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Headwaters Trail #522



1.8 mile 2.9 kilometer point to point
97% Runnable


Ascent: 182' 55 m
Descent: -128' -39 m
High: 3,554' 1,083 m
Low: 3,404' 1,038 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 11% (6°)


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Trail shared by Kathleen Walker

Headwaters Trail is a nice short loop off the PCT near Joe Graham and Clackamas Lake Campgrounds.

Kathleen Walker

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek

The trail is usually closed by snow in December. Forest Road 42 is closed to motor vehicles December 15 to April 1 for snowmobiling and other winter recreation.


The Headwaters Trail, true to its name, is the headwaters of the Oak Grove of the Clackamas River. It is a short loop trail off of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) going from near the Joe Graham Campground and ending at the Miller Trail #534 near Clackamas Lake Campground. Start to the left (north) of the large PCT archway along Forest Road 42 just north of the entrance to the Joe Graham Campground. The Headwaters Trail takes off on your left (north) just past the PCT archway.

The trail travels through old growth forest between Forest Road 42 on your left and the Oak Fork of the Clackamas River on your right, until it meets an old logging road. Follow the road over the creek, and then the trail heads north along the other side of the creek for a bit before it drops south and southeast towards the PCT again. You'll come to a four-way intersection. To the left and right (east and west), are the PCT. What looks like an extension of the Headwaters Trail is actually the beginning of the Miller Trail #534 which you can take for a longer run.

This trail is open and popular with equestrians and mountain bikers, so be on the lookout for other users. You must give right of way to horses, and mountain bikers must yield to you.

Flora & Fauna

Headwaters Trail travels through old growth Douglas fir, western red cedar, mountain hemlock, lodgepole, western white pine, and western larch (tamarack). The understory has sword fern, rhododendron, bear grass which bloom in June, kinnikkinnick, and plenty of willows, vine maple, and wetland vegetation along this aptly named trail.

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