Fun Trail/Park Facts
L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park; We only did a few hikes, including Matchcutter's Lane, Barberchair Trail, and Bucking Pass.
County & State
Washington County, Oregon
North: Coast Range | Willapa Hills
South: Willamette Valley | Valley Foothills
Tillamook State Forest
Latitude & Longitude (DEC)
Seriously folks, it doesn't get any family friendlier than this spot. More than 25 trails, ample camping options, and kids everywhere.
Depends on trails; Doesn't seem to get past 300 feet.
Depends on trails; Ranges from 0.16 to 4.23 miles. Exception being the Banks-Vernonia State Trail (21 miles)
Access to Trailheads/Hikes
Ample day-use parking in park, all hikes located throughout the park at various points. For more information, see the official trail guide.
After logging many, many miles upon the state's trails over the past couple of years, the timing felt right to show the lad what was behind the magic of every inch of trail we step upon. A refresher for myself was not a bad thing either!
I couldn't have been more thrilled with how things turned out. Our amazing hosts, Rangers Steve and Brandon, were phenomenal and instrumental in getting the most knowledge parlayed into our little group in a short amount of time, including personal and group safety, the lingo behind cutting trails, a breakdown of tools for the job, and the ecology of the park.
Ranger Steve provided really solid lessons around drainage concerns, troubles with switchback cutters, the beauty of Oregon soil, forty-five degree backslopes, how to broadcast our organic materials, and more safety tips throughout the exercise. I will never forget the multiple times when the Ranger stomped his foot on the soil for effect, and the lad followed suit and did the same.
After having lots of experiences running into park rangers on the trails or at lookouts, this time it was definitely having an impact on the little guy. Age? Rapport? Definitely both.
While we weren't on that stretch for the longest time, the unspoken camaraderie between volunteers was excellent. Everyone filled in where needed, patching missed points or grooming forgotten pieces of the trail. Soon enough, we ventured down the way and past the intersection of Barberchair Trail. This stretch of trail had some good stumps therein, and we set to work maintaining the areas around the stumps. Naturally, our gear wasn't going to be doing any of the heavy work needed to deal with those bad boys.
Ranger Brandon gave us some insights into how that work would be done, and told us about some of his experiences working on the Banks-Vernonia Trail. I can't wait to do that whole trail, and you can bet I'll be thanking that man throughout it.
The boy and I grabbed some bites to eat, and made our way through the nearby trails. It is a gorgeous park, and the trails were a blast to traverse, namely because of the varying ages of the surrounding Douglas firs. Some stretches are just a couple of decades old, while others have a little more age amongst them.
The lupine, in multiple colors, was in full force among the grassy areas, which was a tranquil escape. We passed family after family, which really speaks to the appeal of this area for the little ones.
In a pleasant turn of events, we actually found ourselves returning along the same route that included the areas we had just helped work on. The little guy beamed with some pride when I showed him each area. Score.
While I was pumped up and ready to continue exploring the park, the poor kiddo had definitely done his share for the day and was ready to head home. As I heavily reflected on the previous week's venture to Marys Peak, it was pretty easy to pack up and plan our return to Stub Stewart for another day.
While we did not get the chance to hit some wild and difficult trails in celebration of National Trails Day, I wouldn't have traded the day at all. It was the lad's first experience with true stewardship in an organized fashion, and the fun he had with the educational outreach programs was top-notch.
I want to thank every single person and organization involved with making our day so amazing. Happy National Trails Day, today and every day hereafter.