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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Cazadero Trail

A nice multi-use hike on a PGE road that follows the Clackamas River on the Old Clackamas River Highway near Estacada, Oregon.

Trail Name: Cazadero Trail or Old Clackamas Highway Trail*

Faraday (west side) Coordinates: 45.26622, -122.30658

North Fork Reservoir (east side) Coordinates: 45.23696, -122.25677

Access: Trail — a gated PGE, paved road

Point to Point Distance: 4.64 miles (one way)

Elevation Range: 486' to 746'

Ascent/Descent: +87 ft / -279 ft

Trail Type: Point-to-point, but can also be done as an in-and-out

Permits/Fees: None

Location: Near Estacada, Oregon, U.S.A.

Administration: Portland General Electric

Date Accessed: 5-26-24

*The name of this trail is a bit confusing. There isn't any info on it online except for on AllTrails which calls it the Cazadero Trail. At the main parking area, on the end nearest Faraday Dam, there is a sign that calls it the "Old Clackamas Highway Trail." But I couldn't really find anything about it online. This seems to be more of a locals know about it kind of trail. My dad discovered it on the map outside the Estacada City Hall building.

The sign near the trailhead also states some rules:

  • It's a day use area and it's open from 6am to 10pm.

  • Non-motorized traffic only.

  • Pets must remain on leash (6ft or less) and under physical control at all times.

  • Pack it in, pack it out.

  • No firearms.

There are two ends/points-of-access for this trail. One is on the west side near Faraday Dam off Faraday Rd. This end has the parking area and trailhead sign. The second, is on the east side along North Fork Reservoir. There is some room for parking on the shoulder of the highway. There is no trailhead sign. It's just the other end of the gated Old Clackamas Hwy. During the summer, on the North Fork Reservoir side the road is open for a quarter mile to a day use area used by fisherman.

Boat Launch

There are so many ways one can do sections of this trail or all of it. It can be done as an in-and-out or point-to-point. It's multi-use so it can be hiked or biked (non-motorized). PGE vehicles do use the road, but there is no public vehicles, so there isn't much traffic along the road most of the time. The whole route is a paved road that PGE maintains very well. There are two dams along the length of the trail and lots of river views.

Hiking Options

  • Whole trail (in and out): 9.2 miles (round trip)

  • Whole trail (point-to-point): 4.6 miles

  • To North Fork Dam from Faraday - west side (in and out): 5.47 miles (round trip)

  • To North Fork Dam from North Fork Reservoir - east side (in and out): 3.14 miles (round trip)

  • As well as any variation of distance from either side. Could go anywhere from half a mile to 9 miles.

I've hiked this trail in many different ways numerous times. It's one of the local hiking trails I hike frequently, sometimes even multiple times a week. I've hiked it all the different ways except for doing the whole trail as an in and out hike. Which I probably will eventually do. I really like that this trail is accessible pretty much year round due to its low elevation.

North Fork Dam

We were supposed to have a sunny day so I asked my dad if he wanted to go for a hike with me. We'd been wanting to do it as a point-to-point hike for a while just cause we could. My mom was home and willing to drop us at one end. So we got up and started our hike around 8:15am. We started on the east side from North Fork Reservoir. The gate was open down to the day use boat launch parking area, but we decided to start from the highway like we would most of the year. My dad counted 42 vehicles parked in the day use area and there was still space for a few more cars. We were impressed by the large amount of cars and people.

There wasn't much wind and it was mostly sunny out. The temperature was a nice 50ºF. The first section to the North Fork Dam follows along North Fork Reservoir so there's great views of the water along the trail/road. When I did this section in January it was so windy it was difficult to see, so it was nice to get to hike this section without intense wind.

It was around 1.6 miles to the Dam. There is a nice viewing area with a picnic table and informational boards. There is even an outhouse. We continued our hike past the dam which then followed along the Clackamas River and entered a forest area. There's some really cool rock cliffs mixed in the forest on the north side of road. The trail is a ways above the river so you can only see it through the trees. The water is really peaceful through here. There's a fish ladder that follows along the trail for a ways.

Around the 3.3 mile mark is the middle dam that just lets water flow over it most of the time. The road continues down toward Faraday and the river picks up some momentum in certain areas. The trail ends at a gate with the main parking area for this trail. There are parking spots and most of the time it's pretty empty especially on weekdays.

Faraday west side TH

On weekends it's normal to see other people on the trail either riding their bikes, walking their dogs, or going for a hike. There doesn't tend to be many PGE vehicles on the gated road on the weekend. During week days though, it is normal to see many PGE vehicles driving down the road. The road is wide enough it never feels like you're trying to slide past someone which makes it nice with dogs since everyone's able to keep good space between each other.


  • AllTrails - Cazadero Trail

    • Actually gives whole overview of the trail. Best resource I could find online regarding it.

  • PGE - Faraday Lake

    • This is the only place online I can find mention of the Old Clackamas Highway trailhead, but there isn't really any information about the trail other than mentioning its near Faraday Lake and on a map it references the road as multi-use.

  • OregonEncylopedia - North Fork Dam and Powerhouse

    • Overview of the history around North Fork Dam


How to get there (from Estacada, OR)

My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your safety, any possible injury, or anything that happens if you choose to follow anything on this website. Maps are not intended to be used for navigational purposes, but to give an overview of the route taken. By going outdoors you are solely responsible to know your strengths and limitations, be aware of current conditions and proceed with the appropriate caution. My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your choices and the outcome. Reference my disclaimer for more information on being responsible outdoors.

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