The Clackamas River is yet another Mecca for outdoor loving families in the Portland area. Camping, whitewater rafting, fishing, and of course hiking, are all popular activities along the length of the Clackamas. One way to get a prime sampling of the river’s beauty is by hiking the Clackamas River Trail to Pup Creek Falls. The 7.5-mile,1050-foot elevation gain out and back hike is an area favorite, and with good reason.
The clear waters of the Clackamas River are a fine sight anytime of year. The trail rises and falls as it parallels the waterway, visiting numerous beaches that beg to be explored. These are prime spots for snack breaks and rock skipping. The path also leads to some stunning cliff-edge viewpoints, but be sure to mind the little ones. The first 2 miles of the hike passes through the remains of a 2003 forest fire. The landscape then transitions into more of an old growth setting complete with nurse logs and stream crossings complimented by mini-waterfalls.
The visually striking yet little known Pup Creek Falls makes a great turnaround point. The three-tiered 100-foot falls are highlighted by rich green mosses and bright yellow and orange lichens.
To get there from I-205, take exit 12 and travel 18 miles east to Estacada. Go through town and continue 14.5 miles on Highway 224. Just prior to crossing the 2nd of two steel bridges, turn right onto Fish Creek Road. Continue 0.2 mile, cross a bridge, and park at the lot on the right.
The trailhead is at the far end of the parking lot and across the road. Hike 3.5 miles to a power line clearing. Follow the marked side trail on the right that leads 300 yards to Pup Creek Falls. Head back the way you came.