Hiking Project Logo

greenBlue Oxbow Highlights

  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite

Trail

5.5 mile 8.8 kilometer point to point
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 447' 136 m
Descent: -451' -137 m
High: 406' 124 m
Low: 92' 28 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Karl W

Explore the Sandy River and a variety of old growth, meadows, and sandbars all in one compact park.

Karl W

Features Birding · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly Easily accessed nice trails with opportunities for fishing, swimming, hiking, and more.

Overview

This route will take you along, and down to the Sandy River—the highlight of the park—but also take you through old growth forest and to a meadow that offers good wildlife viewing opportunities. Most of the trails are singletrack multi-use trails.

Need to Know

No pets are allowed in this park. Parking is $5/car unless you have a Metro annual pass. Camping is $22 plus parking. Park is open year-round from 6:30am to sunset.

Description

Although this loop begins and ends at a parking area just off the Alder group picnic area, the trail passes the main campground, both group campgrounds, and many day-use areas you could easily park at and use. From Adler, you can go in either direction, and shorten the loop as you see fit on one of the many connector trails. This route does the river's edge first.

Find the main trail along the raised bank of the river on the far side of the group picnic area if you parked along the road. The trail is flat and easy, made of either packed dirt, wood chips, or gavel fill in various sections. You'll have some nice views of the Wild and Scenic Sandy River along this first section, and should also take advantage of multiple paths that lead to the water's edge (or beaches depending on the season). This section of trail ends at the Boat Launch, so you'll have to hike up the road a bit to reconnect with the trail at the amphitheater. The next section of the trail parallels the campsite road before going to the edge of a highly eroded section of river bank.

After the campground, the trail will drop down close to the river and become a fully mixed-use trail for biking, horses, and hiking. This section gets less use so it can feel very secluded aside from during peak season. Continue following the singletrack and checking out the river. You'll pass by the Group Camp 2 area and a narrow gravel road that leads to it (this is an option to shorten the loop). Continue along the river to the intersection marked "J." This side trail leads through some old growth to a secluded beach that is among the best.

Stay to the left on the way back to pass through the old forest on the inner trail, ignoring all the spurs to the various campgrounds. You'll hit the service road/trail that leads to the top of Alder Ridge, a flat plateau covered in meadows and old growth. The trail up is steep, and the only meaningful elevation change on the route. The top is super flat and an easy loop that is worth the time.

When you head back down you'll be right at the parking area, but it is worth it to head on a loop through the "Ancient Forest." So head south on the hiking-only trail at intersection "F." It will split at one point—consider taking the southern route because it has some huge downed trees to pass under, but they're otherwise the same. You'll then have two options to turn north at intersection "D," cross the road, and begin to head back. There is a clearing a few meters west from where the trail hits the river's edge that offers one more view of the river if you want.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Flora & Fauna, History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Apr 21, 2019
Karl W

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3168

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#103

in Oregon

#3,168

Overall
27 Views Last Month
95 Since Apr 21, 2019
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

0%
100%
0%
0%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking