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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Exploring along FS 46 & 63

Exploring along the Clackamas River & Collawash River in Mount Hood National Forest.

Route: Clackamas Hwy 224 to FS 46 to FS 63

Access: Driven with occasional hikes

Miles Driven: 64 miles

Miles Hiked: 0.45 miles

Location: Clackamas River Ranger District, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, U.S.A.

Date accessed: 4-22-24

It was a beautiful, sunny day with nice moderate temperatures (high 60's F) So, my sister and I decided to go out for a drive down the Clackamas River. Since it was such a nice day, and a week day, we thought we'd explore and check out some of the places we wanted to stop at in the past. We've done this drive numerous times — it's one of our favorite drives to do together when we're wanting to talk.


Accessing the Clackamas River along FS 46

There was an unmarked pullout we stopped at. We were able to find a trail that took us down hill and then went parallel to the river's edge. We found a fallen tree off-trail and walked across it to reach the rocky shore along the Clackamas River. The shoreline and water in this area is so beautiful. The water was crystal clear and more shallow. We enjoyed exploring and then hiked back to our car.

Pull-off coordinates: 45.04876, -122.05936

We continued our drive down FS 46 and then took FS 63 along the Collawash River. We scouted other areas we wanted to stop at. Last summer we found a great swimming hole. The river and road in this section are almost in a canyon. There are rock walls on both sides. It is stunning.

Swimming Hole from last summer

Last summer on a 100º+ F day we parked in a pullout with just enough room for our car. Then we found an area to scramble down to the rivers edge along the rocky bank. We hiked to the north side of shore area. It was a rocky beach with some nice large flat rocks were were able to lay our towels out on. It had really great wading spots and was pretty private.

On our drive back home between Ripplebrook and the Timber Corps, we saw a mama bear with two young cubs in the road!

Bridge along Collawash River

We continued down FS 63 and passed by the turn-offs for Bagby and Bull of the Woods Wilderness. We went down FS 63 until it narrowed and turned into a gravel road. Around this point was a bridge we decided to stop by.

We parked in a pullout near the bridge and walked/climbed our way down over boulders and downed trees to the river's edge. We hiked up stream on the west side. There was a downed tree submerged under water that created a really beautiful 1' drop falls. Ellie scrambled further than I did and climbed up on the rock outcropping near the drop.

Bridge coordinates: 44.96653, -122.04524

After the bridge stop we turned around and started back the way we came.

Rockslide in Collawash River

We stopped at one of the pullouts we scouted on our drive in. It's where there was a massive boulder slide into the river that partially damned it last spring. It caused the most incredible silty blue water with trees in the water.

Pullout coordinates: 44.98250, -122.06329

April 22, 2023

We stopped at the unmarked pullout. No one else was around. We found a spot to scramble down to the muddy river bank. It required some use of hands. The river, lighting and everything was incredible. Probably one of the most beautiful spots, in my opinion. We saw raccoon and bird tracks in the mud along the river. I had a chunk of wood break off in my hand while I was trying to get around a rock. Luckily, it was a small piece and I was able to squeeze it out of my hand. We hiked up stream a bit and found another place to scramble back up to the road. We walked the 100 ft back to our car in the parking area. WyEast Blog has a great post that shows the before and after of the cliff face collapsing and info on the geology of the area.

It was getting close to 5pm so we decided to head back home. Just a few hundred feet down the road I had Ellie stop and I jumped out really quick to scramble up a rock outcropping that had a view down to the river and the large rock slide. I was right above it. The rocks were freaking huge, as big as a small house. It was insane to see up close.

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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