Hike the Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Sam Shikuski

Lose yourself in Mount Hood's mossy old growth forests. This is an amazing hike following the Salmon River, hidden just outside of Welches, OR. It's perfect for an easy, short day hike or a to scout the rapids of the lower Salmon River.

  • Largely Flat Trail
  • 4.4 Miles out and Back
  • Old Growth Forest
  • River Scouting Opportunities

There are seven trailheads all off to the right of E. Salmon River Road. All are easily accessible under normal conditions. The hike meanders alongside the river, providing ample opportunities to scout the river's class II-III rapids and to camp. If you go further up the river you'll find the Salmon River Trail, which is more strenuous and goes alongside the class V waterfalls of the upper Salmon River.

There is one point at which the trail crosses a moderately deep stream. If you don't have waterproof boots there is a side trail just before the stream (on your left when facing the stream, on your right when facing north) which you can take to the road and if you take the road south (parallel to the trail) for about 100 yards you'll find a campsite and trailhead on your right which leads to the main trail on the other side of the stream.

The hike is very easy, and appropriate for older demographics. My parents who are usually wary of harder hikes found it quite pleasant.

Directions from US 26:

If you're headed East (toward Mount Hood) take a right onto E. Welches Road. You'll have to veer right twice to keep on E. Welches road, then continue straight (South) when it merges with Salmon River Road. The first trailhead and parking area is on the right just after the forest service sign.

If you're headed West (toward Portland) take a left onto Salmon River Road. Continue past the forest service sign. The first trailhead and parking area is on the right just after the forest service sign.

Distance

4.4 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

50 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Hiking

Forest
River
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

Cascade Locks / Portland East KOA

Cascade Locks, Oregon

Redmond / Central Oregon KOA

2435 Southwest Jericho Lane

Albany / Corvallis KOA

Albany, Oregon

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful

Went on this hike in March and it did not disappoint. The beginning of the hike meanders next to the river for about a mile, then takes you into a hall of mosses and old growth trees. On a sunny day you can see light filtering through the moss as it hangs from the canopy. The trail winds along the river and eventually gains elevation about 3/4 of the way in. There are several opportunities to stop at vantage points and soak up the view. Would recommend!

yet another 10

Another beautiful trail that follows up the river canyon past many water falls. the water falls are not easily accessed and there is no trail to them as they are far down a steep bank, but the rest of the trail is well worth the journey. Stunning old growth, and if your strong enough, the hike up to Devils Peak fire tower is awesome, or adventure up one of the many trails that shoots off the river trail into the Salmon huckleberry Wilderness Area. This trail is usually fairly crowded in the summer months on the lower part of the trail, but four miles or so in the crowd thins out. Yet another highly recommended trail that I would encourage everyone to see

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