Category Archives: Play

Really good dog tricks!

The amazing canines from the Border Collie International Performing Canine Team are coming to Vernonia! Since 1994 BCI has uniquely educated and entertained kids of all ages through demonstrations of football, basketball, baseball, soccer and world class Frisbee tricks.

This event is happening courtesy of the Vernonia Public Library Summer Reading Program. Make sure to join us at Hawkins Park at 6pm, alongside the beautiful Rock Creek. Come early to take a refreshing dip in Dewey Pool.

As a courtesy to the performers, no outside dogs will be allowed at this event. Thank you for understanding.

North Coast Fishing

Many classic coming of age stories involve fishing, featuring idyllic interaction with nature as part of the ultimate childhood. The process of learning how to catch a wary trout parallels the journey to adulthood. Quite a few people have speculated that David James Duncan ‘s The River Why is based on the Nehalem River. The Nehalem is a great fishery for both resident and sea-run cutthroat trout, featuring deep pools and long riffles.

Vernonia is located at the junction of Rock Creek and the Nehalem River in the North Coast range of Oregon. Ninety miles from the ocean, most salmon are wearing their spawning colors when they arrive, so be sure to make a special salmon watching trip in October to catch a glimpse. Anglers concentrate on the main stem from January through early June, and then move to the larger tributaries in the heat of the summer.

The Nehalem River will support drift boats during the winter flows, and tends to clear quickly after a rain. Spring fishing will have to take place in shallow water craft, preferably something sturdy enough to bang around some rocks and fallen trees. With human populations clustered at various points of the river, there remain stretches where the only spectators are bald eagles and scared squirrels.

Rock Creek originates in the heights of the coast range and then travels east over 26 miles before dumping into Vernonia. It is host to native populations of cutthroat trout, both coho and chinook salmon, and steelhead. The catch and release fishery for steelhead is spectacular with a fly or light tackle, as the big fish will challenge even the most skilled angler.

Rock Creek beyond the roads

My favorite spots in Rock Creek are off road, and can only be accessed by exploring the gated logging roads. Look for access through ODF roads and via the Rock Creek mainline. The owners of True Value Hardware in Vernonia have been fishing the steelhead of Rock Creek for decades and might share a tip or two when you visit their Bridge Street store.

Anglers can also visit Vernonia Lake, just to the east of downtown Vernonia. This lake is actually the millpond for the long closed Oregon-American lumber mill, and the path around was the grade used by steam locomotives delivering old growth logs from the forests to the mill. Evidence of this history is easily seen around the Lake, and there are interpretive signs for the inquisitive.

The Lake has excellent access, with two fishing platforms that are ADA wheelchair accessible, as well as a boat ramp. No gas powered motors are allowed, and it’s small enough that a canoe or small rowboat is the ideal conveyance. The 34 acre lake is well stocked by ODFW with over 12,000 rainbow trout each spring. They will also drop off brooder trout occasionally, and there is a strong warm water fishery in summer that includes native population of bluegill, perch, largemouth bass and crappie.

Remember to check the current fishing regulations before getting a line wet, and be prepared with the right gear. Several downtown businesses offer licenses and fishing gear, even nightcrawlers. The host at the lake stays current on the fishing action and is always willing to answer questions about “What’s hot?”

Stub Stewart State Park: Come Play!

If you haven’t visited L. L. Stub Stewart State Park in the last few years, you should make plans to do so soon.

Since its grand opening in 2007 Stub Stewart State Park has seen many changes and the addition of many services and recreational attractions. Located just ten miles south of Vernonia on Highway 47, the park is a great place to go spend a few hours, a day, a weekend or longer and is great to use as a base camp for local day trips; there is plenty to do in this corner of Oregon.

Volunteers assist a family in identify native birds habitating around the Stub Stewart State Park.
Volunteers assist a family in identify native birds inhabiting Stub Stewart State Park.

The park features interpretive programs during the summer months, with ranger led hikes, programs for children and more. Visit the Discovery Depot to find out more about interpretive programs, learn about the history of the region, and pick up park information.

Here are just some of the things to do in this jewell of a park:


Camping: The camping loops at Stub Stewart sure look different from when they first opened in 2007. Two camping loops offer over 75 spacious RV sites with full hook-ups and 12 walk-in tent sites; these loops have flush toilets and hot showers. A play structure has been installed in one loop. The sites are large and spacious and provide a great place for the whole family to relax, play and more.

Brooke Creek hike-in camp is just ¼ mile hike into a grove of large, tall trees for those who prefer a primitive camping experience; communal firepits, pit toilets and water are available at Brooke Creek Campground.

Hares Canyon Horse Camp has 15 full hook-up sites with horse corrals, flush toilets and hot showers.

Mountain Dale Cabin Village offers 15 single and double room cabins (starting mid-June 3 cabins will be pet friendly), flush toilets and hot showers are located within the cabin village. Cabin camping is a great alternative to RV or tent camping, and the cabin village has the best view in the park.

Firewood can be purchased in all camping loops and ice is available for purchase during summer months. Two meeting halls are available for rent for gatherings as well as the covered shelter at Hilltop Day Use Area. Reserve online today at!


A family rests at Beaver Pond before continuing on their bike tour through Stub Stewart Park.
A family rests at Beaver Pond before continuing on their bike tour through Stub Stewart Park.

Mountain Bike Trails: Stub Stewart features one of the best mountain bike specific areas in the region and is being developed by volunteers. The entrance to the area has a kiosk which explains the risk and skill levels on the trails. The easiest level is a cross country trail – a single track which is being built by the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA).

The highlight is the free ride area with beginner, intermediate and advanced trails. It is the first mountain bike free ride trail network sanctioned within an Oregon State Park and remains in development by the Westside Trail Federation with more trails and technical features added each season. Skills filters at the start of the trails allow riders to gauge their comfort level for the types of features they will encounter on the trail.

The mountain bike trails are built away from the day use areas. Trail Patrol volunteers provide trail etiquette and safety assistance for users.


Trails: Over 30 miles of mixed use trails, great for hikers, bikers, and equestrian recreation, wind their way throughout the park. There will be continued trail work this summer; bridges are being installed as well as trail re-routes.   Come explore the trails to experience the wildlife that calls Stub Stewart “home.” Hilltop Day Use area is the trailhead for all trails within Stub Stewart State Park, and provides a great view of the coast range! The Banks-Vernonia State Trail offers 21 miles of paved trail with access from trailheads in Banks, Vernonia, Manning, Buxton, Tophill, and Beaver Creek.

StubDiscGolf3webDisc Golf: A challenging 18-hole, forested course is one of the top rated in the state of Oregon!   The course travels through large, tall trees and features both professional and amateur baskets. It is recommended to walk the course prior to playing to determine the basket placement. Disc Golf course maps are available at the Discovery Depot. A 3-hole mini course located between the camping loops acts as a casual starter course for all ages.


Make sure to make a visit to Stub Stewart State Park part of your camping plans this year. You just might be surprised by what you find.


L.L. Stub Stewart State Park is located at 30380 Hwy 47 in Buxton, OR 97109

Park information: 1-800-551-6949 Reservations: 1-800-452-5687

Vernonia has talent! [Updated]

1926750_10152236749058211_1413660083_n  The producers of the local talent show let slip a pretty big tease today when they announced the three regular judges of “Vernonia Has Talent” will be joined by a special celebrity. A local celebrity who will be particularly appealing to those who like “American Idol”… 1505455_10152236766373211_64359359_nHmmm. No matter who it is, the evening is sure to be a blast. The $5 gate fee goes to fund Freshman and Junior class activities, and gets you a slice of pizza and a beverage.

Last year the competition was fierce, and talent of all types was on stage, playing to a packed house. No word if the special guest on the judges line this year will be performing or not, but why take the chance on missing something? This celebrity will join local businessman and reality TV star Mike Pihl a1383383_10152236766708211_1348733816_nnd Kimberly Maus, anchor on Fox 12’s Good Day Oregon.


Check back here for updates over the next week. As soon as we find out, we’ll reveal the special guest right here.
Tonight it was revealed to me that Lovey James of Hillsboro has graciously accepted an invitation to our talent show, and will lead off the proceedings with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Ms James was recently voted off the latest season of American Idol, but that has not slowed her down. You can find more about her on her website, including a link to her YouTube channel. Let her know how much you appreciate her visit to Vernonia by leaving a comment on her Facebook page. Who knows, if enough fans come to hear her sing, she might perform one of her songs!

Hunting in Vernonia

When you ask most Vernonia area residents for their favorite recreational activity you will hear something about the forest. Hunting is a big deal in this small town and on opening day you can be sure to see a parade of successful hunters parading down Bridge Street, proudly showing off their trophy from the back of their 4×4 trucks.

Located at the border of two ODFW hunting units, Scappoose and Saddle Mountain, Vernonia has a lot to offer for both the serious and casual hunters. Vernonia is home to 3 public campgrounds, one with facilities for RVs, and there are several county and state parks within easy driving distance. The state forest system in nearby Clatsop County permits backcountry camping.

A Roosevelt bull elk keeps watch over his herd. Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Elk and deer are the biggest draws for local hunters. The Saddle Mountain unit is tag controlled for elk (1320 tags for each of two seasons) and hunters generally enjoy better than a 15% success rate. The Scappoose side is open to all hunters that buy a tag, but expect company on this “spike or better” management unit. It plays host to many Portland area hunters that fail to draw their eastern Oregon tag.

The coastal jungle can be daunting to the new hunter but there are some local tricks and tips that can help increase your chances of the big score. First, be odor neutral. That means clothing, snacks and beverages. Next, be ready to cover ground. There are plenty of logging roads in the area, and the best hunting is usually behind closed gates. Bring a GPS and a mountain bike and get ready to glass some clearcuts. There are thousands of elk in the area, spread across thousands of acres of land, mostly in young forest that is very difficult to hunt. Early season scouting will go a long way toward success.

Oregon’s black-tail deer are Columbian black-tail deer. Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Blacktail deer are a whole different challenge to even the most experienced hunter. General season tagged, like most areas on the coast, the easily hunted areas contain does and a few spikes. The 4 point and better bucks are rarely seen because they live where people dare not tread. If you dare hunt, prepare to spend all day in the woods. Prepare by using google maps to find likely territory that is behind locked gates, and get practiced on your mountain bike. Consider purchasing a trailer for carrying game.

The basic rules are simple to remember and difficult to execute. Hunt when the rain is blowing sideways, and keep your binoculars dry. Scout the pre-season for established game trails that lead to water and figure out how to get above the thickets so you can see the bedding areas. Move slower than slow and spend more time looking for deer than thinking about other things. Travel only when it’s too dark to shoot.

Hunting deer and elk in the rugged coastal forests is a test of endurance and skill. Some punch their tags every year, and some eat tag soup. While you are in Vernonia on a scouting trip, make sure to stop by the True Value store for hunting and shooting gear, and ask for some tips. The store owners have been hunting the area for decades, and the mounts on the walls prove it.

Linear Trail Brings Visitors to Vernonia

One of the many trestles on the trail

Oregon is well known internationally as a bicycling destination. Located in its scenic northwest corner, Vernonia continues to attract its share of those cyclists who are finding the local Banks-Vernonia State Linear Trail to be the perfect excursion.

This past summer Vernonia enjoyed an influx of visitors, many who traveled up the tree lined and paved trail from Washington County and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park to visit this little town. Others started right here in Vernonia and contributed to its growing reputation as a cycling hub for both local and visiting riders alike. Any season of the year will find riders of all ages scattered along the trail, enjoying the scenery, fresh air, and solitude.

The trail is not just for cyclists. Hikers, runners, and horseback riders also congregate on this multi-use pathway. Managed and maintained by Oregon State Parks, the trail was the first Rails-to-Trails project in the state of Oregon. It has an easy grade with thirteen bridges, including the scenic Buxton trestle. The trail can be accessed at any of 6 points along its progression – including trailheads at Manning, Buxton, Tophill, and Beaver Creek, as well as in Banks and Vernonia. Many cyclists have discovered the joy of riding to Vernonia in the morning, stopping off for a bite to eat at one of several eclectic downtown restaurants, before heading back down the trail towards home.

The trail was extended last year by the addition of the newly established Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. In 2013 the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway as the tenth designated bikeway in the state, cementing the region as one of the top spots to cycle in Oregon. The bikeway features the best of the northern Willamette Valley, from friendly downtowns to fertile farmlands and lush natural areas. Set in the heart of Washington County and traveling into Columbia County, the Bikeway runs for 30 miles one way, and connects in Banks with the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

Taking a break at The Black Iron Grill in Vernonia

From the trailhead in Hillsboro, the Tualatin Valley Bikeway travels on mostly rural roads. The middle portion of the Banks-Vernonia Linear Trail travels through lush forests including a portion of Stub Stewart State Park and features a gentle climb of about 600 feet. Overall the Scenic Bikeway is rated as a moderately challenging ride and can be enjoyed by a wide range of cyclists.

With the route’s layout, cyclists have many overnight options for multi-day rides, while day trips covering sub-sections of the route are easy, too. Stub Stewart State Park offers full hook up RV camping, as well as primitive campsites. Vernonia’s Anderson Park, which serves as the trail head in Vernonia, is a full RV park with showers and flush toilets, but also offers primitive tent camping along the Nehalem River. Vernonia Lake and Airport Park in Vernonia offer primitive camping.

Paved trails in and around Vernonia give families a chance to ride together as well. The connection from the Banks-Vernonia Trail to Webb Way at Anderson Park is a flat and easy ride for even the youngest cyclists and takes riders to scenic Vernonia Lake.

For mountain bikes enthusiasts, Stub Stewart State Park, just 10 miles south of Vernonia, has a new Free Ride Skills Area that is open to the public. A session/training area includes options for beginner to advanced Free Ride mountain bikers. Initial construction has focused on beginner and intermediate level trails but construction in the area is ongoing. For others looking to explore more of the outdoors, the Vernonia region is literally covered with logging roads, many of which are open to the public for limited recreational use.

As you can see, it’s no wonder Vernonia is becoming a destination for bicycle riders as well as other trail users who want to enjoy the great outdoors.

Worth the Trip – Five Day Trips From Vernonia Your Family Won’t Want to Miss

Planning a trip to Vernonia? Why not stay for a few days and take in one or more local attractions Here are several family friendly trips that are just about an hour from Vernonia. You’ll have a fun adventure-and be back in time for dinner!

Jewell Meadows Wildlife AreaSee majestic Roosevelt Elk in their natural habitat in the 2305_bull_elk_swart_odfwOregon coast Range. This 2,940 acre preserve is home to well over 200 elk that spend the winter and spring in the lower meadows along the highway feeding and resting. There are two parking areas, four viewing areas and interpretive signs. The elk are the main attraction but the area is also a great spot for birding and other wildlife viewing.

Travel time from Vernonia: 52 minutes. Distance 39 miles.


Tree to Tree Aerial Adventure ParkVoted on of the Top 10 Zip Parks in the country, Tree to Tree offers an Ariel Adventure Park with six colored levels graduating in height and difficulty and over sixty extreme obstacles. There’s a level for just about every member of the family including a tween and children’s course. In addition take a separate zip line tour which includes a 1200′ single line as part of the adventure. Reservations are required for all adventures.

Travel time from Vernonia: 52 minutes. Distance 39 miles.


Tillamook Forestry CenterLocated in the remote heart of the Tillamook Forest in the Oregon Coast Range, this education and recreation center is a special

Tillamook Forestry Center
Tillamook Forestry Center

place to explore. Learn about forest history, wildfires or sustainable forestry practices inside the center. Hike through the forest and see it for yourself—make sure to dress appropriately for Oregon weather. Highlights include the climbable 40 foot high lookout tower replica, a 250 foot suspension bridge crossing the Wilson River, connections to a host of trails, hands on exhibits and the award winning film Legacy of Fire. Hours change seasonally—the Center is closed December through February; open Wednesday through Sunday in fall and spring; open seven days a week in summer. Admission is free.

Travel time from Vernonia 57 minutes. Distance 38 miles.

Steam Donkey

Camp 18 Restaurant and Logging MuseumFor anyone interested in the logging and railroad history of this region, or just history in general, Camp 18 is a must go! Wander the grounds and be fascinated by the outdoor displays of huge, heavy equipment. See a Steam Donkey, a Spar Tree, a real wood-sided caboose on tracks, a large band saw and much more. Visit the Logger’s Memorial and see the displays family members have created for their lost loggers. When you’ve finished your outdoor tour, step inside the restaurant and be amazed by the size of the log beams used to construct the massive building. The Oregon coast is just another 18 miles on Hwy 26.

Travel time from Vernonia 42 minutes. Distance 32 miles

Fort Stevens
Fort Stevens, Oregon

Fort Clatsop and Fort StevensThese two historic forts are located on the Oregon Coast near Astoria. Fort Clatsop is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park and was the winter encampment of the Corps of Discovery from December of 1805 to March of 1806.   You can explore the replica of Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark spent a cold and wet winter with their men.   Visit the interpretive center and view two different films to learn more about the explorers of the west. Fort Stevens, part of the Oregon State park system, was the primary defense installation at the mouth of the Columbia River from the Civil War through World War II. Explore history, nature and enjoy recreational opportunities in this 4,200 acre park. Bring your bikes—there’s six miles of paved trails providing easy riding for everyone.

Travel time from Vernonia to Fort Clatsop: 1 hour 25 minutes. Distance 67 miles

From Fort Clatsop to Fort Stevens: 15 minutes. Distance 7.7 miles


Vernonia: A great place to Live, Work and Play

Rich in history, bountiful forested hillsides, and a thriving small town culture, the town of Vernonia offers both visitor and new residents a warm welcome. Travel through the trees, over the streams and under the railroad trestles and you’ll find a small, tight knit community that is ready to be discovered.

            Vernonia is a small town of just over 2,000 people, nestled in the Upper Nehalem Valley in the foothills of the Pacific Coast Range. It sits at the confluence of the Nehalem River and Rock Creek and is surrounded by forests. Less than an hour from from SW Portland and Hillsboro employment centers, Vernonia is also just 60 minutes away from the Oregon Coast.

            Known for it’s logging history, Vernonia is remaking itself as a outdoor recreation destination as well as a great place for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle and relocate to the peace and quiet of the country.

            We invite you stop by for a visit. Come see why Vernonia is such a great place to live, work and play.

Live – With a charmingly old-fashioned downtown and a brand new school, life in Vernonia is a mix of old and new.

            The new Vernonia K-12 school offers a green design, two gymnasiums, new computer labs and a natural resources curriculum that connects to an eight acre wetland just across the road. The high school robotics class has earned awards at several competitions!

            The walkable downtown core offers shopping, a full service post office, grocery store and two hardware stores. The town has eight restaurants; seven are in the downtown area.

The Vernonia Pioneer Museum is a collection of artifacts from throughout the county including items from the local Native American tribes, early settlers and logging.

            The community library offers after school and summer reading programs for children. A chess and stamp club meet there regularly as well. The Vernonia Library is also a favorite stop for Oregon Humanities special programs.

            A brand new Health Center has broken ground and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014; a new Senior Center and Food Bank is also in the planning stages at the same development.

Vernonia has a very active Lion’s Club, a PTA and a Booster’s Club that supports children’s activities. There are eleven active churches in town.

Work – Known for the huge trees that once grew in the area, Vernonia’s nearby forests still support both large and small natural resource-based businesses. But today you are just as likely to bump into a computer programmer or high tech fabrication plant employee when stopping to fill your tank and grab your morning coffee at the Mini Mart.

            Vernonia is the ultimate small-town bedroom community for the high tech industry. Intel employees who have moved to town get the best of both worlds – high tech opportunity a short drive from a quiet, safe and friendly small town to raise their families.

            Local business is another key element in the employment market in Vernonia. Full time, part-time and seasonal jobs are available; some of the larger local employers include the Vernonia School District, Sentry Market, Photo Solutions and Cedar Ridge Conference and Retreat Center.

            Numerous home-based businesses have become successful; those with an entrepreneurial streak may find an opportunity in Vernonia. Work-from-home is also an option for some  as high speed cable internet service is available in town.


Play – Vernonia is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with multiple parks, trails, streams, rivers and logging roads to explore.

            We are proud of our city Park system which includes full hook-up RV camping at Anderson Park and primitive camping at Airport Park. Both parks are set along the Nehalem River and offer river access. During summer months, we also enjoy an old-fashioned swimming hole at Hawkins Park.

The 42 acre Vernonia Lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout by ODFW and anglers can also catch largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and brown bullhead – there may even be a steelhead or two! The lake features a paved trail, a wheelchair accessible fishing platform, restrooms, drinking water, and on-site bait shop/concession stand during the spring and summer months.

            Vernonia, once the terminus of several logging railroad lines, is now the terminus of two great area recreation trails. The Banks-Vernonia Trail is 21 miles of paved multi-use trail that is now included as part of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. The trail is accessible from six trailheads. The Crown Zellerbach Trail travels from Vernonia to Scappoose and offers over 20 miles of multi-surfaced trail more suitable for fat tire bikes, hikers and horseback riders.

            Hunting and river fishing are two other popular pastimes that beckon Vernonians into the nearby hills. The Nehalem River, which runs 90 miles to the Oregon Coast, is a premier spot for wild native salmon, steelhead and cut throat trout.

            The Vernonia Golf Club offers a nine hole course and year-round alpine golfing.


Other Nearby Attractions:

            The Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area is a 1114 acre refuge for Roosevelt Elk. Open pastures border the highway, offering excellent

views of elk during winter and spring. There are two paved parking areas, four viewing areas.

  1. L. Stub Stewart State Park is just 10 miles south of Vernonia and offers camping, and day use areas for hiking, biking and equestrian riders. 25 miles of trails, RV and primitive camping, 18-hole disc golf course, mountain bike riding area, cabin village, and equestrian camp make

this a family-friendly and fun vacation spot.

            The Oregon Coast is just an hour away from Vernonia with easy access to Cannon Beach, Seaside and Manzanita. Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro offer shopping, entertainment and sporting events ranging from Single A baseball to MLS soccer to NBA basketball.


Whether your interest is finding a new home, a new place to open a business, or just a new spot for a favorite hobby, Vernonia offers all that in one charming package. Give it a try, and be amazed at what you find. Come visit Vernonia, and stay a while.


Equestrian Sports are a Favorite in Vernonia

            Vernonians love their horses. The town has a great equestrian history and numerous opportunities for both young and old cowboy and cowgirls to take part in equestrian activities. Whether it’s trail riding, horse gaming, 4H or high school competitions, Vernonia has something for everybody. We even have our own rodeo queen!

Barrel racing in Anderson Park
Barrel racing in Anderson Park

The Vernonia Ridge Riders are a long standing community group who organize gaming days at the Vernonia Horse Area located at Anderson Park right in town. They also hold regular trail rides throughout the summer. Their biggest annual event is their Play Day which takes place on the Sunday of the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree and Logging Show during the first full weekend in August. The Ridge Riders are also always a favorite when they ride in 4th of July and Jamboree parades each summer.

            Vernonia has an active Equestrian 4H group which participates in the Columbia County Fair each year. High School students can compete as part of Vernonia OHSET (Oregon High School Equestrian Team). This year the Vernonia team qualifies six of their riders for the state meet.

MacKenzie Carr, Miss Rodeo America
MacKenzie Carr, Miss Rodeo America

In 2012, Mackenzie Carr of Vernonia was was crowned Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas at the MGM Hotel and Casino, at the culmination of the week-long Miss Rodeo America Pageant held in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. At the pageant, Carr won a landslide victory taking home individual honors for Horsemanship, Personality, Appearance, and Speech. Carr, a 2008 graduate of Vernonia High School and class Valedictorian was previously crowned Miss Rodeo Columbia County and Miss Rodeo Oregon. As Miss Rodeo America Carr spent a year traveling the U.S. as an official spokesperson for the sport of professional rodeo, appearing at approximately 100 rodeo events as well as schools, civic groups and other special events during the year of her reign. Carr returned to Oregon State University following her year of Miss Rodeo America and is completing a Bachelors Degree in Speech Communications.

Vernonia Becomes a Biking Destination

The town of Vernonia is attracting visitors because it finds itself at the epicenter of two regional trails.

The newly established Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway (which includes the decades old Banks-Vernonia State Trail) and the Crown Zellerbach (CZ) Trail are bringing visitors, especially visitors on bicycles, in droves during the spring, summer and fall. These trails are making a Vernonia a popular destination that is just being discovered.

In 2013 the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway as the tenth designated bikeway in the state. The bikeway features the best of the northern Willamette Valley, from friendly downtowns to fertile farmlands and lush natural areas. Set in the heart of Washington County and traveling into Columbia County, the Bikeway runs for 30 miles one way, and connects with, and includes, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, traveling another 21 miles from Banks to Vernonia.

The trail provides views of the Coast Range, farms, vineyards, and natural areas near quaint downtowns. The primary natural feature is the Tualatin River and the surrounding river basin, which is dotted with wetlands and forest stands. Farm produce stands, farmers’ markets and a winery along the route offer a wonderful seasonal mix of activities.

The connection to the Banks-Vernonia Trail provides riders with a is a multi-use trail paved over an old railroad grade. The trail is suitable for walkers, joggers, bikers or mounted equestrian riders. The trail allows riders to get off the roadway and enjoy a 21 mile tree-lined, easy-grade pathway. The trail has 13 old bridges crossing swift streams and wooden trestles rise up from the past.

The Banks-Vernonia Trail can be accessed at any of 6 points along its progression – including trailheads at Manning, Buxton, Tophill, and Beaver Creek, as well as at Banks and Vernonia themselves – and permits only non-motorized use at a safe, slow speed.

With trailheads in Vernonia and Hillsboro, the Tualatin Valley Bikeway begins on mostly rural roads with terrain ranging from plains to rolling hills, with the middle portion of the state trail featuring a climb of about 600 feet. The Scenic Bikeway is rated as a moderately challenging ride and can be enjoyed by a wide range of cyclists.

With the route’s layout, cyclists have many overnight options for multi-day rides, while day trips covering sub-sections of the route are easy, too. L.L. Stub Stewart State Park is adjacent to the State Trail and offers camping, as does Vernonia’s Anderson and Airport Parks. Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Banks and Vernonia offer lodging, dining and other services. The route’s northern and southern hubs are public parks, each with parking, restrooms and drinking water. Several other parks on the route offer picnic shelters and restrooms. Transit connections are available in Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Banks and Vernonia.

Paved trails in and around Vernonia give families a chance to ride together as well. The connection from the Banks-Vernonia Trail to Webb Way at Anderson Park takes riders to Vernonia Lake and is a flat and easy ride for even the youngest cyclists.

The Crown Zellerbach Trail is a different ride altogether and is Columbia County’s newest jewel.

Spanning the twenty miles from the outskirts of Vernonia to Chapman’s Landing on the Columbia River in Scappoose, the trail is accessible to all non-motorized traffic, including bikes, horses and hikers and is maintained by Columbia County. The trail is mostly hard pack, with some areas of gravel, and follows logging roads and abandoned rail lines. It is accessible at several locations along Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy.

The CZ Trail gives users a new opportunity to experience the beauty and history of Columbia County. The rougher style of the trail makes it attractive for mountain bikes and bikes with wider profiled tires as well as equestrian trail riders and provides a great alternative to the paved Banks-Vernonia Trail.

Speaking of mountain bikes, Stub Stewart State Park, just 10 miles south of Vernonia, has a new Free Ride Skills Area that is open to the public. A session/training area includes options for beginner to advanced Free Ride mountain bikers. Initial construction has focused on beginner and intermediate level trails but construction in the area is ongoing.

Following IMBA guidelines for trail layout, the Free Ride Area is geographically “remote” to create a natural barrier of access to inexperienced riders.

All trails within Stub Stewart Park are open to mountain bike riders. There’s more than 15+ miles of natural surface, shared-use trails and several miles of mountain biking specific trails.

As you can see, it’s no wonder Vernonia is becoming a destination for bicycle riders of all types.