OC&E Woods Line State Trail, stretching more than 100 miles in south-central Oregon, is one of the longest rail-trails in the country. Most of the trail follows the former Oregon, California, and Eastern (OC&E) Railroad that supported the region’s timber industry and dates back to the early 1900s. Southern Pacific and Burlington Northern later jointly operated the line for nearly fifty years, but the railroad fell into disuse in the 1980s and the corridor became the property of Oregon Parks and Recreation in 1992.
A good place to begin your journey is at the trail’s western terminus in Klamath Falls, the largest community along the route. As you follow the paved route southeast, you’ll travel from busy shopping and residential areas to peaceful, open countryside, reaching the rural suburb of Olene after 8 miles.
The remainder of the trail is unpaved and well suited for wide-tired bicycles, cross-country skis and horses. From Olene, the trail heads northeast, through quiet pastoral lands with views of mountains in the distance, reaching Beatty after about 40 miles. Along the way, you’ll skirt the community of Dairy, ascend the foothills of Bly Mountain, then drop down into the fertile Sprague River Valley.
At Beatty, the trail splits. One branch heads north about 46 miles through Fremont National Forest to Sycan Marsh (a terrific spot for bird watching) and beyond to Thompson Reservoir. It’s along this stretch that you’ll find the spectacular Merritt Creek Trestle, which is 400 feet long and 50 feet high. The other branch of the trail heads east through wide open lands for about 15 miles to the small town Bly.
Parking is available, from west to east, at:
- Klamath Falls Trailhead (Crosby Avenue and Avalon Street)
- Wiard Park (has restrooms)
- Rt. 39 Trailhead
- Pine Grove Trailhead (has restrooms)
- Switchback Trailhead (within Fremont National Forest; offers restrooms and camping)
- Sycan Siding Trailhead
- Bly Trailhead
- Horse Glade Trailhead (has restrooms)