Located between Portland and the Oregon Coast, the Tillamook State Forest offers over 80 miles of trails in 364,000 acres in the coastal mountain range. Most trails are accessed near HWY 6 toward Tillamook from Portland. Trails from Reeher’s Camp are near the town of Timber, located just off HWY 26 toward Seaside. The area was designated in 1973 as a state forest after a series of forest fires between 1933 and 1951 of old growth timber known as the Tillamook Burn.
With an annual rainfall of 100 inches in the area, the forest offers green scenery, large Douglas Firs and Cedars, and plenty of flora in the spring. It is also a working forest, where logging and planting are ongoing. Expect to see clear-cuts and seedlings along the trails. Trails are maintained through a combination of ODF staff, S. Fork inmates and volunteer efforts. There are plans for new trails although, the agency is pausing on active development until a recreation plan and funding options are more firmly in place.
The Tillamook Forestry Center is located right on the Wilson River and is a great place to meet up and learn about the trails. The Tillamook State Forest blog is also another great resource for the park.
The best time to visit is spring and fall according to recreation coordinator Stephanie Beall. The shoulder seasons have great trail conditions and lower use levels, especially during the week. In the summer, the forest can be crowded, but cooling off in the Wilson River after a run is definitely a treat. Expect heavy snow cover from November to late March (especially at the higher elevations.) Check the ODF website to find out current trail conditions.
The Tillamook State Forest hosts a wide variety of recreation activities. There are campgrounds, trailheads and day use areas. A non-motorized trail network for equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers. An OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) trail network for dirt bikers, quad riders, 4×4 enthusiasts and the up and coming side x side UTV drivers. The forest is also open for uses such as kayaking, fishing, hunting, and target shooting.
The Tillamook State Forest has a wide portfolio of volunteer opportunities. Camp hosting, trail work parties, Trail Patrol (a peer education and ambassador group), adopt-a-trail, volunteer clean-ups, and some tailored individual volunteer opportunities.
Randy Peterson – Recreation Unit Manager – ODF Forest Grove Office; Randy.A.Peterson@oregon.gov;
Stephanie Beall – Recreation Coordinator – ODF Forest Grove Office; Stephanie.A.Beall@oregon.gov
Forest Grove, OR 97116
Tillamook Forest Trail Runs
Wilson River Trail– A 20.6-mile trail that follows the Wilson River. There are multiple trailheads along the trail for shorter runs.
Elk-Kings Loop– A challenging 10.8-mile loop that involves summiting both Elks and Kings Mountain.
Tillamook Burn 14-mile Loop– A loop that starts and finishes from Gales Creek Campground. The loop consists of Gales Creek, Nels Rogers, Wilson River Wagon Road, Gravelle Brothers, and Storey Burn Trail. This highlight is University Falls.
Elk-Kings 25k, Mountain Marathon, 50k– The 25k might be harder than the 50k. The Mountain Marathon definitely is! If you like climbing, the 25k starts with the climb up to Elk Mountain and the Mountain Marathon climbs it twice. The 50k is all on the Wilson River Trail. All three races from Go Beyond Racing end at the Tillamook Forestry Center.
Tillamook Burn 50k, 50 mile– A spring race from Daybreak Racing starting from Reeher’s Camp using Gales Creek, Storey Burn, and other trails in the forest. The course features University Falls, several creek crossings, and old and new trees alike. Read Matthew Clover’s 50-mile race report.
Ultimook 30k , 50k– A race on the coastal part of the Tillamook State Forest and BLM lands of 30k and 20k loops and featuring Stanley Peak. Proceeds are used to help fund the Ultimook track club and running camp.
Trail Running Groups
Endurance Trail Runners – A Hillsboro based running group that often runs in Tillamook State Forest. You can join this club on Meet Up for weekend group runs in the Portland and Corvallis areas.
Coffee Country is a drive-through serving Longbottom Coffee & Tea. They have all the classic espresso drinks as well as smoothies and milkshakes.
Café 47 is a full-service café serving breakfast and lunch. It’s a great place to load up on some pancakes and coffee before a long run.
Insomnia Coffee is a more traditional espresso place with a location just off of 26 on Cornell easily accessible from the Cornelius Pass exit. Their motto is: “Art for the sake of art. Coffee for the sake of coffee.”
Brewpubs & Taverns
Coleman’s Shady Rest is the best bet when returning from a run from HWY 6. Coleman’s is one of the hidden gems of the area, without a doubt. While not brewery, they do have beer as well as some solid food choices, and a tractor inside the restaurant!
Hop Cycle Brewing is located in Banks, Hop Cycle is a great option whether driving from HWY 26 or 6. They have a great food menu and good beer. The only caveat here is they do not open until 1 pm.
ABV Public House is just off of 26 on the way back to Portland. ABV has 34 draft beers on tap and 600 bottles of hard to find beer and wine, your thirst is sure to be quenched here. Do not be fooled by the exterior. This place is a solid choice for the hungry trail runner.