Henry Hagg Lake is part of Scoggins Valley Park in Washington County near Gaston, OR, about 25 miles Southwest of Portland. The lake was created in 1974 by damming several creeks flowing east of the coastal range that are part of the Tualatin River watershed. The lake helps the agriculture-based economy of Washington County that is dependent on the reservoir and dam to provide irrigation and drinking water as well as flood mitigation services. The park is day use only and is open all year round, from sunrise to sunset.
After paying the $7 day-use fee to enter the park, turn left over the dam and park at Elks Recreation Area or continue to Boat Ramp C for more field access. Each spot has restrooms and plenty of space to park.
Twenty-five miles south of Hagg Lake on highway 47 or an hour drive from Portland is McMinnville. McMinnville is the center of Oregon’s wine country, known for its world-famous Pinot Noirs. It’s also home to Linfield College, chic shops, and award-winning restaurants. The rolling green hills are perfect terrain for trail running.
The Hagg Lake trail is a 13.9-mile trail that circumnavigates the lake. The trail meanders through trees, sloughs, and stream crossings. The trail uses some roads as the bridges for the larger creeks and the dam. In the winter, the trail is known for it’s challenging mud terrain, which makes climbing the rolling hills a test on the body’s core, and the descents a brave battle to stay upright. The trail dries out in the summer, where mountain bike tire ruts make a different type of technical contest.
Miller Woods is a 130-acre property located 3 miles west of McMinnville. The trails contain a wide array of ecosystems ranging from hayfield and oak savannah to timber stands. The Outer Loop Trail is 4.5 miles with several connector trails to get longer distances as needed and rolling hills to make a challenging workout.
Rainbow is a set of trails on Baker Creek Rd. west of McMinnville named after the former Rainbow Lodge. Mountain bikers combined former logging roads, jeep trails with some new trails to take advantage of the coastal mountain slopes of Slide Mountain. The trails wind through conifer and deciduous forests. The occasional clear-cut forest provides views of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood of the Cascade Range. Here’s a great ten-mile route created by Chuck Fisher of MTS-Trail.
Hagg Lake Mud Runs 25k & 50k– One of the oldest Northwest trail races features shin high deep mud sections including sections with names like “Pig Pen” and “Slip and Slide.” Those bold enough to finish both races over the weekend earn a growler of beer, cider, or root beer.
Hagg Lake Endurance Festival Half Marathon and 5k– One of the nation’s longest running triathlon events now includes a 5k and Half Marathon trail race added to the endurance festival.
Run the Woods -Miller Woods 10k – A fun race put on by the Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District.
Trail Running Groups
MTS-Trail is a trail running group out of McMinnville. The group gets together every Saturday for a run around the area. MTS-Trail also does several other outdoor activities and races at Hagg Lake, Mount Hood 50, and other events.
Telvet Coffee – A real coffee house in Forest Grove. The house has a great front porch for sipping espresso on a sunny morning.
Flag & Wire – The café is inside a grain building in McMinnville. The roasters are very passionate about their small-batch coffee.
Union Block Coffee – If flavored coffees are your jam, check out Union Block in McMinnville.
Ridgewalker Brewing – A great stop after Hagg Lake on the way back to Portland. The Forest Grove brewery has 34 beverages on tap, including its own five beers. Ridgewalker also has a great menu of classic brewpub food and several items specializing in their braised beef.
Heater Allen – Award-winning German and Czech style brewery with a tap room open Fridays 3-7pm and Saturdays 12-6pm
Golden Valley Brewery – Farm to table restaurant and hand-crafted beers. What more could you want to recover from hitting the trails? Golden Valley is known for its Red Thistle ESB, but also boasts several other types of beers named after landmarks and locations in the area.
Allegory Brewing– A small batch brewery with a great outdoor patio to grab a quick beer on a sunny day.