Some time ago I was perusing the Strava global heatmap looking for areas just outside of Portland that we haven’t ridden before. I noticed something up the Clackamas River that indicated there was something to check out.

A little bit of research later, I find reports of the Lower Clackamas Falls.

Oregon Hikers and Average Guy Adventures

I rode all the way from my house to Gresham where I met up with Brad on a brisk Saturday morning. Together, we headed out to Estacada for some extra supplies.

The sun came out around 10am, basking us with such needed warmth after another long winter. The ride itself was rather pleasant. No problems to brag about. But we did notice there was considerably more traffic than the last time we went up the river. We figure it was everyone coming out of hibernation to get projects done and enjoy the weekend.

Once we got to the Memaloose bridge, we skirted around the gate that closes the road to vehicular traffic, then started up the steep ascent to the trail head. At this point, I was getting a bit tired after nearly 40 miles of loaded riding.

We recouped at the trailhead with some snacks and water, chatted with a few people that were coming off the trail, then headed on our way leaving the bikes just sitting on the decommissioned road.

The trail started easy enough, a few fallen trees in the way, but we made some good progress. That is, until we came to the descent.

There were some old ropes to help us down as our feet had nothing substantial to grip without sliding down the hillside. It was a little sketchy to say the least as some of these ropes have been out here for years and started to look a bit frayed.

Down I go trying not to die

Brad seemed a bit more sure footed that I.

I strugged a little bit as my messenger bag was not very comfortable for this type of hiking and moving around. I thought it would be easy to sling around and get quick access to my camera, but it just ended up being a pain in my shoulder and inconvenient. Next time, I take a backpack with the quick draw.

Where the fun really started is when we went through the first tunnel.

Walk towards the light!
The bridge felt solid despite the overgrowth of moss
Up and Onward!
The Bridge of Doom
Brad’s looking accomplished

We were the only people camping at Lockaby, so it was nice and quiet save for the constant white noise from the Clackamas River.

Camp at Lockaby
Light pollution everywhere
Long Exposure and handheld bike light
I never get tired of the Big Cliffs on the Clackamas River

The ride back home was rather uneventful, but the sunshine made for very pleasant weather. See you next time!

-Tomas

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