Guest Post: The Best Running Trails and Parks in Clackamas County

Oregon, and more broadly the Pacific Northwest, is known as one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. For those of us lucky enough to live here — or even if you’re just visiting! — it doesn’t take much motivation to get outside and go on a run in nature.

Portland gets a lot of the attention in our corner of the state, and that’s why we wanted to highlight some of our favorite trails and parks to go on a run in Clackamas county. From the well-maintained city parks of Oregon City and Lake Oswego to the rugged wilds of Mt. Hood National Forest, we’ve got a trail for everyone.

Our Six Favorite Running Trails and Parks in Clackamas County

1. Mount Talbert Nature Park – Clackamas, OR

We had to start our list off with a park in our little hometown of Clackamas. Even though it has “Mount” in the name, you won’t have to worry too much about elevation change on this three-mile loop trail. It’s easy to get started on your trail run from the parking lot at the south edge of the nature park, or you can access it from a connector trail at the SE Sunnyside & 117th bus stop.

2. Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park – Oregon City, OR

Clackamas County’s seat is home to all kinds of natural beauty, and Newell Creek Canyon is no exception. Keep your eyes out for gorgeous water features like creeks and falls and enjoy the lush green canopy overhead. 

Newell Creek Canyon doesn’t have the convenience of a perfect loop, but you can run out and back on your choice of one of the two loops.

3. Iron Mountain Trail – Lake Oswego, OR on the border of the county

Including a piece of Tryon Creek State Natural Area may seem like cheating if you know the geography around here: it’s not in Clackamas County! But Iron Mountain Trail cuts through the section of the park that is in our fair county. A quick trip at just over 2 miles out-and-back, this is a perfect trail for someone getting started on their journey as a runner.

4. Hopkins Demonstration Forest – Oregon City, OR

This one is a little different! Rather than a public park operated by the local government, Hopkins Demonstration Forest is a privately owned forest run by Forests Forever, Inc. But don’t worry about paying an entry fee, as it’s completely open to the public just like a city park would be.

The 140-acre forest has 14 named trails for you to explore on a run, so make sure you download the trail map or pick up a physical map at the main parking area before you head out.

5. Two Turntables and a Microwave at Sandy Ridge – Brightwood, OR

Now for something a little more challenging: this steep hike near Mt. Hood Village is part of a trail system best known for its mountain biking, but foot traffic is quite common too. Just make sure that you follow signage instructions to avoid any two-wheeled hellions screaming down the mountainside!

Two Turntables and a Microwave is our longest recommended trail run at around 6 miles. Bring plenty of water and energy to conquer it, and don’t forget to pay the day fee or get an annual pass.

6. Trillium Lake Loop Trail – Mt. Hood National Forest

Trillium Lake is about as far east as you can go and still be in Clackamas County, and the loop trail around it offers the best of both worlds: stunning views of Mount Hood, a lush alpine forest, and almost no elevation change on the loop. Running this trail might feel a bit too easy at 2 miles, but with views like this, you might just want to loop it more than once.

Same as Two Turntables and a Microwave, make sure you have a pass for parking up at Trillium Lake. Sno-Park PermitsNorthwest Forest Passes, and daily passes are all accepted.

There’s no doubt that we’ve missed some trails that others would call their favorites, especially in a region with so much natural beauty, but we hope you’ve found a new trail to add to your list!

The guest post was submitted by Central Air Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Clackamas. You’ll definitely want your air conditioning to work after a trail run on a warm summer day, so turn to Central Air for AC repair in Portland and beyond!

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