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The Crown Zellerbach Trail, known locally as the Crown Z Trail or the CZ Trail, follows a former logging railroad through quiet and picturesque forests in northwest Oregon. Its east end begins at Multnomah Channel and, from there, the trail continues for 25 miles on a northwest course largely paralleling the Scappoose-Vernonia Road from Scappoose to Vernonia. (Note that the last 4.2 miles of the route are on-road.)
Primarily packed gravel, the trail is suitable for walking, mountain biking and horseback riding, plus cross-country skiing in the winter. It is paved and wheelchair accessible only for its first 2 miles in the Scappoose area. The general grade of the eastern end of the trail is less than 5% percent for its first 11 miles heading west from Scappoose. From there, the maximum grade is 12% near Nehalem Divide and 20% near the Holce Trailhead in Vernonia on the western end of the trail.
Along the route, 34 kiosks explain the area’s geology and wildlife, as well as provide historical information created by the Columbia County Museum Association with QR codes (where there is cell service) for additional content. Many of the trailheads (spaced roughly every 3–4 miles) also include restrooms, picnic tables and bike repair stations.
In Vernonia, the CZ Trail ends about a quarter mile from the paved Banks-Vernonia State Trail, which offers another 22 miles of scenic riding through wooded and rural landscapes.
Parking is available at the following trailheads, listed from east to west along the trail:
We started at Bonnie Falls trailhead and headed up towards Vernonia. The signage was not very clear and we ended up an a logging road for an extra 4 miles. We should have gone under the bridge at about 14 miles. Instead we went on to the logging road. Good views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams but on the wrong road. So we backtracked after talking to some people. The trail was quite muddy in spots (mid-March). Most of the trail was packed dirt and gravel. It is paved from Scapoose to Ruley TH. Then it's trees, river, meadows. Very quiet and pleasant.
Unimproved along sections, and some muddy spots. But gorgeous. Everything the Banks Vernonia LT used to be before it was paved and became a bicycle race track.
Ran half of it (from Vernonia) with a friend today (2/27), and it was very muddy. We had fairly appropriate tires, but full mountain bike knobbies would have certainly helped. The trail would be much more enjoyable after about three rain-free weeks. The first stretch out of Vernonia is pretty steep, but once you cross the paved road it levels out a lot. One other thing to note is that if you ride the paved road on the return leg, the chance of an encounter with an angry motorist is pretty likely. We had several.
The CZ Trail does not go through at tunnel, but the old logging rail road did.
Details at this link,
Or Google Nehalem Divide Tunnel
Near the West end the map shows the trail as veering North on the Columbia Forest Road. You can go this way, but the CZ Trail actually crosses the Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy about 16.7 miles from Scappoose. Google Maps shows it continuing on Pebble Creek Mnln (whatever Mnln means). Strava identifies the road as Crown Zellerbach Trail. Signage identifies Pebble Creek Mnln as the CZ Trail. Pebble Creek Mnln turns in to E Knott Street in Vernonia.
The trail is very lovely. Smooth packed gravel for the most part. Wet and a bit muddy in places when I road it on New Years Eve. If riding in winter use wide tires. I had 2.25" and was glad for it.
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