Thanks to Mr. Groundhog, spring is supposed to arrive early, allowing us to climb out of our cocoons and get back to the real world. Spring is traditionally a time for people to clean out their clutter, but let's forget that; we can do it later. It's much more fun to cleanse the soul instead and head out into nature to bask in its beauty. Here are three trails that each offer a different experience, so everyone can get a little outdoor time.
Pup Creek Falls is a moderate hike along the Clackamas River a little ways past Estacada. You have a bit of flexibility with this one, as you can pick either the trailhead at Fish Creek, near the campground of the same name, or Indian Henry Campground's trailhead. Each spot offers a unique experience for an out and back 8.7-mile trip. For the best experience, in our opinion, go with a friend, leave a car at one trailhead and then head together to the other, hiking your way through.
The payoff of this trail is right about at the middle point, where you take a short spur that ends at the 100-foot, multi-tiered Pup Creek Falls. It's a gorgeous waterfall, flanked by mossy green walls and verdant trees. The trail is open year-round, but be sure to check on conditions, as high waters can occasionally impact the trail.
One of the amazing things about our region is you can be in a city, yet still find seemingly endless acres of nature. Mary S. Young Park in West Linn is a little slice of the outdoors in an otherwise bustling urban community. Well, more than "little" actually, as there are 4.5 miles of trails to explore here. You'll wind between towering trees and along the Willamette River's shoreline. The trails are pet friendly and ADA accessible, making this park perfect for pretty much everybody.
While the park is open year-round, spring is an especially wonderful time to visit, as the vibrant greens of the new growth can't help but refresh your spirit.
Wildwood Recreation Site is what happens when a beautiful system of trails is thoughtfully and carefully laid out along the Wild & Scenic Salmon River. This simply gorgeous location, created and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), features more than 2.5 miles of trails that wind through forests and along the banks of the river. The Cascade Streamwatch and Wetlands trails are all ADA accessible. When you combine that with the ability to go to the water's edge, which kids find irresistible, you've got a spot perfect for the whole family.
The coolest thing, however, is found along the Cascade Streamwatch Trail. This 0.75-mile trail leads to an underwater viewing window, which gives you a look at the thriving ecosystem that exists beneath the water's surface. During spring months, you may see smaller fish, snails and crawdads.
A $5 fee per vehicle is paid at the entry. Large picnic areas that can accommodate a whole busload of people are also available to reserve by calling the BLM.