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    Routes

    Uncharted - Coyote Wall

    Uncharted - Coyote Wall

    Uncharted is a challenge series from Territory Run Co for the Greater Portland area that aims to get you out exploring new areas with pre-planned routes. While each area we highlight may not be new to you, we hope it inspires you to explore some lesser known areas.

    HOW IT WORKS

    1. Complete one of the listed routes below.

    2. Log your run here. Once reviewed, you will receive an email with a merit badge. If you complete between the dates of April 1st - April 30th, this badge of completion awards you $10 in store credit for any Territory products.

    3. For each challenge we will also offer a grand prize package. To be entered to win, complete the route between above dates, log it here, and tag us in a photo from your run on instagram.

    4. To increase chances of winning grand prize you can also log that you visited post run locations listed below.

    We will have Uncharted routes throughout the year and you will be able to collect merit badges from each.

    You can join the Uncharted Strava Group here.

    Coyote Wall Background

    Situated in the rain shadow of the cascades, Coyote Wall is a unique geological and ecological location offering sweeping vistas, stunning wildflowers and unparalleled recreation. When it is raining farther west in Portland, this area often remains dry. These trails have been enjoyed, unofficially, by mountain bikers for a few decades now, but were not official trails until much more recently.

    The eponymous "Wall" at Coyote Wall was formed over 10,000 years ago during the Missoula Floods when a surge of water resulting from Ice Age melt stripped the area to bedrock, leaving these unique features.

    Coyote Wall is closest to the city of White Salmon. Depending on where you are coming from, you will likely have to cross the Hood River Toll Bridge. It is currently $3.50 per vehicle each direction and takes cash or card.

    This area has poison oak. In fact, it has a lot of poison oak. It can be hard to identify this early in the year, but it's oils are still active even without leaves. Poison oak tends to affect people more after repeated exposure, so if you've never had it before, you're less likely to have a severe reaction. My rule of thumb when traveling in areas with poison oak is to, one, stay on trail, and two, just assume I've come into contact with it and wash off with TecNu Poison Ivy and Oak Scrub when I get home. You can purchase this at most pharmacies and grocery stores. I've also heard dish soap can work as well. The trick is to wash the oils off before you begin to react. If you're extra nervous about poison oak, TecNu even sells a portable wipe you can bring with you.

    This area also has ticks. You're unlikely to get one, but be on the look out. 

    The water in this area comes from cow pastures above so it is generally recommended to no drink the water here. I personally make sure to bring enough water for my entire run when in this area or cache water before hand. 

    I know these warnings can sound deterring, but believe me, it's worth it. This area is truly spectacular and it's a spot we keep coming back to again and again. 

    We'll be starting all three routes from the Coyote Wall Trailhead. No parking pass is required. Parking is limited, but is continued along the side of Courtney Road.

    THE ROUTES 

     


    6 Mile Route GPX File

    Starting from the trailhead the route begins on Old Highway 8, a retired section of highway now riddled with boulders that have fallen from above. We will continue on this past the first trail turn off and continue to the Labyrinth Trail. Take a left onto the trail and begin climbing up. You will keep right at the first junction and continue climbing towards Labyrinth Falls.

    After a quick break to admire the falls, we will continue climbing. To our right is Wankers Columns, a quiet climbing crag off to our right. Although rarely busy, it's not uncommon to see a few trad climbers scaling the walls of the rock feature.

    We're still heading up, all the way to the top of Atwood road. We will pass a couple of spur trails to our right shortly after Wankers Columns and then continue left and up at the junction with Desert Parsley Trail, switching back towards the forested hillside above. Be sure to look back and enjoy some stunning views of the Gorge as you're climbing up.

    Once we hit Atwood Road, we will take a left for a short distance before coming to a large intersection. At this intersection we want to head down and to our left on Old Ranch Road. Old Ranch Road descends via wide switchbacks on the hillside. As we descend, we will be looking for the Little Maui Trail on our right.

    Take a left on Little Maui, enjoying a beautiful waterfall beside the trail. As we continue to descend we want to keep right, heading back down to Old Highway 8. Once we are back on the Old Highway, it's a short run back to the car.

     


    10 Mile Route GPX File

     

    Our 10 mile route starts the same as the 6-miler. We'll begin from the Coyote Wall Trailhead and take Old Highway 8 until we reach Labyrinth Trail. Take Labyrinth up, past the falls, past Wankers Columns until we reach the junction with the Desert Parsley Trail. On this route we will take the right trail (Desert Parsley) and traverse the hillside. 

    In about half a mile, the Shoestring Trail connects in. We want to stay on Desert Parsley Trail so we will take the sharp right switchback and begin our descent. Careful on this descent, we have a sneaky left hand turn onto a faint trail coming up shortly.

    In 6/10ths of a mile is the faint continuation of the Desert Parley Trail to our left. It climbs up and over a rock field. 

     

    This trail quickly intersects the Bitterroot Trail, take a left and begin climbing some more. Keep left to stay on the Bitterroot Trail in less than a 10th of a mile. In about a half mile take a sharp right onto the connector trail that passes beneath the power lines.

    From here you will climb up an open, grassy roadbed to Atwood Road above.

     

    Take a left on Atwood road as it traverses the hillside through the forest. This transition from open grassland to deep forest is one of the things we love best about this area. Stay on Atwood Road, continuing past the tie-in with Upper Labyrinth. After about a mile and a half, there will be a trail on your right, just before a major intersection. This trail is actually the connector for Atwood Road. It skirts a private property boundary and spits us back out on Atwood Road on the other side. See the photo below. 

    After a short section longer on Atwood Road, take a left onto trail. We will stay on this trail for a half mile, heading for the Wall. When the trail comes to a 4 way junction, stay straight, heading towards the Coyote Wall Trail. 
    Descend on the Coyote Wall Trail for 4/10ths of a mile, enjoying spectacular views and the blooming Balsam Root flowers. After taking in the panoramic vista, head left onto the Traverse Trail to Old Ranch Road.
    At this point, we rejoin the 6 Mile Route. Continue down Old Ranch Road taking a left onto Little Maui. Stop to enjoy Little Maui Falls and then continue all the way back down to Old Highway 8 to wrap up your run.

    Our 15 Mile Route will follow our 10 Mile route for a bit before tacking on an extra loop to the East. Begin on Old Highway 8, take a left onto Labyrinth Trail. Climb up, up, up until Desert Parsley Trail and begin descending after the junction with Shoestring Trail. Be on the lookout for a faint trail to your left about 6/10ths of a mile after the Shoestring junction. Take this faint continuation of Desert Parsley up and over a rock band to the Bitterroot Trail.

    This is where we deviate. Unlike the 10 Mile Route, take a right on the Bitteroot Trail and descend all the way down to the Catherine Creek Trailhead at Old Highway 8. After descending to the base you will begin climbing Atwood road and shortly keeping right to join the Tracy Hill Trail.

    You will come to a junction to begin the Tracy Hill loop. Stay left here to complete the loop clockwise. As you reach the top of the loop. you will traverse the hillside, staying straight as you pass a trail heading up and to your left. After passing through a short forested section, we will begin a fun, open descent down Tracy Hill.

    As you descend, you will take a quick right and then continue back to the start of the loop. Keep descending back to the junction with Atwood Road and then take a right on Atwood Road up through the forest. We will now follow Atwood Road through to the ending of the 10 Mile route. Continue past the Upper Labyrinth junction and take the trail connector to Atwood Road right before the major intersection. 

    Take a left off of Atwood Road and head to the Coyote Wall Trail. After descending down the wall a bit, we will take the Traverse Trail to Old Ranch Road and then, ultimately, to Little Maui Trail. Once we are on Little Maui it is just a short descent back to Old Highway 8 and back to the trailhead.


    Post Run

    No adventure is complete without some celebratory food and drink. We've included a few of our favorite spots in the area to check out post-run.

    Everybody's Brewing White Salmon Baking Co. Solstice Wood Fire Pizza

     

    Uncharted - Gales Creek

    Uncharted - Gales Creek

    Uncharted is a challenge series from Territory Run Co for the Greater Portland area that aims to get you out exploring new areas with pre-planned routes. While each area we highlight may not be new to you, we hope it inspires you to explore some lesser known areas.

    HOW IT WORKS

    1. Complete one of the listed routes below.

    2. Log your run here. Once reviewed, you will receive an email with a merit badge. If you complete between the dates of March 1st - March 31st, this badge of completion awards you $10 in store credit for any Territory products.

    3. For each challenge we will also offer a grand prize package. To be entered to win, complete the route between above dates, log it here, and tag us in a photo from your run on instagram.

    4. To increase chances of winning grand prize you can also log that you visited post run locations listed below.

    We will have Uncharted routes throughout the year and you will be able to collect merit badges from each. 

    You can join the Uncharted Strava Group here.

    Gales Creek Background

    For the month of March, we will be heading to the heart of the coast range and exploring the exceptional trails of Gales Creek and the Tillamook Forest. Gales Creek was the origin of the Tillamook Burns, a series of catastrophic forest fires that occurred between 1933 and 1951, burning a combined total of 554 square miles.

    These trails are *lush*. Spongey soft trail surface, ferns, Oregon grape, Salal, moss-covered Douglas firs- its a quintessentially PNW experience.

    With the trailhead just about 45 minutes from Portland, these trails tend to feel a lot less busy than those of the Gorge. You will, however, have parts of the route polluted by the noise of off-road vehicles and target practicers. The lush forest does a surprisingly good job of attenuating that extra noise and the soft trails and beautiful surroundings more than make up for it in my opinion.

    Water abounds on these routes and I will often come here for training runs with a hand-held bottle that has a filter cap (seriously, this was a game-changer for me). Despite being a rainforest (i.e. gets really damn wet), these trails drain remarkably well.

    We have all the routes starting from Rogers Camp Trailhead which is a large parking area mostly used by OHV users. There is typically plenty of parking, but the thing I love about this area is that you never really have to worry about finding a spot. If Rogers Camp were to ever fill up, there are two lots across highway 6 at the Summit Trailhead and next to the entrance to Storey Burn Rd. Beyond that, there are plenty of other parking options in the area that can be easily found on a map.

    There is no cellular service in this part of the coast range. Be sure to download your maps before heading out.

    THE ROUTES 

     

     


    Historic Loop GPX File

    Starting from the Rogers Camp parking lot, our trail starts just to the right of the bathrooms next to the trail info kiosk. It begins with a punchy climb through deep forest, crossing a few ATV trails. You will very quickly hit a trail junction (if you've done this loop before, this is new). Stay left to continue on our loop, the right fork is our return trail. 

    There will be some ups and downs as we work our way up to about 1800 feet in elevation overlooking a clear cut. The Tillamook Forest is what's known as a working forest with much of the timber being grown and harvested for commercial logging. 

    After the clear cut you will descend down to cross Cedar Road and then descend again above the Devils Lake Fork of the Wilson River. This takes you to University Falls Road which you will briefly utilize for its bridge that crosses the river here and then take an immediate left on the south bank to continue on the Nels Rogers Trail.

    At the next road crossing at Beaver Dam Road, the Nels Rogers trail becomes the Wilson River Wagon Road Trail. This trail follows a portion of a historic toll road from the 1890s that followed the south fork of the Wilson River and was the only route between Forest Grove and Tillamook.

    Continue through forested trail, continuing to cross forest roads and ATV trails. Eventually you will hit a "T" with Saddle Mountain Road where it appears there is no trail on the other side. We will briefly take a right and follow this road until the trail continues on the left side.

    The trail begins to level out and eventually begins to parallel a stream. Soon you will cross University Falls Road once more at the University Falls Trailhead, marked by log railings. The trail has now become the Gravelle Brothers Trail, named for twin brothers responsible for stewarding the Tillamook Forest trail system. You will cross two ATV roads and then have a short and steep descent. To your left is an open, unassuming area that is our quick detour to the incredible University Falls. Look for the painted University Falls sign to find the 1/10th mile spur trail. 

    Returning back to the trail, you will continue left on the Gravelle Brothers Trail meandering above Elliot Creek below. As you pass through another clearcut the trail descends, then climbs back into the forest. Eventually you will hit a large bridge crossing the Devis Fork of the Wilson River. Almost immediately after this crossing you will encounter a series of trail junctions. Stay right at all of them to head back to Rogers Camp. 

    This past season, a reroute was created for the return trail on the Gravelle Brothers Trail. Where you once continued on an old roadbed back towards Highway 6, there is now a continuation of the Gravelle Brothers Trail across the old roadbed. This new trail eventually takes you back to the first trail junction you encountered on the route where you will continue straight to get back to your parked car.

     


    Storey Burn Loop GPX File

    The Storey Burn loop uses just about all of the Historic Loop, including the detour to University Falls. This provides a great option to drop down to the shorter Historic Loop if you just aren't feeling it. 

    Beginning from the Rogers Camp Trailhead, run the Historic Loop detailed above. However, once you've crossed the Devils Lake Fork of the Wilson River, stay left at the junction with the Gravelle Brothers Trail and continue onto the Storey Burn Trail.

    From the bridge you will begin a roughly 500 foot climb heading to the Storey Burn Trailhead. The trail takes you right under Highway 6 and climbs steeply through the forest before flattening out and meandering around several creek drainages. Eventually you will end up at the gravel parking lot for the Storey Burn Trailhead. Continue straight through the parking lot, passing through some large placed boulders to cross Storey Burn Road and continue on the Storey Burn Trail on the opposite side. 

    From here you will have a beautiful descent through lush green forest. As the trail wraps around the hillside you will come to a small waterfall that flows right through the trail. You can typically stay dry here by hopping across on an old tree stump, but be careful as it might be slick. 

    Continue descending and soon come to a shallow wide creek with a clearcut off between the trees to your left. Depending on flow, it can be inevitable that your feet get wet here. As you reach the bottom of your descent, there will be a large footbridge to your right. This is Gales Creek Trail. We will take the right here and cross the bridge. Be warned that a lot of the milages on these trail signs seem to be inaccurate. 

    Continue on the Gales Creek Trail until it reaches the Gales Creek Campground parking lot. You will continue straight through this first, smaller day use lot and continue on the trail to your right, still Gales Creek Trail. From the parking lot to Highway 6 at the top is about 700 feet of gain and 2.5 miles. 

    As you near the top of the climb, if you look closely uphill to your left, you will see the remnants of an old car that had driven off Highway 6 decades ago.

    Once you reach the Summit Trailhead at Highway 6, you will need to cross to get back to Rogers Camp Trailhead. While there technically is a hiker's trail on the opposite side of the highway, it is often overgrown and hard to find. I will usually stay right along the Summit Trailhead parking lot and continue past Storey Burn Road to then cross to Beaver Dam Road (The road you drove in on to reach the trailhead) and then take the immediate left on Saddle Mountain Road to get back to my car.

     


    Post Run

    No adventure is complete without some celebratory food and drink. We've included a few of our favorite spots in the area to check out post-run.

    McMenamin's Roadhouse Hop Cycle Brewing Company Helvetia Tavern

     

    Unhcharted - North Nasty

    Unhcharted - North Nasty

    Uncharted is a new challenge series from Territory Run Co for the Greater Portland area that aims to get you out exploring new areas with pre-planned routes. While each area we highlight may not be new to you, we hope it inspires you to explore some lesser known areas.

    HOW IT WORKS

    1. Complete one of the listed routes below.

    2. Log your run here. Once reviewed, you will receive an email with a merit badge. If you complete between the dates of February 1st - February 29th, this badge of completion awards you $10 in store credit for any Territory products. 

    3. For each challenge we will also offer a grand prize package. To be entered to win, complete the route between above dates, log it here, and tag us in a photo from your run on instagram.

    4. To increase chances of winning grand prize you can also log that you visited post run locations listed below.

    We will have Uncharted routes throughout the year and you will be able to collect merit badges from each. 

    You can join the Uncharted Strava Group here.

    Forest Park Background

    For the month of February, we opted to explore to explore some trails a little closer to home.The north end of Forest Park is a true hidden gem. Seeing significantly less use than it's southern half, you can expect to encounter much better habitat with many fewer users. Elk, deer, porcupine, bobcat, bear, coyote, bald eagle, vultures, mountain lion and many more animals have been reportedly seen in this section of the park.

    Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world with over 80 miles of trails and 5200 acres in size. Situated in the Tualatin Mountains west of Portland, the park serves as a vital greenway to the coast range, allowing for nearly contiguous habitat for wildlife.

    Formally dedicated in 1948, Forest Park is actually a conglomerate of some smaller parks, land donations and delinquent tax foreclosures. 

    Much of the Tualatin Mountains' base is solidified lava from a series of Grand Ronde basalt flows about 16.5 million years ago. Wind-deposited silt later covered much of what is now Forest Park, creating unstable hillsides. This instability is the reason why much of Forest Park was never further developed and spawned many of the tax foreclosures that grew the parks size. 

    Human settlement in the area known as Forest Park is believed to date back 10,000 years. Forest Park rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River, creating communities and summer encampments to harvest and use the plentiful natural resources of the area.

    The North Unit of Forest Park is a relatively new addition and boasts some of the healthiest and pristine habitat in the entirety of the park. Although this section had been an unofficial and vital part of the park for years, it wasn't until 1999 that much of the land in this section of the park was officially acquired and protected. 

    In the late 1990's it was unveiled that there were plans to develop a large portion of this area. Concerned citizens in cooperation with Metro, Portland Parks and Friends of Forest Park (Now called Forest Park Conservancy) banded together to raise money to purchase what they called the "Hole in the Park". There is a plaque commemorating this important part of the parks history at the intersection of Firelane 12 and BPA Road. 

    The Forest Park Nasties are a series of strenuous and intentionally difficult routes throughout the park. North Nasty being the best, and most popular, of them all. For a thorough background on the Forest Park Nasties we recommend checking out this great article from our friends at NW Dirt Churners.

    THE ROUTES 

     


    Nasty Jr. GPX File

    Want a taste for the North Nasty? Well, the Nasty Jr. packs a hefty punch. With about 2250 feet of gain in under 9 miles, this route is a front loaded sufferfest of the best kind. Park at the Leif Erickson Trailhead off of Germantown Road and cross to the gate reading "Firelane 9". Firelane 9 starts out gentle enough, but might be a sloppy mud pit if it's rained. Soon enough, though, it turns into a hefty descent- or more accurately, a (hopefully) controlled slide. 

    Soon enough it flattens out and after a few abrupt direction changes spits you out into a Linnton Neighborhood. You will take a left on Wilark Ave and take it all the way to its terminus. Off to the right is a staircase taking you down to a walking path situated above highway 30.

    Descend the staircase and head left towards the Linnton Trailhead. Linnton Trail is one of my favorite trails in the park. It begins beside Linnton creek in a picturesque little canyon flanked with ferns. Gradually it begins to climb, crossing the creek on a concrete bridge before pitching up ever steeper into the hillside.  

    The trail continues to switchback over rooty footing. Continue climbing until you intersect Firelane 10. Here, you will continue straight, continuing your climb, just now on the firelane. Keep climbing all the way up, intersecting Wildwood and continuing straight until you reach the Newton Parking Lot. From the base of Highway 30 you've climbed roughly 800 feet. 

    Continue through the parking lot towards the gate on the far side of the lot. This is Newton Road. It starts flat, but eventually does a short, steep little climb before beginning its long descent. You will pass through the Wildwood Trail junction and continue your descent down, working your way down to highway 30.

    Newton Road really is a great little part of the park. It's an old road bed lined with Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Cedar, Oregon Grape, Sword Ferns and Grand Fir. 

    As you get closer to highway 30, the road makes a sharp turn left and works its way around the hillside towards Newton Creek. Newton Creek can have a healthy flow in the winter time, but is generally a pretty simple rock hop across. Cross the creek and then follow it downstream before veering further left. As the trees overhead begin to open up to let more light in, be sure to stay on trail. This area has been slowly having more and more poison oak appear each year. In the winter time, it can be hard to recognize, so keep your guard up.  

    Soon enough you will connect with BPA Road, a power line easement owned by the Bonneville Power Administration. This is one of the burliest climbs in forest park. The lower part of BPA is loose gravel often rutted out by heavy winter rains. The road can be very steep in parts and then relent to a more gentle grade. There are a few spur roads here, but stay on the main road. At the top is the intersection with Firelane 13. Some people prefer to briefly head up here to the picnic tables at the highest point of the hill.

    On a clear day, the views of the Willamette River, Columbia River, Sauvie Island, Mt St Helens and Mt Adams are stunning. Continue left on the gently rolling BPA road.

    For the Nasty Jr. we are going to stay on BPA all the way until Wildwood Trail. Take a left on Wildwood heading south. This section of Wildwood is quiet with lots of beautiful vine maple creating little tunnels over the trail. Continue as it gently climbs up to the junction with Newton Road. 

    You will stay on Wildwood trail here and Wildwood will meander aimlessly through the forest. There will be tight switchbacks around a few drainages and finally you will reach Firelane 10. Take a left here and begin descending down Firelane 10.

    Be certain to follow Firelane 10 as it curves to the right and not to accidentally continue downward onto Linnton Trail. Firelane 10 descends to a creek that has become increasingly flooded over the years as the culverts have failed. Cross the flooded creek and begin a moderate climb back up to Germantown road.  

    Once you've arrived at Germantown, take a left and head back down to your car. 


    North Nasty GPX File

    The North Nasty is an absolutely iconic route for Portland trail runners. Regardless of the weather, you can count on Portland's hardy runners climbing and descending these steep and sloppy trails. Just like the Nasty Jr, begin at the Leif Erickson Trailhead on Germantown Road.  

    Descend the sloppy Firelane 9, turning into the neighborhood and finding the hidden stairwell at the end of Wilark Ave. Take a left on the pedestrian path and get to the Linnton Trailhead.

    Climb the 800 feet all the way up Linnton and Firelane 10 until you're at the Newton parking lot, continuing to the far side to begin the Newton Road descent. Climb another 800 feet or so on BPA Road to the high point and continue on BPA until you reach Firelane 12 on your right.

    At Firelane 12 you will see a plaque commemorating the dedication of "Hole in the Park", the section of Forest Park you are currently running that was almost lost to development in the 1990's. This is where the North Nasty diverges from the Nasty Jr. Firelane 12 is another very quiet section of the park. It's a gentle descent through deep woods. As it descends, you will see another road below you to your left. This is Firelane 15, our next segment.

    When you reach the junction with Firelane 15, take a left, beginning to climb alongside a creek. The firelane quickly switches back and begins to climb more steeply. This is one of the few areas of the route where you will not have cellular service. Soon enough you will reach Wildwood Trail. Continue straight ahead on Firelane 15 as it pitches up even steeper than before. Don't worry though, this relents after a short climb. As it plateaus, the road turns right towards the power line corridor.

    Keilhorn Meadows is a dead end trail to your left. Continue to the opening beneath the power pylons and enjoy the sweeping views of the converging Willamette and Columbia as well as Sauvie Island. From here Firelane 15 descends, then climbs, then descends then climbs until it spits you out on Skyline Boulevard.

    Here we will be running briefly on the road. Those with dogs should be careful here as the shoulder is narrow and although line of sight is mostly good, there is one semi-blind corner. I actually really hate this section of the North Nasty. It's a slight uphill grade and feels deceptively hard. You will keep running on Skyline looking for the top of BPA road to your left.

    Forest Park recently installed trailhead signs along the road that will help indicate your turn with a big arrow saying "Forest Park" on the opposite side of the road. Pass through the gate at the top of BPA and run the short distance until you reach Wildwood Trail. Be mindful that Wildwood doesn't perfectly intersect BPA here. We want to head South on Wildwood, heading to our right, which is a bit further down BPA than the Northbound Wildwood Trail. 

    At this point we are back to the route the Nasty Jr. utilizes. Run Wildwood all the way to Newton Road and continue on it until Firelane 10 where you will take a left. Descend Firelane 10, following it as it curves to the right and then climb back up to Germantown Road to finish the route. 


    The North Nastier is my own little twist on the classic North Nasty route. I've always hated the section of the North Nasty that runs on Skyline Blvd and Wildwood Trail. It feels antithetical to the spirit of the North Nasty.

    The North Nastier is simple (in concept). Start the route just as you would the North Nasty. We will get all of the hilly goodness the North Nasty promises, and then some. Down Firelane 9, up Linnton and Firelane 10, down Newton Road, up BPA, down Firelane 12, up Firelane 15 to Skyline. Tag the gate and then we're going to turn right around and go back the way we came.

    Every climb you just did is now a descent and every descent now a climb. Firelane 15 rolls through the forest with a few descents and a few climbs before it descends steeply to the junction with Firelane 12. We will climb up Firelane 12 and hang a left on BPA. At the junction with BPA and Firelane 13, stay right to begin the BPA descent.  

    This descent is a quad-buster. It's steep and sustained, growing steeper as you get closer to its end. Stay right at the bottom to connect with Newton Road. It's always interesting how much longer Newton Road feels when you have to climb up it. Take Newton all the way back up to the Newton parking lot and cross the parking lot to Firelane 10. Take Firelane 10 all the way down. Unlike the other routes, we will stay straight as the Firelane curves right and head onto Linnton trail to get even more nasty descending.  

    At the trailhead, take a right onto the pedestrian path. In a few hundred feet we will take the staircase on our right and head up to Wilark Ave. Take Wilark past Hoge Ave and then take the sharp right to head back to Firelane 9. Firelane 9, you will remember, is fairly mild at its base, but pitches up quite steeply. The good news is that this steep of a grade tends to shed water fast, so it's never too muddy at it's steepest section. After a 100 or so feet it briefly flattens and then begins to climb a bit more at a lower grade. This section has a higher tendency to be a slop fest. Finally Firelane 9 flattens as you are nearing the gate and the end of your run.

    Post Run

    No adventure is complete without some celebratory food and drink. We've included a few of our favorite spots in the area to check out post-run.

    Cathedral Coffee (St. Johns) Skyline Restaurant (Skyline Blvd.) Urban German/Occidental (St. Johns)

     

    Uncharted - Beacon Rock

    Uncharted - Beacon Rock

    Uncharted is a new challenge series from Territory Run Co for the Greater Portland area that aims to get you out exploring new areas with pre-planned routes. While each area we highlight may not be new to you, we hope it inspires you to explore some lesser known areas.

    HOW IT WORKS

    1. Complete one of the listed routes below.

    2. Log your run here. Once reviewed, you will receive an email with a merit badge. If you complete between the dates of Jan 1st -Jan 31st, this badge of completion awards you $10 in store credit for any Territory products.

    3. For each challenge we will also offer a grand prize package. To be entered to win, complete the route between above dates, log it here, and tag us in a photo from your run on instagram.

    4. To increase chances of winning grand prize you can also log that you visited post run locations listed below.

    We will have Uncharted routes throughout the year and you will be able to collect merit badges from each.

    You can join the Uncharted Strava Group here.

    BEACON ROCK BACKGROUND

    Beacon Rock, named by the Lewis and Clark expedition, is a 850 foot tall volcanic plug (the core of an ancient volcano) marking the eastern-most tidal influence in the Columbia river.

    Beacon Rock was purchased for $1 in 1915 and an impressive trail of switchbacks, handrails and bridges was constructed to the summit of the rock over the next 3 years. A state park including this landmark was established in 1935.

    At one point, the Army Corp of Engineers had plans to destroy Beacon Rock to use as material to construct the jetty at the mouth of the Columbia. The results are some ominous looking caves at the base of the south side of the rock.

    The park is 4,464 acres in size. Within its boundaries sits Hamilton Mountain at an elevation of 2,445 feet.

    We love Beacon Rock State Park. It's close proximity to Portland, year-round access, stunning waterfalls, beautiful views and variety of terrain make it a wonderful winter training ground. Keep in mind that winter weather is always possible here. Icy and snowy conditions can occur up higher so traction devices such as Kahtoola Microspikes or YakTrax are recommended.

    Although we will have views of Beacon Rock on each of our routes, we will be staying on the North side of SR-14. However, I recommend adding a jaunt up Beacon Rock as a rewarding cool-down or warm-up. The construction of the trail to it's summit is certainly something to behold.

    We will be starting all 3 of our routes from the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead. The gates to the parking lot are supposed to open at 8am. If you decide to start earlier or if the gates are for some reason not open, you can always park at Beacon Rock's parking lot along SR-14 and it's just a short jog up the road to our trailhead. Because it is a Washington state park, a Discover Pass is required.

    THE ROUTES



    7.5 Mile Route GPX File

    Starting from the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, the first mile is grindy, but runnable. You will pass a junction on your left beneath some powerlines about half a mile in. We will continue straight. The front half of this route packs a punch, but you will be rewarded with some truly excellent views (unless you're socked in...).

    About a mile in we will reach the waterfalls. Technically there are three waterfalls here at Hardy Creek. The lower tier is called Hardy Falls and a viewpoint for it can be accessed via a short spur trail to your right.

    As you continue on the trail you will see the middle tier which is called Rodney Falls and you can stay left to climb up another spur trail to the top of the falls to what is known as Pool of the Winds. All are short detours and worth seeing.

    You will soon pass another trail on your left, this is how we will return down from Hamilton Mountain. For now, stay straight. As you continue to climb, the trail slowly, but surely becomes steeper and more technical. Climb the steep switchbacks and soon you will be at a spectacular viewpoint known has Little Hamilton. Ironically, this lookout boasts much better views than the actual summit of Hamilton.

    Continue to climb about another mile, popping in and out of forested trail with some technical rocky sections as well. You will pass by a stunning view of the craggy cliff walls of Hamilton Mountain and then eventually you will hit a nondescript "T" in the trail. To the right is the summit of Hamilton. To be honest, the summit itself is underwhelming. So much so that I don't even bother tagging the summit anymore. If you decide to check it out, it's a short little spur to obstructed views.

    We are going to continue on our trail along the ridge heading downhill to Hamilton Saddle. On a clear day, Hamilton Saddle boasts views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, the Bonneville Dam, the Columbia River and Table Mountain.

    As we cross the saddle, we will reach a couple of junctions. The first, to the far right, is a dead end on an old forest road. The next is part of our Long route option, we will keep left past these first two options and then take a right onto Don's Cutoff. Don's Cutoff might just be one of the best trails in the gorge. It's deep in a grove of Douglas fir trees. The trail is spongey from the needles and it's flanked by endless fields of sword fern and moss. It has that quintessential lush, damp feel of an idyllic PNW trail. It's short, but it's just so good we had to include it.

    Don's Cutoff sadly comes to an end and spits you out onto the Upper Hardy Creek Trail. We'll take a left here on a semi-technical roadbed. Soon we will pass a junction to our left. Stay straight briefly and then take the next left to continue on the Hardy Creek Trail. This trail is going to take us along Hardy Creek all the way back to the waterfalls we saw at the beginning of the run.

    Take a right when Hardy Creek intersects with Hamilton Mountain Trail and it is a little over a mile back to the trailhead.


    10.5 Mile Route GPX File

    Our middle distance route option has us sharing much of the same route as the 7.5 mile option. Beginning from Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, we will run up past the waterfalls, climbing the switchbacks to Little Hamilton and Hamilton Mountain. We will continue onto Hamilton Ridge and descend Don's Cutoff. However, when we get to the bottom of Don's Cutoff, we are going to head right on Upper Hardy Creek Trail.

    After a short jog up the road bed that is Hardy Creek Trail we will hang a sharp right onto Bridge Trail. Here we will cross Hardy Creek and slowly climb towards E Hardy Ridge Trail. For this route, we will not be going up to Hardy Ridge, but that would be a great way to modify this route to get some extra miles. Instead we will stay left and descend down to Equestrian Trail, which like many of the trails in the lower portion of the park, is more of a wide road bed.

    Take a left on Equestrian Trail and head back to Hardy Creek Trail where we will take a right turn.

    It is about a mile to the junction with Hamilton Mountain Trail. You will be meandering through forest with relatively gentle elevation gain and loss until you are back to the junction. Take a right and you will soon be back at the waterfalls.

    Once you pass the waterfall you will go about another half mile until you're back in the powerline section near the beginning of the run. Here, we will take the trail to our right called Hadley Trail. This little loop is short, but it takes us to a lesser known gem of Beacon Rock State Park, Little Beacon Rock. Continue on Hadley Trail until you come to a trail on your left. This is a short spur trail that will take you out to Little Beacon.

    In addition to Little Beacon, this trail also offers some great views of Beacon Rock. Once you've had your fill of Little Beacon, head back to the Hadley Trail and take a left to finish out our loop. The Hadley trail will ultimately spit you out at the campground and its a short run on the pavement back to the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead.

    Looking to go longer this January? This route is sure to give you your fill of climbing, technical terrain, fun descents, beautiful views and everything in-between. Be prepared for wintery, cold, wet and windy weather. Some of the high points here can be quite punishing in January.

    Like our first two routes, we will begin at Hamilton Mountain Trailhead. Run past the gushing waterfalls and powerhike out your way up to Little Hamilton. Catch your breath, then climb some more to the top of Hamilton Mountain. Pick your way along the ridgeline and you will soon enough be to Hamilton Saddle.

    As you make your way towards the far end of the saddle you will be met with a couple of options. To your right is a spooky looking old road bed with an ominous "Dead End" sign marking its entrance. To it's left is another, somehow less inviting old road bed. This is ours.

    This road bed is actually quite beautiful. There is a serene eeriness to it. I have done it alone, but couldn't help but feel a little spooked. You are unlikely to encounter another trail user on this short section of the route.

    Take this road all the way out. It will sharply turn back on itself. When it does there will be a trail that goes to your left and one that continues to descend to the right. Take the right fork and we will descend Upper Hardy Creek Trail. As we descend we will have our eyes out for Don's Cutoff on our left. Unlike our other two routes, this route will be going up Don's Cutoff. It's just such a beautiful section of trail we wanted to make sure it was included.

    At the top of Don's Cutoff you will be right next to Hamilton Saddle again, but rather than returning there, you'll take an immediate right and descend the Equestrian Trail. This will spit you out on Hardy Creek Trail where you will take a left. In just a moment you will have another junction. Stay right here to continue onto the Equestrian Trail.

    In about half a mile you will hit yet another junction. Here you will take another right. We will skirt the ridge until another junction appears. We will stay left and begin working our way up to Hardy Ridge via E Hardy Ridge Trail.

    From Hardy Ridge we will take the 1.5 mile roundtrip detour to visit Phlox Point standing at 2900 feet in elevation. This could be an easy spot to shave off some milage if you're feeling in the mood for a couple less miles. Continue back to Hardy Ridge and begin your descent on W Hardy Ridge Trail.

    We will eventually intersect the Equestrian Trail. We will continue straight here to begin the Loop Trail. This eventually reconnects up hight with the Equestrian Trail (this is a junction we passed before doing Hardy Ridge). Take a right on the Equestrian Trail and then in half a mile another right on Hardy Creek Trail.

    In just about another mile you will be dropped out onto the Hamilton Mountain Trail. Take a right here to head back towards the waterfalls and towards your car. From the waterfalls its roughly a mile back to the trailhead.

    Uncharted - Silver Star

    Uncharted - Silver Star

    Uncharted is a new challenge series from Territory Run Co for the Greater Portland area that aims to get you out exploring new areas with pre-planned routes. While each area we highlight may not be new to you, we hope it inspires you to explore some lesser known areas.

    HOW IT WORKS

    1. Complete one of the listed routes below.

    2. Log your run here. Once reviewed, you will receive an email with a merit badge. If you complete between the dates of October 12th - Dec 1st, this badge of completion awards you $10 in store credit for any Territory products. 

    3. For each challenge we will also offer a grand prize package. To be entered to win, complete the route between above dates, log it here, and tag us in a photo from your run on instagram.

    4. To increase chances of winning grand prize you can also log that you visited post run locations listed below.

    We will have Uncharted routes throughout the year and you will be able to collect merit badges from each. 

    You can join the Uncharted Strava Group here.

    SILVER STAR BACKGROUND

    Topping out at just over 4300 ft, Silver Star mountain is a striking geological feature in SW Washington. A landscape seemingly more fit for the mountain ranges much further north in the North Cascades. The treeless ridge lines and steep cliffs make for a truly alpine feeling experience.

    In 1902, the entire area was severely burned during a fire known as the Yacolt Burn. Over 239,000 acres burned and several smaller fires occurred in the ensuing decades. In 1952, a fire lookout was installed on the summit of Silver Star Mountain, but it was removed in 1969.

    The area can hold snow very late into spring, but it offers stunning wildflowers in late June. I generally consider the area to be reliably accessible by summer solstice.

    With sweeping mountain views of 5 cascade volcanos, diversity of trails, and just an hour from Portland, this area really has it all. So it was an easy choice to make this the first stop in our Uncharted series. All three routes start from the Grouse Vista Trailhead. Make sure to grab a Discover Pass for parking here. We've included a few post-run food and drink spots to enjoy after your adventure at the bottom of the route descriptions.  

    THE ROUTES 

     


    8 Mile Route GPX File

    Starting from the Grouse Vista Trailhead, you will begin with a steep climb up a rocky road bed towards the summit of Silver Star Mountain. From the Grouse Vista trail there are a couple of trails to your right. The first is an alternate way that takes you along the other side of Pyramid Rock. While a beautiful trail, it tends to be a little overgrown.

    This trail meets back up with Grouse Vista less than a mile later. It is at this junction that it becomes the Silver Star Trail. You will continue your climb from here for another half mile until the next junction.

    The next trail to your right is the Indian Pits Trail. This is a one mile trail that takes you to three to five foot deep pits created in the talus. It is believed these structures were made by indigenous peoples of the area. The trail is surrounded by fields of huckleberry that turn a deep red color in autumn. If you have the time, it is worth the visit, but expect to add about two miles to your day's total distance.

    From here, continue upwards, staying right on the Silver Star Summit Trail. The trail will come to a "T" at the ridge of the summit. Take a left here for the true summit. Here there is a rock outcropping with the remains of an old fire lookout.

    You will continue back the way you came until just past the Indian Pits Trail junction. Here you will take a right and be immediately met with another junction. Both trails take you to Sturgeon Rock. I have you staying right here, as in my experience, this trail has had less downed trees. There is also an occasional spring here, but I wouldn't depend on it.

    In another tenth of a mile, the trail comes to a "T" and you will go left to continue onto the Sturgeon Rock Trail. Sturgeon Rock will be on your right and is a fairly easy scramble. I like to add this on when I have the time. The route up to the summit is steepest the sooner you try and get to it. The further down the trail you go, the easier it is to gain the ridge line, but the more backtracking you will have to do to the main summit.

    Continue descending the Sturgeon Rock Trail until it intersects the Tarbell Trail and head left. The Tarbell trail is a nice, forested trail that connects much of this trail system. You will pass Rock Creek Falls and continue on the Tarbell all the way back to your car.

     


    14 Mile Route GPX File

    Our 14 mile route option has you starting the same as the short route, including the optional variations mentioned above. The main difference is that once you've hit the summit of Silver Star, you are going to take your second right to get onto Ed's Trail.  

    Ed's trail may just be the most iconic section of the Silver Star network. It's crown jewel is the rock arch, but in general, views abound on this trail. It has a truly alpine feel despite being relatively low in elevation and isolated from nearby volcanoes. 

    You will take this trail to where it begins descending and take a sharp left, switching back on the other side of the ridge from which you came. There's a lot of little intersections here, so I'd recommend checking the accompanying .GPX file. Take a right and begin descending down the Chinook trail. The Chinook Trail weaves back and forth along an old Jeep road. You could shave off a little distance here by stay on the road for a bit.

    The Chinook Trail eventually spits you out onto a logging road that very quickly connects you to the Tarbell Trail. You are going to take the Tarbell Trail from here back to the trail head.  



    23 Mile Route GPX File

    Once again this route starts the same as the Short and Medium options. You will climb and tag the summit of Silver Star to kick off your adventure, but this isn't where the climbing ends for the day.

    As you descend you will take an immediate right to head onto the Bluff Mountain Trail. This is a gorgeous ridge line that you no doubt had admired from the summit of Silver Star. It's flanked with fields of huckleberry and bear grass.

    You will continue on this ridge line until the trail eventually becomes an old gravel road. Follow the .GPX track here to make sure you don't miss your turn. It's a sharp left onto another, more forested, road bed. This is taking you down to Copper Creek. Which, unfortunately, you will likely have to ford. It's an easy crossing, but plan on getting your feet wet.

    The whole reason for taking you out to this much more secluded part of the network is to first give you a reason to experience the Bluff Mountain Trail, but second, to put you through the rewarding and tortuous climb that is the Starway Trail. The Starway trail is my favorite trail in the whole network. It's stupidly steep. It appears to be an old road bed, but there's no way anything was going to make it up that grade. My best assumption is that it was a way to lower timber from the logging that used to take place on this hillside. 

    Eventually the Starway Trail begins to relent as you come across some more newly constructed switch backs. The forest here is quite beautiful and is a stark contrast to the sweeping vistas you've had during much of the route.  

    At this point, you're back at the junction with Ed's Trail, Sturgeon Rock Trail and the Silver Star Summit Trail. After that Starway debacle, you may have had enough. If so, you can cruise down the Sturgeon Rock trail back to the Tarbell Trail to shave off a few miles. However, I fully believe it is worth it to tack on Ed's Trail to make this a truly iconic day. 

    This add-on of Ed's Trail is technically a loop and can be completed in either direction. The .GPX file has you taking Ed's Trail back and then looping back on the Silver Star Trail #180 which is an old road bed. Doing the reverse might actually give you better views, but I will let you decide your preference.

    After completing this Ed's Trail loop, you will take the Sturgeon Rock Trail back down to the Tarbell Trail and hang a left to return to your car.

    Post Run

    No adventure is complete without some celebratory food and drink. We've included a few of our favorite spots in the area to check out post-run.

     Grains of Wrath (Camas)  Trap Door Brewing (Washougal)  Ashwood Taps & Trucks (Washougal)