Old Salmon River Trail
Our plan was to head to the Barlow Trail or Trillium Lake for some snow play but decided to bail in Welches when mountain traffic suddenly backed up. So what to do when you aren’t quite up the mountain? We headed to one of our favorite family hikes: Old Salmon River Trail.
This trail is less than 5 miles round trip from the trailhead to a close Forest Service campground. The trail remains mostly flat for its entire length and follows the Salmon River through an ancient forest with huge Doug firs. There are plenty of places to rest along the way.
We recommend it for any time of year for a family hike and have explored it in the Spring, Summer, and Winter. This time of year the river is decked out in dramatic whitewater and the forest is a lovely mossy, green delight with frost and snow here and there.
Getting There: Head east on Highway 26 from Portland to Welches. Take a right on Salmon River Road (just before the Subway and shortly past the Union 76 gas station, if you get to the ZigZag ranger station, you have gone a little too far). Follow Salmon River Road for about 2.7 miles. The trailhead is on the right hand side shortly past the boundary sign for the National Forest. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking.