“This gem is a forested run along Tickle Creek in Sandy. It is hard to believe you are surrounded by neighborhoods!
— Kathleen Walker
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Wildlife
Tickle Creek Trail in Sandy follows its namesake creek through a forest that feels much more remote than it is. The forested trail passes through areas that were logged at the turn of the century with huge notched stumps where they installed wood platforms to manually cut the tree with cross cut saws. Many of these notched stumps have large trees growing on top of them. They are called nurse stumps and nurse logs.
There are a few short sections of the trail where you follow a sidewalk, before returning to the trail. You cross Tickle Creek over five large bridges. The trail is six-foot-wide packed gravel which supports families walking, elderly, kids on bikes, and runners. There are a couple of benches for resting.
You can do the entire trail or just go as far as you want. The trail is also convenient for locals wanting to run to the Fred Meyer Store or other places on the west side of town and avoid Highway 26. The trail is 1.6 miles long and 3.2 miles round-trip. There are access points all along the trail with connections to most south side neighborhoods. This trail is great for locals and those that want a short forested run without heading up to Mt. Hood National Forest. The city plans to extend the trail in the future.
- Trail is closed from dusk to dawn.
- No motorized vehicles are allowed.
- No wood cutting or removing forest materials and no dumping of any material.
- No overnight camping.
- No off-trail use allowed.
- Please do not park in front of driveways or mailboxes when parking on street.
- Please report any suspicious activity or illegal camping to Sandy Police and Sandy Community Services Director.
Need to Know
Please stay on the trail. To protect sensitive creek side vegetation, do not wander off trail. The trail is closed from dusk to dawn and all park rules apply. All dogs MUST BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES! There are numerous dog poop bag stations along the trail, so there is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog! Please do not litter or hide painted rocks off the trail as that causes impacts to the vegetation from both hiding and searching for them. No smoking on the trail. All bikes must yield to pedestrians. Runners need to yield to walkers. Please pick up any litter you find. There have been wildlife sightings along the trail.
This trail is used by walkers. Please let them know when you are behind them and yield to walkers.
You can start Tickle Creek Trail on the east end or the west end, or somewhere in the middle. The best parking is on the east end of the trail. Park at the signed pull out along Dubarko Road. Cross over the first of five bridges (numbered Bridge 5) and head into the forest. This section of trail has several nurse logs and nurse stumps along it. Unfortunately, an adjacent landowner cut 10 acres up to the trail which caused trees along the trail corridor to blow down to the creek. It is an ongoing issue and cleanup project. We have planted more trees to help nature along. Continue down the trail until it comes to Dubarko Road at 0.4 miles. Look both ways on Dubarko Road at this unmarked road crossing, and pick up the trail across the street.
The trail then loops around a drainage detention pond that often has ducks. You can go left or right - they both take you back to Dubarko Road. Take the opposite side of the loop on your return trip. The trail leads back to Dubarko Road. Look both ways and cross Dubarko Road in the marked crossing and continue on an older paved section of the trail. Follow the paved section around over a large culvert, past an old section with buckled pavement, and by the Knollwood Playground. Just past the playground, turn right and head to the sidewalk. The sidewalk section totals 850 feet. Turn left on the sidewalk along Dubarko and stay on it across Sandy Heights and a short distance later, you see another trail marker post and a bridge. Turn left and cross Bridge 4. The trail then skirts the creek and passes by a large private land parcel on your left (south) with a fence along the trail. There is a bench along this section.
Soon, you come to the largest bridge (Bridge 3) and my favorite part of the trail. Although there are homes visible beyond the forested corridor, the large cedar trees, carpet of green oxalis (looks like clover), and thick ferns are captivating. There are two large notched cedar stumps here with Douglas fir trees that grew out of them and actually split the stump in two! These are protected with rail fence. There is also a large cedar with old fire scars and places for wildlife to hide. There is another bench along here that showcases a great view of the creek with large logs in the creek providing good salmon habitat. Salmon are found in Tickle Creek. Soon you come to Bridge 2 and again see adjacent homes beyond the forest. The trail approaches 362nd Drive as it crosses the fifth bridge numbered Bridge 1. The trail ends just one house east of 362nd Drive and Dubarko.
If you decide to park on the west end, please do not park in front of mailboxes or driveways. If you want to do an even four-mile roundtrip run and get a little cardiovascular in your run, head across Dubarko to Yokum Loop and take that steeper road back down to Dubarko and back to the west end trail entrance.
Flora & Fauna
Tickle Creek feels like a forested trail on Mt. Hood. There are salmon and other aquatic species in the creek itself. There are coyotes, raccoons, and the rare bear and cougar sighted along the trail. Fauna includes sword fern, deer fern, maidenhair fern, oxalis, Oregon grape, salal, red huckleberry, snowberry, and salmonberry. We are trying to eradicate the Himalayan blackberry, holly, laurel, scotch broom and other noxious weeds. Forest cover includes Douglas fir, western hemlock and the many western red cedars as well as vine and bigleaf maples and alders that provide fall color, especially on the east end.
History & Background
This area of Sandy was logged at the turn of the century except for a few "wolf" cedar trees with many branches. The large trees here are around 100 years old. Trail construction was completed in 2011 after nearly ten years of planning and securing funding. Easements were purchased in a few spots and the Iseli Nursery Family Trust sold the large parcel of land on the trail's west end to the City of Sandy at a discount. This protected the outstanding setting that surrounds the trail. The large, long (40-60 foot) bridge stringers for Bridges 1, 2 and 3 were flown in by helicopter to protect surrounding forest. Local volunteers and contractors designed and built the trail. The City of Sandy has constructed links from nearby neighborhoods to this cross-town trail and hopes to expand the trail on both the east and west ends.