hike: woodland wildflowers at Gales Creek
In the spring, bright green new growth on alders and shrubs mix with woodland wildflowers lining the trail at Gales Creek.
6.5 miles with 820 ft gain
Popular with mountain bikers, the Gales Creek trail follows Gales Creek through a coastal rainforest of Douglas fir and red alders, with a thick understory of ferns and oxalis.
Oregon’s Coast Range is often overlooked by hikers, but the trails here are some of my favorites. I love the massive ferns that fill the forest understory, and the moss and lichens add to the rich green scenery. This trail is a great option for a quick hike… it’s close to Portland and you can hike as far as you have time for and then turn around.
The road to the trailhead is gated, so we parked at the pullout on Highway 6 and walked half a mile down the road to the trailhead.
The Gales Creek trail runs for 12.7 miles from the Summit Trailhead (accessed 2.5 miles farther west on Highway 6) to Reehers Camp Trailhead (accessed via Highway 26). We started at the Gales Creek trailhead near the campground and hiked north for about 3 miles before heading back the same way.