Springwater Corridor is the major southeast segment of the 40-Mile Loop.
Extending from Southeast 4th and Ivon in Portland (near OMSI), the alternative
transportation and recreational trail extends 21 miles, currently ending
in Boring. To view a map of the trail, click
The Springwater Corridor is a multi-use trail. The paved surface is 10-12
feet wide with soft shoulders. The hard surface trail is designed to accommodate
walkers, joggers, hikers, bicycles, wheelchairs, and strollers. Equestrian
use is more common east of I-205 where a separate soft surface path meanders
away from the main trail where topography allows.
The Springwater Corridor began life in 1903 as the Springwater
Division Line, a commuter railway that took folks from downtown Portland
to outlying communities such as Estacada and Eagle Creek. At its peak in
1910, Portland's 160 miles of rails carried 16 million passengers a year.
In the 1950s, the automobile became the preferred method of travel and passenger
service was dropped in 1958.
In 1990, the city of Portland acquired portions of the
corridor with the rest being picked up by Metro in the intervening years.
The first stretches of the trail opened in 1996. In 2006, three bridges
connecting the trail over McLoughlin Boulevard, were constructed which closed
most of the gaps in the trail.
The Springwater Corridor currently winds on-street for
about a mile through the southeast corner of the Sellwood neighborhood (commonly
referred to as the Sellwood Gap). The trail ends at SE Umatilla
Street, just south of the Sellwood Bridge, and begins again at SE 19th
and SE Ochoco, just northeast of the Goodwill warehouse.
In September of 2010 Metro announced that they had
reached an agreement with the Oregon Pacific Railroad (OPRR) to build a
trail from it existing terminus at SE Umatilla Street to SE 13th Avenue.
This still leaves a gap between 13th and 19th and negotiations are
pending between Metro and OPRR to close this six block gap.
When construction will start is still undecided.
The Route of the Trail
The immensely popular Springwater follows the old trolley
right-of-way along Johnson Creek from Gresham to downtown and can be accessed
from many places in east county by car, MAX or bus.
The Springwater Corridor passes through Gresham’s
Main City Park and continues eastward where the trail currently ends
in Boring, Oregon.
Even though the paved (slightly bumpy in places) trail
may only be a block or two removed from a nearby busy street in places,
you rarely lose the feeling of the woods, pastureland or a quiet creek.
Wild blackberries are abundant in season, and deer nibble on leaves next
to the trail.
In Gresham, take U.S. 26 to Southeast Palmquist, just past
Southeast Powell. Turn right to Southeast Hogan. Turn left on Hogan and
park at the city-owned lot at Gresham Operations Center (they don't mind).
The loop is just past the parking lot.
Eastbound from Hogan the paved trail ends at nearby Southeast Regg Road
and a dirt trail out to Boring for horseback riders and mountain bikers
gets under way. But westbound, the paved Springwater follows the old trolley
right of way.
Although the Portland Railway Light and Power trolleys discontinued their
east county service in 1958, their legacy lives on. The trolley tracks and
ties that were torn up in 1991 now make way for cyclists.
Linneman Station near Southeast Powell and 185th, local residents rescued
and restored the last remaining trolley station, making it a convenient
trailhead to park at: saddle up, fill the water bottles and use the restrooms.
Linnemann Station is named for early Gresham pioneers Catherine
and John Linnemann, who followed the Oregon Trail by oxen from Illinois
and settled here in 1852. This historic site was formerly a train stop on
the 1903 Springwater Division Rail Line. The trailhead facility contains
railroad artifacts and related displays from the Gresham Historical Society,
parking for 15 cars and a public restroom.
Springwater continues westbound past the backside of Powell
Butte, and the nearby Brownwood wetlands restoration project provides a
scenic turnout and a relaxing break. br>
Apparently, at one time, the government thought it would be a good idea
to "straighten" Johnson Creek. It was not, and excessive flooding of nearby
areas ensued. Now, the Brownwood project is a Stonehenge look-alike with
more than 500 giant timbers standing instead of monolithic boulders. They're
strewn throughout acres of wetlands to help restore the area to its natural
At Southeast 136th, a country market offers liquid refreshments, and at busy Southeast 122nd,
hikers and riders find security in
a dedicated crossing signal. Past open fields, grassy pastures, residential
and industrial neighborhoods, Springwater's look changes by the mile.
Past Southeast 82nd, the trail follows Southeast Johnson Creek Blvd., arriving
at the Springwater Trailhead near SE 45th. Parking and restrooms are available
here, as at most trailheads.
From here, it's downhill past the Tideman-Johnson Natural Area to the Three
Bridges, which beginning in 2006 allowed walkers and cyclists to safely navigate across
McLoughlin Boulevard, Johnson Creek and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
The Three Bridges funnel people onto the quiet residential streets of Southeast
19th Street, then left on Southeast Umatilla Street, where riders are temporarily
detoured right onto Southeast Seventh, then across Southeast Tacoma Street
to Southeast Spokane. Cyclists and walkers turn left there, coast past the
little church and rejoin the Springwater on Willamette Trail at Oaks Park.
Things to See Replicas of old trolley
stops, a refurbished trolley station, deer, fish, frogs, snakes, horses,
pastures, factories, the beautiful Three Bridges, interpretive displays
and a Stonehenge-like creek restoration project.
Distance 14.2 miles one way.
Source for some of the above:
"The 40-Mile Loop: More than a bike trail, and more than 40 miles"
The Oregonian, September 30, 2009.
For more information and maps, visit these links: