Banks-Vernonia State Trail

Near Portland, Oregon, United States

Park Overview

Banks-Vernonia State Trail is the first “rails-to-trails” park in Oregon. The trail follows an abandoned railroad bed that stretches 21 miles between the cities of Banks and Vernonia.

The trail consists of a paved 8-foot wide hiking and bicycle trail alongside a gravel trail for horses that's about 4-foot wide in most sections. The gentle grade in all but one area allows hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and people of all abilities to enjoy the scenic mountains, fields and forests of Washington and Columbia counties.

Trail Highlights

Trail highlights include 13 bridges and views from the 733-foot long, 80-foot high Buxton Trestle, open to hikers and bicyclists. A ground-level equestrian bypass crosses Mendenhall Creek. The south end of the trail begins in Banks, a town of 1,900 surrounded by agricultural operations. Heading north, the trail passes agricultural lands and riparian areas before reaching the thickly-forested foothills of the Coast Range and ending in Vernonia, a town of 2,200 surrounded by private timberland and small farms.

Access the trail from one of the five trailheads, which have parking and restrooms. The trail also connects to L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. See our trail map for details and an elevation profile.

For more information about bike trails throughout Washington County, visit ridewithgps.com.

Share the Trail

Enjoy a safe and pleasant experience by following these guidelines.

  • Travel at a safe speed. This is a multi-use path and is intended for slow speeds to prevent accidents. 
  • Announce your presence to other trail users before passing.
  • Bridge decking may be uneven and slippery. Approach and cross with caution.
  • Cell phone service is limited. Tell someone your plan for the day.
  • Pets must be leashed (6-foot maximum) in all areas, at all times.
  • Please remove all animal waste.

 

Effective Oct 19, 2021
Temporary closure at southern Shoofly bridge due to bridge failure. OPRD advises the public not to cross the bridge or attempt creek crossing. Please find alternate route and plan accordingly. Updates on the issue will be posted on L.L. Stub Stewart's State Park web page. 
mdi-white-balance-sunny Open for day use Year Round mdi-cellphone Call for info: 800-551-6949
Call park: 503-324-0606
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Amenities & Features

Questions

mdi-help-circle-outline General

What hours are trailheads open?

Summer: May 1 - Sep. 1, 7 am - 9 pm

Fall: Sep. 2 - Nov. 2, 7 am - 7 pm

Winter: Nov. 3 - March 8, 7 am - 5 pm

Spring: March 9 - April 30,  - 7 am - 7 pm

Where can I park to access the trail?

Each of the five trailheads has a parking area. See our Banks-Vernonia State Trail map for details.

In addition, parking is available in Banks after hours at Five Star Builders, 13981 NW Main St:

  • Monday - Friday, 5 pm - dusk
  • Saturday, Sunday and state holidays, 7 am - dusk

 

mdi-help-circle-outline What's Allowed

Can I ride an E-Bike?

A person may operate an Electric Assisted Bicycle (E-Bike) on roas and trails eight feet (8') or wider unless otherwise posted. Currently the Banks-Vernonia State Trail is the only trail within the L.L. Stub Stewart Managementy Unit that can support e-bikes.

Electric Assisted Bicycle is defined by ORS 801.258 -

1. Equipped with an electric motor, power output no more thatn 1,000 Watts adn can go no faster than 20 miles per hour.

2. Has a saddle (seat) for the rider.

3. Is designed to travel with no more than three wheels in contact with the ground.

4. Has both fully operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor.

5. Is designed to be operated on the ground on the wheels.

Can I park overnight at the Trailheads?

TTrailheads are designated for day use visitors. There is no overnight parking allowed at any trailhead.

For more questions, review our statewide FAQ

History

This is the first "rails-to-trails" state park in Oregon. The railway line dates back to the 1920s and was used for logs, lumber, freight and passengers. Owners included the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway and Burlington Northern. The line was abandoned and rails salvaged in 1973. Right of way was then purchased by the state in 1974 and transferred to OPRD in 1990.

Brochures and Maps

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Photos & Video