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Catherine Creek Universal Access Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

The Catherine Creek Universal Access Trail (Steve Hart)
Catherine Creek Falls (Steve Hart)
Flowers near the trail (Steve Hart)
Route of the hike
  • Start point: Catherine Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point:Catherine Creek Trailhead
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 100 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

The Catherine Creek area is widely known for its wildflowers. The US government bought the area in the 1980s and in 1998 a universal access trail was completed in the area between Old Highway 8 and Highway 14.

The most difficult part of the entire hike for those in wheelchairs is going to be the parking area. The parking lot is unimproved and has a hard surface of somewhat uneven stone. Cross the road to the trailhead proper and you'll come to an accessible (if portable) restroom.

From here the trail surface is all paved and in good condition. You'll quickly come to an abandoned corral and a trail junction. This is the end of the loop and you can go either way. Turn left to follow this description and have the easier, less steep path back up.

The trail weaves about past several informational signs about the flowers and history of the area. In about 1/4 mile, you'll come to a viewpoint overlooking Catherine Creek Falls. Catherine Creek runs all year, but there's definitely more water in the spring. From here the trail drops down somewhat steeply and crosses a couple of wooden bridges. You'll pass the lower end of the shortcut trail, heading uphill to the right. At the base of the hill is a welcome bit of shade under a few oak trees.

The trail now starts very gradually up. You'll work your way under a small bluff. Off to he left, you'll notice a fault in the underlying basalt. Cracks like this form between different lava flows and create the interesting rock formations in the area. A similar fault has created the nearby Catherine Creek Arch. As the trail switches back toward the east, you'll have a good chance to admire the flowers in the open area. You'll pass the upper junction of the shortcut trail and soon, you'll be back to the first trail junction.

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Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.