Barlow Wayside Park
Park development is not complete, but the few areas that are complete are currently open for visitors. Our project partner, the Bureau of Land Management, is currently working on the Sandy Ridge Trail System (adjacent and connected to BTP). This trail system now has approximately 9 miles of single-track biking and hiking trail that connects with the Barlow Trail Park trail. The BLM plans to expand its trail system to 15 miles of trail in the next year.
The address for Barlow Wayside Park is 60605 E. Barlow Trail Road, Brightwood, Oregon 97011 map. In 1956 Clackamas County conserved about 100 acres for the Barlow Trail Park, which is located directly adjacent to the Sandy River at around 1200 ft in elevation. The newly created walking trails leads visitors through majestic forest habitat, representative of the western Cascades. This forest habitat is approximately 100–150 years old with Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) as the dominant overstory tree species and Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) as the late seral species. Sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) and Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa) speckle the understory floor and salmon berry (Rubus spectabilis ) line the banks of Little Joe Creek. The Sandy River runs adjacent to the park for over a half of a linear mile. Therefore, the soil substrate in the lower elevations of the park is composed of Sandy River floodplain materials which have come down in storm events from higher elevations on Mt Hood. Average annual rainfall is usually around 90 inches, almost twice as much as nearby Portland, Oregon.
Barlow Trail Park is also located along the historic Barlow Trail Road, which was built in 1846 by Sam Barlow and Philip Foster. The construction of this road was such an important accomplishment because it completed the last overland segment of the Oregon Trail. The construction of this segment allowed covered wagons to cross the Cascade Range and reach the Willamette Valley, which had previously been nearly impossible due to river crossings (e.g. Sandy River), extremely steep terrain and high elevation conditions. This was by far the most exploratory and daring 100 miles of the nearly 2,000-mile Oregon Trail.
At this time there is about a mile of walking trails, and the plan is to expand this trail system in the near future. This park and its development have been made possible with the support of Clackamas County Parks, the Bureau of Land Management and help from the Mt Hood Stewardship Committiee.