By Jason Morrill, DES
My family and I are always looking for new places to hike and explore. Yet, we often drove by a hidden gem without knowing it. Just off of highway 213 between Oregon City and Mulino/Molalla, there is a beautiful location for hiking and picnicking. The Hopkins Demonstration Forest started as a 120 acre purchase by Howard & Margaret Hopkins in the 1960’s with the intent of turning the blackberry and poison oak infested land into a tree farm, which they were quite successful in accomplishing. After Howard’s death, Margaret worked with the Clackamas County Farm Forestry Associate to establish a non-profit corporation to retain ownership of the land in a step to help preserve it as a protected forest. Now it is a popular spot to visit with over 5 miles of beautiful trails. One aspect I particularly liked about the forest is the large picnic area in the middle of it. I like the idea of walking into the forest and enjoying a lunch in a natural setting, instead of beside a road or parking lot like most parks. There is also an old fashion water pump and small restroom nearby, which makes it an ideal place for a social gathering. The trails wind through beautiful forest, and there are still enough black berry bushes around to enjoy a few berries on your route. A lovely creek and small ponds also add to the charm of the place. This is definitely a location my family will visit again.