The Banks-Vernonia State Trail hike
Banks Vernonia Linear State Park
Starts at Banks, Oregon and ends at Anderson Park in Vernonia
The trail runs along an old railroad track bed between those two towns
50 mile ride - 40 mile hike (round trip) - done in multiple segents
This is an Oregon State Park but there is no day use fee here.
The Banks-Vernonia Trail links up with the Crown-Zellerbach Trail that
goes from Vernonia to Banks. Click HERE for details on that hike.
I'm not up for a 40 mile hike in one day even if it's an easy trail as this one is.
The end of this trail terminates in Banks, Oregon so I thought I'd start with
the 8 mile round trip segment from Manning to Banks. I started at the Manning
trailhead which is off Pihl Road. Go West on Route 26 (Sunset Highway)
Turn right onto Pihl Road. Parking is on the right just after Sell Road.
The Banks Vernonia State Trail is a hike you can do pretty much any time of
year. And with numerous, easy to get to trailheads along the way, you can
walk this one in easy 5, 7 and/or 10 mile segments as I did.
If you want to do the full 20 mile hike (40 miles RT) in one shot, just reverse the
order for this segment. Start at the Banks end and walk straight through to Vernonia.
Banks to Manning segment - 8 miles round trip
The Oregon State Parks guys were busy doing a lot of construction, repairs
and improvements to this trail. This four mile bit to Banks is paved pretty
much all the way.
Head Southeast (turn right from the parking lot) for Banks. Go Northwest (left)
This section of the trail runs alongside private railroad tracks.
These rails have not been used in years and swing North to run parallel
with Highway 47.
Manning, Buxton and Banks are farming communities. It's less than 30 miles
to downtown Portland but very rural out here.
The trail passes under the Sunset Highway which is handy.
A group of cultvated Christmas trees along the trail.
Apparently this dog's owner isn't aware of the leash law that's been in
effect in Washington County for decades. The riff raff who own this dog live
in a home... and I use the word "home" loosely... that looks like it was decorated
straight out of The Dogpatch Home and Gardens magazine. I can only guess what's
holding this shanty shit hole together but the cars up on blocks, appliances in
the front yard and the stacks of junk piled up must really make the neighbors
happy. And do I need to even tell you that there is a big flag pole out front
with a ..... wait for it...... Confederate flag flying from it!!!!! Oregon certainly
attracts it's share of dirtbags and nit wits... even Mammy Yokum wouldn't live
in this festering cesspool.
I'd contact Washington County Animal Control about this vicious mutt and the scofflaws
who own him but I could probably get better results by hitting myself on the head
with a hammer.
This telegraph pole looks like it was put here in 1927 or so when the original
rail line was created. For most of this bit you are never more than 100' from
the Sunset Highway and a lot of traffic noise. The last bit is a few hundred
feet from route 47 which thankfully has less traffic noise.
There apparently was a rail siding here at one time. The building houses
a bicycle repair business now.
I didn't see any signs but I'm assuming that this crew is building the Banks
trailhead and parking area. Should be nice when it's finished. The trailhead
is on Sellers Road just off highway 47 and adjacent to the Shell station.
Unless you have a burning desire to hike the entire 20 mile trail (40 miles
round trip) I'd skip this 4 mile segment. It really isn't interesting or
peaceful. And then there's the matter of being attacked by Festus the fleabitten
mutt, unless of course Washington County Animal Control decides to start enforcing
their own ordinances. Right.. like that would ever happen...
The Manning Trailhead to the Buxton Trailhead segment - 5 miles round trip
This time take the trail to the left of the parking lot and go Northwest
This segment isn't particularly exciting either but at least you are
further from the main highway so it's a quieter walk.
Most of the next 2.5 miles is a steady 15-20 degree incline.
Just before you get to the Buxton trailhead you cross over this 90 year old
train tressel that's been recently refitted for use by people and bicycles.
The view from the center of the walkway
View of the walkway and tressel from the equestrian trail down below.
Just as you come up on the Buxton Trailhead, you'll see lots of these boxes
nailed to the trees. Maybe someone will e-mail me and tell me what they are.
They look like bat houses to me.
The Buxton Trailhead to the Tophill Trailhead - 10 miles round trip
Sunset Highway West past Manning. Turn right on Fisher Road just across from the
Time Gas Station. If you get to the route 47 turn off, you've gone too far.
The trailhead is about 1.2 miles from the Sunset Highway.
You will go through the center of Buxton (such as it is).
The road will change to Bacona Road at this "intersting" intersection
but just follow the trailhead signs and try to forget that the Buxton City
Planners must be on drugs..
The Buxton trailhead is on the right.
Apparently, thieves and vandals breaking into cars parked here is not uncommon
so be advised. I'm sure most of the locals here are nice people but there are
a fair number of trailer dwelling dirtbags living here too... like the characters
who moved here from Kentucky with their mutt and their Loser's Dixie flag mentioned earlier.
The trailhad was a hoppin' place today!
Being the typical Peoples Republic of Oregon Government Employee, the guy
driving the "fire truck" wouldn't even give me his name, rank and serial number.
From what I could gather looking around, this gal was on a bicycle and didn't know
to not use her front brake going downhill when she hit a patch of moss. The ambulance
guys had her trussed up pretty good but I don't think she was badly hurt.
The Banks Fire Department gets an official Original Easyrider® Bronx cheer for
their snotty attitudes though. Good thing for them I don't live in their district
or I'd be one more "no" vote for their tax levy ballot measures.... jerks.
So off we go. Still a paved walkway with a constant, mild incline for the
entire segment. It's a lot quieter now except for a small amount of road noise
from route 47. Lots of bicycle riders and a few equestrians.
Lots of signs though...
A side hike to the Caddywhomper viewpoint might be a nice hike for another day
Lots of side trails to check out on this segment.
Click on the pictures of these trail signs for info about
any that I've checked out.
Here's the access road to the Stub Stewart Visitors Center, trails, cabins
and so on.
Maybe a half mile past the Stub Stewart Visitors Center the trail was closed.
This bridge goes over highway 47 about five miles North of the Manning turn-off.
They've graded the trail and I ran into this roller... after my confrontation
with the construction crew in Hells Canyon who couldn't understand why I was riding
Suzy on a closed forest road, I figured I'd just head on back. They should have
this done and the trail re-opened by October-November, 2010.
It's maybe another mile and a half from this point to the Tophill Trailhead
Happy to get back to Suzy at the trailhead. Thanks to getting lost on the
Bumping Knots Loop I wound up hiking 15 or more miles, much of it in the mud.
The Tophill Trailhead to the Beaver Creek Trailhead - 8 miles round trip
The Tophill trailhead entrance is well marked. It's on the left (West) side
of highway 47 about 2 miles North of the Stub Stewart State Park entrance. Take
the trail to the left of the parking lot to go South towards Buxton.
The trail across route 47 from the parking lot goes North towards Vernonia.
This is the most boring segment so far. Not many people but not much of interest
to see either. And no side trails or even benches to sit on. I doubt I will be
revisiting this 4 mile section again any time soon. If you came from Buxton you'll
be walking down 4-5 miles of dirt and sometimes muddy trail before you finally
see pavement again. There is a lot of construction work going on here so by
Summer, 2011 or so this entire length may be paved.
The trail changes to pavement again right about at the Washington/Columbia
The trail is closed according to this sign, but.....
A pretty ho-hum walk to the Beaver Creek Trailhead, which is closed due
The bridge from the Trailhead to the trail is fit to be walked
on but it's officially closed.
You're never more than a couple of hundred yards from highway 47 and the road
noise really spoils any sense of tranquility here.
I did meet this nice horsie who was very friendly.
Right at the Tophill trailhead parking lot there is a semi-circle train tressel
that goes over highway 47. There's supposed to be an access path from the trail but
I couldn't find it.
The Beaver Creek Trailhead to Anderson Park and the Vernonia Trailhead
9 miles round trip - 10/13/10
Construction crews have completed work on the Beaver Creek bridge.
The Beaver Creek trailhead is easy to find. It's right on highway 47
on the right side if you're heading North. It's well marked with lots of parking.
The trail is paved for the remaining 4.5 miles into Vernonia.
You're never more than a few feet from Highway 47 most of the time so
the traffic noise makes this a less than peaceful stroll.
Walked past what's left of this old tressel across Beaver Creek.
There's lots of old, weathered barns and other structures along this road.
And on to Anderson Park and the Vernonia trailhead.
And the end of the line, or so I thought.
The Vernonia trailhead is fairly easy to find. Going North on highway 47
turn right at Shay Park (there is a historic Shay locomotive on the corner)
and go to the end. Not much parking in the park but it seems to be ok to
park on the residential street adjacent to it.
North of Anderson Park is a "bonus" hike out to Lake Vernonia. Crosses the
Nahelem River and there's a mile and a half or so walk around the lake.
There is also a trail from Vernonia to Scappoose called the Crown-Zellerbach Trail
that has been in use since early Native American Indian times. There is a proposal
and a grant application to "officially" open this trail to hikers, bicyclists,
equestrians and others. I'll be investigating and documenting that hike.
The trail begins at Chapman Landing in Scappoose. There is no official trailhead
in Vernonia at this time.
A pumping station... looks like they may use this to pump water from
the Nehalem into the lake.
The Nehalem River.
And that's all folks.... 20+ miles from Banks to Vernonia. Through
Anderson Park and around Lake Vernonia. I'll be adding information about
the side trails and other miscellaneous journeys as I hike them.
Stub Stewart State Park
While not officially part of the B-V trail, there are lots of trails and some great
views here. Also camping facilities and cabins. This is a new park, opened in 2007
and is a real showcase.
Coyote Wall ride and hike
Ride to Sisters, Oregon and McKenzie Pass