Crown Zellerbach Trail
|Start your run here, or farther down the road.|
While most upper elevation trails slumber under blankets of snow this time of year, plenty of low elevation opportunities remain for getting off the pavement and into the woods! With a little exploring, your legs will thank you for the break from the pounding, and you’ll be able to maintain over the winter months the aerobic fitness that comes from long, easy efforts.
This month we’ll highlight the Crown Zellerbach Trail, a little-known rails-to-trails path that begins in Scappoose and parallels the Scappoose-Vernonia Road for a total distance of over 20 miles. Though similar in many respects to its neighbor, the Banks-Vernonia Trail, the fact that the CZ trail is still largely unpaved is one of its most attractive features. The surface is very runner-friendly: finely crushed gravel, with a few sections of crumbly asphalt near the Scappoose trailhead.
The Scappoose trailhead is located at the intersection of Highway 30 and Scappoose-Vernonia Road, about 20 miles northwest of Portland. If road noise doesn’t bother you, begin here for some flat miles as the trail closely follows (and is always visible from) the road. There’s a large parking area about two miles in, which is also a convenient place to start your run.
For a quieter, more remote experience, drive 7.1 miles from Highway 30 to the intersection of Scappoose-Vernonia and Chapman roads (just past Chapman Grange Road); there you’ll find a small turnout on the south side of the road for parking. (Please respect private property when parking anywhere along the trail.) From here proceed west on the CZ trail. You’ll soon leave the homesteads behind and embark on a long steady ascent into the timber. The trail crests underneath a bridge four miles from your start at Chapman Road. That’s the Scappoose-Vernonia Road overhead.
Check out the CZ trail. You might see deer, elk, and coyote along the way, but you won’t see any other runners.