Lower Sandy River Trail
ElevationAscent: 1' 0 m
Descent: -70' -21 m
High: 442' 135 m
Low: 372' 113 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)
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“This trail leads to the shoreline of the Sandy River at the confluence of Cedar Creek – a great place to salmon watch.”— Kathleen Walker
Once you reach the Sandy River, you may see some fishermen and women. Cedar Creek flows into the main channel just upstream. There is a fish hatchery further up Cedar Creek, which makes this confluence a popular destination for returning spawning salmon and folks fishing and fish-watching in the fall. A separate trail comes down to this point from the fish hatchery. The trail peters out at the river, but a fishing trail leads downstream. Be careful, as these trails are not designed or maintained and can be unstable and adjacent to fast-moving water. The ice cold Sandy River makes an "oxbow" (u shaped) turn just downstream. This causes fast, changing currents as well as large log debris jams.
Unfortunately, some fishermen leave fishing line, hooks, beer bottles, and trash. Pack a trash bag to pack some out, and you can call yourself and your kids a Sandy River Eco-Helper! Please keep your dogs on a leash and give some clearance to fishermen trying to cast a line.
This trail is a good place to come see salmon spawning in the fall in Cedar Creek. After a good rain that brings the creek levels up, the salmon can be easily seen laying eggs in redds, or fighting each other to fertilize the eggs. There are also some spent dead salmon on the river bank that can attract bears and other wildlife, so keep an eye out and do not let your dog get anywhere near the carcasses if you don't want an emergency veterinarian trip.
Once you head back up the trail, I recommend taking the Jim Slagle Loop Trail to return. It is amazing to have such a gem of a destination so close to Sandy. For a famous photo op to memorialize your trip, head a half mile down Bluff Road to take your picture at the Jonsrud Viewpoint where you can see your Sandy River destination, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, the Bull Run Watershed, and the Devil's Backbone, which is part of the Oregon Trail.
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Land Manager: City of Sandy - Parks and Recreation