In Northwest Oregon, Banks-Vernonia State Trail is a state park and paved rail trail. It runs 21 miles long, most of it north and south. About a hundred years ago, the railway was built by the Portland, Astoria, and Pacific Railroad for transportation of passengers, timber, and freight.
When lumber mills closed in 1957, the railroad stopped using the line. It was purchased and subsequently transferred to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in 1990. The park and trail have undergone significant improvements over twenty years, which finally completed in 2010.
In addition to its rich history, Banks-Vernonia State Trail offers outdoor-goers several recreational activities. The paved trail is open to walking, jogging, and biking. Next to the paved road is a four-foot-wide horse trail. Additionally, there are spots in the park open to picnicking and fishing, as well as enjoying the peaceful and beautiful scenery and wildlife.
The 21-mile trail crosses 13 bridges and the Buxton Trestle, which is 733 feet long and 80 feet high. The trail also passes through forests and agricultural lands, with spectacular sights along the way. You can access the trail from any of six trail points along the way.
Banks-Vernonia State Trail is open year-round. No overnight camping is allowed. Adjacent to the park is the L. L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, which has cabins and a variety of other recreational activity options. In Banks-Vernonia State Trail, dogs are permitted but must remain leashed at all times. Leashes must be no more than six feet long.
Always bring waste bags and enough water for yourself and your dogs. You are responsible for your pet. Do not bring aggressive or disruptive dogs and always be courteous to other park visitors. Be respectful of posted park rules and regulations. At only 26 miles west of Portland, Banks-Vernonia State Trail provides visitors, their families, and furry companions a beautiful spot to take a walk along one of Oregon’s historic railways.