Summer adventures await outdoors in Estacada
Although the entrance to the Mt. Hood National Forest on Highway 224 is expected to remain closed through this summer in the aftermath of the Riverside Fire, there are still many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in the upcoming months.
Dorothy Brown-Kwaiser, a parks education specialist for Portland General Electric, expects to see many visitors at PGE's outdoor facilities this summer.
"Most of our parks are relatively untouched by the fires," she said, noting that last summer, more people were eager to get outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "There was a huge jump in use."
Tucked away in the Mt. Hood National Forest, Timothy Lake and Lake Harriet can be accessed via Highway 26 near Sandy. PGE manages these parks in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, and the locations offer opportunities for camping, fishing, boating and hiking.
Timothy Lake spans 1,500-acres and offers views of Mt. Hood. Visitors can fish for kokanee, eastern brook, rainbow trout and crawdad.
Lake Harriet spans 22 acres and stores water for PGE's Oak Grove Hydroelectric Project. It's stocked with rainbow trout, and cutthroat and brown trout.
Those who wish to stay a bit closer to Estacada can find adventure at Promontory Park. Located along the Clackamas River, the PGE-operated facility at 40600 S.W. Highway 224 offers boat rentals, camping, a marina and a store. Children who wish to fish for trout can visit Small Fry Lake, which was designed with young anglers in mind.
Timber Park is another local option operated by PGE. Located at 30878 N.W. Evergreen Way, it offers disc golf, a playground, boat launch, and plenty of spots for picnicking.
For larger groups, the park offers two reservable group picnic areas.
The four Clackamas County operated parks in the Estacada area offer visitors a chance to hike through old growth forest and play in the Clackamas River. Both Barton and Carver parks are popular spots for floating on the Clackamas River. Barton Park also offers a mile and a half of hiking trails, campsites, softball fields, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
Eagle Creek runs through the old growth forest at Eagle Fern Park. The park offers four miles of hiking trails, fishing, interpretive panels to learn about the forest, softball fields, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
At Metzler Park, visitors can camp surrounded by Douglas-fir and western red cedar trees. Along with 75 campsites, there are two-and-a-half miles of hiking trails, fishing opportunities at Clear Creek, softball fields, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
Also a stone's throw away from Estacada city limits is Milo McIver State Park. The Clackamas River runs through the park at 24101 S. Entrance Road, which offers campgrounds, boat launches, a disc golf course, equestrian trails and plenty of opportunities for hiking.
The river awaits
Along with camping and hiking, those interested can make a splash on the Clackamas River this summer.
Though the upper section of the river that runs through the Mt. Hood National Forest remains closed in the aftermath of the Riverside Fire, organizations like Clackamas River Outfitters are connecting people with rentable kayaks, paddle boards and inner tubes to use on the lower stretch.
While the upper section is home to more advanced whitewater rapids, the lower section provides opportunities for beginners to test the waters.
"We used to specialize in whitewater, but now we're more specialized in recreational flatwater," said Albert Zwigsen, a manager at Clackamas River Outfitters. "That's always been a big focus during the summer, but it's definitely been a shift."
Along with their shop in downtown Estacada at 360 S.W. Zobrist St., Clackamas River Outfitters offers rental sites at Timber Park, 30878 N.W. Evergreen Way, and Milo McIver State Park, 24101 S. Entrance Road.
A new feature at Clackamas River Outfitters this year is a school bus that will shuttle passengers between river sites at Barton and Milo McIver parks. Also new this year are fishing kayaks, which Zwigsen said, "have been flying out of the door."
The team at Clackamas River Outfitters is looking forward to helping people find adventure on the water.
"Before, someone would drive out here to paddle (the upper Clackamas) section," Zwigsen said. "With that not being an option, we're definitely becoming more recreation focused."
Some sites remain closed
In addition to closure of Highway 224 past Promontory Park, multiple locations on the Mt. Hood National Forest will not open this summer because of damage from the Riverside Fire.
No campgrounds along the Clackamas River will open this year. In addition to 13 campgrounds experiencing moderate to severe fire damage, Forest Service officials estimate that the corridor along Highway 224 and Forest Road 46 has at least 100,000 hazardous trees as a result of the fire. Additionally, hillsides are likely to experience landslides.
The State of Oregon's Debris Management Task Force is working on removing hazardous trees and falling rocks, as well as repairing damaged asphalt on Highway 224.
Forest Service officials said La Dee Flats is expected to open later this summer, after its access road is repaired from fire damage. Though Bagby Hot Springs was not damaged by the fire, it is behind roads impacted by the flames and will not open in 2021.
Access via NF-4280
$5 day use fee
Access via NF-4630
$5 day use fee
40600 S.W. Highway 224
30878 N.W. Evergreen Way
Milo McIver State Park
24101 S. Entrance Road
$5 parking fee
19009 S.E. Barton Park Road
$6 parking fee
14888 S. Springwater Road
$6 parking fee
Eagle Fern Park
27505 Eagle Fern Road
$6 parking fee
24526 S. Metzler Park Road
$6 parking fee
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