“Old Salmon River is a perfect trail for kids or folks wanting an easy, river-side run through old growth forest.
— Kathleen Walker
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers
Old Salmon River Trail #742
is open nearly year round as low elevation is mostly snow free. A Northwest Forest Trail Pass or other viable parking pass is required whenever there is a portable toilet installed at the trailhead. They are available at the Zigzag Ranger District and several local vendors.
Old Salmon River Trail is a great run for kids or folks looking for a short, scenic run through old growth forest. The trail begins just past the forest boundary at the trailhead. At only 1.9 miles long one-way, the trail parallels the wild and scenic Salmon River and E. Salmon River Road (Forest Road 2618).
Although this trail is near the road, the closeness and constant sound of the river, as well as the old growth features of the forest, make this one of the most outstanding trails in the Zigzag District. If you start at the downstream side, there is a short drop down to the river, before the trail runs at river grade the rest of the way before climbing back up to the road at the other end.
Old Salmon River Trail has several bridges that cross small creeks. The trail pops up on to the road a couple of times where there is little room between the river and the road. The trail passes through the Green Canyon Campground towards the south end of the trail which is a good spot to stop and use a restroom before returning to the trailhead. Or you can spot a vehicle at one end and skip the return trip.
Flora & Fauna
Old Salmon River Trail is typical low elevation old growth forest with huge Douglas fir, western hemlock and even bigger western red cedars. Some of the cedars have fire scarred openings at the base. The openings along the river have vine maple, big leaf maple and alders that are colorful in the fall. The forest floor is carpeted with oxalis, sword fern, deer fern, Oregon grape, salal, salmon-berry, trilliums, false solomon seal, thimble berry, and bunch berry.