the Willamette Valley. Built in 1846 by Sam Barlow and Philip Foster, the rugged overland trail avoided the treacherous Columbia River rapids, yet traversed extremely steep terrain, rivers, and dense forests. As you explore the park with its towering trees and lush habitat, we hope you may find some solace as those who came before.

Directions to Barlow Wayside Park

The physical address: 60605 E. Barlow Trail Road, Brightwood, Oregon 97011. Barlow wayside is located 11 miles east of Sandy. Take OR Hwy. 26 east to milepost #36, Marmot Exit, turn left off Hwy 26 then turn right on Barlow Trail Road and cross the bridge over the Sandy River. Stay on Barlow Trail Road for .4 mile and you will see a small parking lot to your left, the entrance to Barlow Wayside Park.

This park was developed with the support of Clackamas County Parks, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce and the Mt. Hood Stewardship Counsel, along with countless local volunteers including the Ant Farm, NW Youth Corps, and Mt. Hood Community College’s YESS Crew.

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